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Water Carrier - Megetra vittata - female

Water Carrier - Megetra vittata - Female
Chinle, Apache County, Arizona, USA
September 6, 2007
Size: >2 CM
I came home from work today determined to find something fun to "shoot" and this was crawling across my sidewalk. I'm pretty sure it's a female Megetra, but it seems there are two species. Help? In reading the posts, there seems to be some Navajo lore associated with this beetle. I seem to be located in a good place to scope that out, and will ask around at the school tomorrow. Robert Koops provided the Navajo words, which should help.

Images of this individual: tag all
Water Carrier - Megetra vittata - female Water Carrier - Megetra vittata - female

Moved from Megetra.

Finally we have identified this beetle!
No one in our area has ever known the name of this amazing beetle....very happy to finally know what it is.

Truly amazing
beetle, and wonderful shots! I'd love to know more about the Navajo lore associated with this insect!

Water Carrier
OK, I got mixed responses from the students and teachers today. Most recognized the beetle as the "Water Carrier" or a'saa neiye'hii. a'saa means "a pot" and neiye'hii means "carry." I don't have the Navajo fonts on my computer, so I don't have the accent marks quite right (they go over, not after the letters), but the spelling came from the 2nd edition of "The Navajo Language: A Grammar and Colloquial Dictionary," and the Navajo Language teacher here at the school. Several of my students called it a "water truck."
As for the stories about it, half said if you STEP on it, it will make it rain, and the rest said if you POUR WATER on it, it will make it rain. My neighbor said it was bad luck to kill them, and if you did.... the pots in your kitchen would break. That's my favorite, but no one else confirmed that one. I guess which story they grew up with depends on what part of the reservation they grew up on. The Navajo Reservation is bigger (in area) than all of New England, so some differences are expected.
Anyway, it's a pretty cool critter!

Correct spelling:
'ásaa' neiyéhii

Also taken from The Navajo Language: A Grammar and Colloquial Dictionary(Revised Edition), by Robert W. Young and William Morgan, Sr.,1987, University of New Mexico Press

The standard western European accented letters can be represented using HTML entities:

'ásaa' neiyéhii

With some of the characters like the barred L and the vowels with a hook underneath, though, I think we're out of luck.

I love your idea,
Chuck, and for once I'm really looking forward to a Monday morning! I'm pretty sure both our Navajo Language/Culture teacher, as well as the new biology teacher will want to help out, but I'm all for it even if they're not.

As for the written part of the language, I guess we could always link to word documents that DO HAVE the correct fonts. (When I say "we", of course, I mean "you" since I haven't figured that part out yet, although I learn fairly quickly) On my school computer I have a word document set up with Spanish words, some of which have the accent marks, but I think the school can set me up with the real ones (including that little under-hook.) Maybe you'd be willing to go "off-post" to discuss it further?

Word documents won't do it
It would have to be something anyone would be able to access regardless of the software on their computer. Fonts are available free that have the required characters, but they're no use to anyone who doesn't have them on their own machine and it wouldn't be right to require them.

Pictures of the words would work, but they'd have to be hosted somewhere.

We might come up with some variant alphabet with something like "ll" for the barred l- though it would be nice to use standard spelling. I'll see what else I can come up with using regular HTML.

You're welcome to email me- my email address is in my profile.

So have I got this right?
You step on it - gently, maybe barefoot - so you don't hurt it, then you pour water over it. We need some in SoCal!

Thanks so much for the info. This has been a very interesting post.

Interesting creature
Nicely shot and narrated. Hope to hear more!

That is unlike anything I've ever seen before...

It looks like its about to explode!!
Is it ok??

The link to the Info page
is here for those who are interested, but no info on identifying to species level.

Thanks for the info...
I think it's time for me to miss some school... Road trip to Arizona anyone?


I'll go! ( that would be a long road trip from where I live!)

Same here...
But yea... Penn would be further... Hey... we could miss school! haha

Blister Beetle
Wow... thanks everyone for the overwhelming response. It's especially gratifying from the high schoolers, and I'll get back with as much Navajo lore as I can find out. And no, I don't think anything was wrong with her... she looks just like the other examples on the site. Apparently they're fairly common in this area this time of year, but it's a first for me.

An idea
How about a project to make a guide to Navajo bugs? We can start a photo focus group in the forums, in which we would build up a list of bugs found at BugGuide that have Navajo names. We would list the Navajo name, followed by a thumbnail for each bug known by that name, and perhaps some of the lore.

I can go through my reference books and come up with a list of Navajo names and the usual taxonomically vague definitions, and your contacts can match them up with the real bugs. They can also provide other names not on the list.

This could be a fun and educational project for the students, and we can give credit to those who helped at the bottom of the page.

That does sound like an interesting idea... I'd be glad to help in anyway I could. Although... living in Missouri, I don't know a whole lot about Navajo culture and bugs...

Fairly Common...
Well that seals it... Time to go to Arizona...

Or New Mexico?
New Mexico's closer, & we've got plenty of these guys. Take that, Arizona!

You're so right!
Most of the other pictures of this beetle posted on BG are actually from NM. Caution, though. NM is(IMHO) about the most beautiful place on the planet, and once you get there it's hard to go back east. That's what happened to me (moved from MD)

Well.... Missouri seems really boring right now...

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