The European rhinoceros beetle, a distinctive insect resembling its namesake with a curved horn, faces a life-threatening situation in Turkey with people believing it is a highly lucrative investment.
With Turkish media fueling rumors that the beetle is a rare species and therefore, worth as much as $100,000 for collectors, those seeking a quick gain look out for the insects. Professor Zeki Yıldırım from Mehmet Akif Ersoy University said it became a natural disaster for the beetle with people actively pursuing the insects. Yıldırım said he believed maybe thousands of beetles were collected after the news stories were circulated.
Yıldırım dismissed the reports that the beetle was highly valuable. "The beetle in fact fetched a high price for a while, but it was not for the species existing in Turkey," he explained. The professor said the new craze posed a great danger for rhinoceros beetles and may upset the balance of nature. He said that the collection of the beetle is also punishable with fines.
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