The Bug from Áísínai’pi

Chance favours the prepared photographer…

During my Fall field trip I spent a few days at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park (aka: the Áísínai’pi National Historic Site), one of my favourite (off-season) prairie parks to visit. Besides the spectacular surroundings I can almost be certain to come across at least one unusual (for me) critter, and with luck, I will have the chance to photograph it.

This is not that critter…

 Megalotomus quinquespinosus (Lupine Bug)

Megalotomus quinquespinosus (Lupine Bug)

I was deep in the middle of the badlands, surrounded by hoodoos. I had just finished a frustrating 40 minutes crawling around on my knees, trying to photograph the erratic behaviour of a fleet-footed velvet ant. Frustrated and defeated, I was crouching down in the shade, about to dismantle my macro rig, when this little fellow buzzed over my shoulder and landed on the rocks in front of me.

Megalotomus quinquespinosus

Probe activated…

With great sense of purpose and ignoring the chimping brute looming over, it strode over the rock surface, occasionally dipping it’s schnozzle  proboscis down to dab at the rock. Was it sharpening it for added piercingnessability? Or was it sampling for minerals to test if this was an appropriate location for a mining operation?

I doubt it.

But perhaps it was minerals it was probing for, because this is a normally a plant-sucking bug, that feeds on the pod-producers of the lupine family. The instars are ant-mimics, and it would have been very cool to come across those. Alas, I did not know this at the time, otherwise I would have spent more time examining the buffalo bean pods in the area. Nevertheless, the arrival of this bold bug renewed my energy, and I was soon bounding through the badlands again.

Thanks to Ken Wolgemuth of BugGuide for the ID.

(17 September, 2013. Canon T2i with 100mm EF f2.8 lens and diffused flash. ISO 200, 1/160 sec. @ f14)


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This entry was posted in Alberta, Alydidae, Autumn, Bugs, Canada, Hemiptera, Insect, macro, Natural Area, photography, Season and tagged , , , .


  1. Sean McCann 11 November, 2013 at 1:22 PM #

    Wow! Great shots of this wonderful bug! Alydids are one of my faves, as the ant-mimicking juveniles are really fun to find. Next year!

    • Adrian 12 November, 2013 at 11:22 PM #

      It’s this kind of thing that makes me realize how helpful it would be to have an entomologist along on field-trips!

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