Alberta Oil (Beetle)

Oil Beetle – Probably either Meloe niger or M. exiguus.

Last year, based on an oil beetle I photographed in Grasslands National Park, Sask.,  I jokingly mentioned that the oil beetle should be Alberta’s official insect, because we have so much of the oily stuff. Well, this year I found a wealth of the little beggars strutting around the Halfmoon Lake Natural Area just NNE of Edmonton. I found a female digging a burrow, and she was soon joined by a male, who did absolutely nothing to help prepare the maternity room!

Mounting Meloes

Mounting Meloes

Check out the video below to see some of the behavior I recorded..


◊ Read more on the fascinating lifecycle of oil beetles at a previous post.

◊ Thanks to v belov at BugGuide for the great assistance with ID!


(Top: Canon 5D Mk II with Canon 100 mm f2.8 macro lens. Flash – 1/3. ISO 200, 1/60sec @ f16. Middle: Canon T2i with MP-E65 mm lens. Flash. ISO 200, 1/200 sec. @f11. Bottom: Video Olympus E-PM1 with 14- 42 mm lens)Enhanced by Zemanta
This entry was posted in Behaviour, Bugs, Canada, Coleoptera, Insect, macro, Meloidae, photography, Season, Spring and tagged , , , , , , , , .


  1. Sean McCann 22 May, 2013 at 6:26 AM #

    I think that male was really holding her back!
    Cool video and pics!

    • Adrian 22 May, 2013 at 12:21 PM #

      I guess that’s why, as Carl Zimmer says, “The evolutionary race is not in fact won by the perfect, but by the good-enough”.

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