Posts Tagged ‘tenebrionidae’


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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Eusattus dilatatus – dune darkling beetle (Tenebrionidae)
California, USA

Sand dunes are an unusual habitat, and the creatures found on them are equally odd. One of the more charismatic dune endemics is Eusattus dilatatus, a large darkling beetle found in southern California. This scavenging insect has long legs for digging and a waxy cuticle to prevent dessication.

Eusattus is not the easiest photographic subject. It seemed uncomfortable out in the open and would burrow as soon as I placed it on the sand. The series below spans 30 seconds.

**update** Tenebrionid expert Kojun Kanda corrects the identification from E. muricatus to E. dilatatus.

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

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Nilio species, Tenebrionidae
Gamboa, Panama

I thought this was a chrysomelid leaf beetle for the first few minutes of the photo shoot. It’s got such a nice round leaf-beetle shape. Not to mention the bright leaf beetle colors.

But no. The arrangement of the tarsi (5-5-4) and the short, 11-segmented antennae give away its true tenebrionid nature. I’d never seen anything like it.

Tenebrionidae are the darkling beetles, most species have rather drab coloration and a more elongate body form. My labmate Kojun, who helpfully identifies the tenebrionids over at bugguide.net, recognized this one straight away as a species of Nilio.

details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
f/13, 1/200 sec, ISO 100
Inside a white box, indirect strobe
levels adjusted in Photoshop

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