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Posts Tagged ‘coleoptera’

Calosoma scrutator, the fiery searcher
Savoy, Illinois

It’s a good thing Myrmecos isn’t a scratch-and-sniff blog. This beetle is a real stinker.

Calosoma scrutator, the fiery searcher, measures about 3cm long and is among our largest native ground beetles. The spectacular metallic coloration serves to warn predators- and, apparently, photographers- of the noxious chemicals it can release when threatened. I had to wash my hands after handling this insect.


photo details: Canon EOS 7D camera
Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens
(top)ISO 200, f/11, 1/125 sec
(bottom) ISO100, f/13, 1/160 sec
indirect strobe in white box

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A male western hercules beetle, Arizona.

Meet Dynastes granti. This behemouth of an insect is North America’s heaviest scarab beetle, found in the mountains of the American southwest where adults feed on the sap of ash trees. I photographed these spectacular insects a few years ago while living in Tucson.

The impressive pronotal horn on the beetle pictured above indicates a male; females are considerably more modest in their armaments:

Male and female hercules beetles

As is so often the case in animals, males use their horns to fight each other for access to females, attempting to pry their opponents off the branches.  Size is important, and it varies notably among individuals depending on how well they fed as developing larvae:

Size variation among male hercules beetles. My money is on the guy on the right.

The three beetles pictured here lived in our house for a while as pets; they were good-natured insects and would sit happily on our fingers eating maple syrup.

Photo details: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D.
ISO 400, f3.0-f5.0, 1/50-1/125 sec, ambient light at dusk

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Trox - Hide Beetle - Arizona, USA

Scarab’s shrewd cousin,
Elytra warty like hide.
Must be Trogidae!

Photo details: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D
ISO 100, f/16, 1/250 sec, indirect strobe in white box

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Notoxus desertus – Antlike Flower Beetle
Pyramid Lake, Nevada

This furry little beetle comes with its own sun visor, a horn-like structure that projects over the head from the pronotum.  I photographed this Notoxus along the shores of Pyramid Lake where it was feeding on pollen.

Photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS D60
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, diffused twin flash

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Edrotes1

Edrotes ventricosus (Tenebrionidae) – Dune Beetle
California, USA

In arid environments around the world, darkling beetles in the family Tenebrionidae are among the most prominent insects.  Their thick, waxy cuticles excel at retaining moisture.  Edrotes ventricosus is a dune inhabitant in southern California.

Photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 20D
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250 sec, diffused twin flash

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Podabrus1

A Podabrus soldier beetle hides away in the leafy folds of an understory plant in an eastern deciduous forest.  Soldier beetles (family Cantharidae) are predators of other arthropods.

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D
ISO 100, 1/250 sec, f13, flash diffused through tracing paper

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Trichodes

Trichodes ornatus, the ornate checkered beetle. California.

Don’t let the pretty colors fool you. Trichodes ornatus, like many checkered beetles, is a fierce predator whose larvae attack the young of wood-boring insects.

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS D60
ISO 100, 1/200 sec, f/13, flash diffused through tracing paper.

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