The Beatles vs. The Beetles: This T-Shirt Never Fails to Draw Smiles

Remember the celebrated image of George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and John Lennon crossing Abbey Road in single file outside their studios in London?  

It's the cover of their final album, "Abbey Road," released Sept. 26, 1969.  

All the Beatles, except Harrison, are wearing designer suits. And all, except McCartney, are wearing shoes. He is barefoot. Reportedly his newly purchased shoes hurt his feet, so he kicked them off. 

Enter the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA) and its longtime best-selling T-shirt, "The Beetles," of four beetles crossing Abbey Road. Beneath each image is the family name:  Phengogidae, Curculionidae, Cerambycidae and Scarabaeidae. Think glowworm beetles, snout beetles, long-horned beetles and scarab beetles.

Beetles belong to the order Coleoptera, the largest of all the insect orders, constituting some 400,000 described species, or about 40 percent of all described species of insects.

If you look closely, these UC Davis beetles are all wearing clothes--maybe designer clothes designed just for them? Three are barefoot, and one, the long-horned beetle, is wearing shoes. EGSA records don't indicate who designed "The Beetles," but it's a keeper. It never fails to draw smiles.

"The Beetles" is one of the many shirts that EGSA sells as part of its fundraising projects. The T-shirts can be viewed and ordered online at

EGSA president Mia Lippey, a doctoral student in the laboratories of UC Davis distinguished professor Jay Rosenheim and assistant professor Emily Meineke, says that currently, the designs offered are:

  1. The Beetles (in black or red)
  2. Entomo Gothic (a play on the American Gothic, in grey)
  3. Whip Scorpion (in lavender and black)
  4. Bee-Haw (in black)
  5. They See Me Rollin' (dung beetles rolling a poop, in heather blue)
  6. Et in Terra (dark green)
  7. Entomophagy (in blue and green)

All T-shirts come in sizes from XS to XXL. 

One of the newer designs is "Bee Haw," of a honey bee disguised as a cowgirl, complete with hat and rope.  The entomophagy ("eating insects") T-shirts are also "in," as are those that whip and roll--whip scorpions and dung beetles. 

If you love The Beatles, The Beetles, and Abbey Road--or just all insects--and want to help out the entomology graduate students, insect-themed T-shirts are the way to go. Insects rule the world. A recent National Geographic article related that insects evolved 400 million years ago and today "there are about 10 quintillion on least 850,000 known insects exist worldwide."

And most of them are beetles...