Mating Long-lipped Tiger Beetles

Photographing Long-lipped Tiger Beetles (Cicindela longilabris) at Halfmoon Lake Natural Area is now an annual event.

On this occasion, (29 May 2017) the only difference is that I managed to record video of two pairs. The first pair are in sunlight and the male is not actually copulating, and at one stage, the female can be seen trying to shake off the male, probably due to the threat posed by myself. For the more relaxed second pair, I managed to improve the lighting with diffusion, and you can see the male’s aedeagus (penis) is still in the female.

Insects having sex are often easier to approach, and I suspect that the compliance of these couples to intrusion by the video camera is partly due to the female being burdened and perhaps exhausted by the extended mate-guarding by the male.

For those interested in how I do the video capture: I am still wrestling with reliable methods for the camera I have, a Panasonic HC-V750 usually with a Raynox 250 macro attachment. Unfortunately, this camera has no electronic viewfinder, and finding focus with the viewscreen is difficult in bright daylight. My budget is rather skimpy at the moment, but I would love to eventually invest in a light-weight video camera with a tilting eyepiece, 4k, manual exposure/focus and slo-mo capabilities.  Another problem I have is supporting the camera at ground level and still being able to level it quickly. At the moment I use a Gorilla-pod, but they are difficult to make the fine adjustments I need for macro work.

This entry was posted in Alberta, Behaviour, Bugs, Canada, Cicindelidae, Coleoptera, Equipment, in copula, Insect, macro, Mating, Natural Area, photography, Season, Spring and tagged , , , , , , , .

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