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   The Chocolate Lovebug is in the family of small beetles called Coccinellidae. Like its close relative, the ladybug, the Chocolate Lovebug ranges from 0.8mm to 18mm in length and has a circular shell. Similar to the ladybug, the Chocolate Lovebugs diet consists of tiny bugs called aphids and mites.This beetle was first discovered in the hotter regions of Hawaii on February 14th, 1901 by a scientist by the name of Miranda Glambert. Glambert noticed this new beetle when she was hiking and decided to call this new type of beetle the chocolate lovebug. Glambert chose the word “chocolate” because of its plain brown shell color and “lovebug” because of its discovery date, February 14th, also known as Valentine’s Day. Since it was discovered on Valentine’s day, it is also believed to be a symbol of good luck and fortune for couples. In addition to its origin, the Chocolate Lovebug has a lot of health benefits.

   Some of the benefits of the Chocolate Lovebug is that it is a mood enhancer and stress reliever when eaten. In the years after its discovery, Glambert started conducting studies on the properties inside the chocolate lovebug. Glambert found out that the Chocolate Lovebug contains proteins and a substance called neotymin that releases hormones into the bloodstream of the individual that ingests this beetle. The hormones that are released upon ingestion of neotymin are called zintop and cubinoten. The hormone zintop relaxes the entire body of the individual which results in decreased levels of stress. On the other hand, the hormone cubinoten is a mood enhancer that decreases mood swing activity. In this study, Glambert randomly selected 100 participants in California and regulated the diet of these participants for three weeks. There were two groups of participants. Group A was given the diet with the Chocolate Lovebug, whereas, Group B had the diet with the placebo. After the three week diet plan, the results showed that Group A participants had a 15% decrease in mood swings and a 10% decrease in stress levels. On the other hand, Group B’s results showed that there was no significant difference in the activity of mood swings and stress levels in the participants. Upon this finding, people from all over the world became aware of the benefits of the Chocolate Lovebug and restaurants started experimenting with the Chocolate Lovebug in dishes.

   In 1910, Night Lights, a French restaurant introduced the Chocolate Lovebug dessert on Valentine’s Day. This dish consists of the Chocolate Lovebug being seasoned and then sprinkled over vanilla bean ice cream. For its finishing touch, this dessert was drizzled in chocolate. Upon the release of this new dessert, Night Lights started earning more money in sales each year. In the years prior to the Chocolate Lovebug dessert, sales per month ranged from approximately 60K to 65K. The years after its released showed dramatic increases in sales. In 1910 sales increased from 70K to 75K and in 1911, sales increased from 75K to 77K.

    Also known as the heart healer because of its healthy benefits, this beetle can now be found in nearly every restaurant in France, Hawaii, and other hot and moist environments. Today, it has become a tradition to eat the Chocolate Lovebugs on Valentine’s Day because of its health benefits and belief that it will bring harmony to any relationship.

                                                                                                                                                              Melody Hsu