We came accross thousands of these harmless flying insects, endearingly known as "Cărăbuş" to the locals, in the hills surrounding Bratca, Romania, on May 1, 2013. We know that Carabus is a genus of beetle in the Carabidae family, but we would love to know the specific species, characteristics and habits/functions of this insect, which the local children delight in playing with and allowing to crawl up their arms. The Cărăbuş tends to accidentally turn over on its back and seemingly cannot right itself thereafter.
Note: The second photo (which is not well focused) shows the interesting "fan" shaped antennae of the beetle.
Any help in specific identification will be greatly appreciated.
This is a species of cockchafer, Melolontha sp.
The 'fan-shaped' antennae are characteristic.
That is not as specific as you want, I know.
We'll have to try to narrow it down based on Romania, so I may add a post if I succeed in that.
Anybody else: feel free to comment...
I know Melolontha melolontha is one possibility;
That is in a different family - Scarabaeidae (which includes the scarabs). The name sounds similar.
I have seen kids in a hill village in northern Greece (Pindhos Mts.) playing with similar-sized beetles. They glue a piece of cotton to them! When the beetles take flight, they fly round in circles as the enthralled youngster holds the other end of the cotton. The kids' delight is enhanced by their using beetles with bright metallic colours, which show up well in the sunshine.
The Romanian species is M. melolontha. It's called "Cărăbuş de mai" (= May Cockchafer), because it flies usually in May. The only other large chafer there is Polyphylla fullo, on sandy soils.