Tag Archives: Coleoptera

The End is Near

Bronzed Tiger Beetle, Cicindela repanda

Late summer: shorter days and cooler nights. This week we’ve had frost most nights, and it’s still not the middle of September.

Last week, a walk along the damp sand and stone shoreline of the North Saskatchewan River found me overlooking a sandy opening up on the riverbank. a clearing in the shoreline tangle of plant growth about one metre up on the first terrace above the water. Beneath me, half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies darting over the sand, were about a half-dozen tiger beetles.

How to get sand in your lens…

A closer look at the open area revealed a scattering of the D-shaped holes that typify those used by Cicindelids. Leaning over the terrace, and carefully scanning the holes, I first found two with tiger beetles waiting near the entrances, just within the shadows. The darted back into the darkness as I drew near. Other holes showed more activity…the reversing rear-end of a beetle as it swept sand out-of-the-way before disappearing down the burrow again.

This is the end!

And the holes were relatively deep, judging from the time that it took for their little butts posterior abdomens to become visible again, their legs sweeping out still more sand. These are the tunnels for winter hibernation, and at some point in the season when the days remain too cold, they will stay down there. Before long the shifting sands will cover the holes, and tiger beetles will become just a memory until they, conditions permitting, emerge again in spring.

Kinda sounds like me…

(Image info: North Saskatchewan River, Edmonton, 5 September, 2014. Canon 5D Mk IICanon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens on a Kenko Teleplus PRO 300 DGX 1.4x AF Teleconverter. Lighting with a single diffused Canon Speedlite 270EX II. All photos ISO 200, 1/160 sec. @ f16. Image cropped and processed in Lightroom 5)

Posted in Alberta, Bugs, Canada, Cicindelidae, Coleoptera, Edmonton, Insect, macro, photography, Season, Summer Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Pavel Krásenský Photographs Mating Strepsiptera

This is one of an amazing sequence photographed by Pavel Krásensky 

Male Strepsiptera approaching bee, by Pavel Krásenský

Male Strepsiptera approaching bee, by Pavel Krásenský

Strepsiptera or Twisted-wing parasites are a bizarre internal parasites of bees and wasps. Their life-cycle begins similar to the oil beetles (Meloidae).

From NC State University Entomology pages:

Strepsiptera share so many characteristics with beetles that some entomologists classify them as a superfamily of Coleoptera.  In fact, Strepsiptera and certain parasitic beetles (in the families Meloidaeand Rhipiphoridae) are among the very few insects that undergo hypermetamorphosis, an unusual type of holometabolous development in which the larvae change body form as they mature.  Upon emerging from their mother’s body, the young larvae, called triunguloids, have six legs and crawl around in search of a suitable host.  In species that parasitize bees or wasps, a triunguloid usually climbs to the top of a flower and waits for a pollinator.  When a host arrives, the larva jumps aboard, burrows into its body, and quickly molts into a second stage that has no distinct head, legs, antennae or other insect-like features.  These larvae grow and continue to molt inside the host’s body cavity, assimilating nutrients from the blood and non-vital tissues.  After pupating in the host, winged males emerge and fly in search of mates.  An adult female remains inside her host, managing to attract and mate with a male while only a small portion of her body protrudes from the host’s abdomen.  Embryos develop within the female’s body, and a new generation of triunguloid larvae begin their life cycle by escaping through a brood passage on the underside of her body.

See the whole sequence at Pavel’s blog, Macrophotography (use Google translate!). My Meloidae post can be seen at The Black Oil Beetle.

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Posted in Autumn, Blog Link, Coleoptera, Feature Photographer, Insect, Inspiration, macro, Mating, Meloidae, News, Parasitism Also tagged , , , , , , |

Ted MacRae shares Tips and Tricks for Field Photography of Wary Insects

I thought this webinar was locked-up by the ESA, but the video is now on Youtube, so everyone can see Ted’s excellent Adven webcast on photographing Tiger beetles and other insects. This is the first time that I can recall any bug photographer giving such detailed information on how to stalk bugs, and of course,  it is laced with many of his fine images.

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Posted in Bugs, Cicindelidae, Coleoptera, Feature Entomologist, Insect, Inspiration, macro, photography, Technique Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

What to do with a Long Horn Beetle?


Spruce Sawyer or White-spotted Sawyer (Monochamus scutellatus)

Longhorns Beetles (Coleoptera, Family Cerambycidae) can be a bit of a challenge to photograph well, because the antennae are so long  that they are hard to include in the photo without all or part of the length being out of focus. As macro photographers we must choose carefully what part of the subject will be in focus, because the depth of field is always shallow. As a rule, the eye is the most important feature to keep in focus. Some photographers choose to close in on the beetle and leave the ‘horns’ severely clipped at the image borders, however, by carefully aligning both the beetle and the closer antenna on the same plane, it is possible to get an acceptable appearance of focus throughout. The other alternative is a direct dorsal photograph of a chilled or pinned specimen, with antenna flat, but this does not give the lively look that is most pleasing.

However, there is another approach. Treat your longhorn like a portrait photographer would, and ask it to –  “…tilt your head just a little bit this way”, and …”now a little bit to the right” and”… lift your chin a bit…that’s it! Hold it!”

Longhorn beetle


Live beetle donated by a kindly visitor to my booth at the Rooted in Nature Art Show at Devonian Botanic Gardens!

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Posted in Alberta, Behaviour, Canada, Cerambycidae, Coleoptera, Composition, Fun, Insect, macro, photography, Portrait, Season, Summer, Technique, White Studio Also tagged , , , , , |

Long-lipped Tiger Beetles Revisited

Just back from a family holiday to BC! Here’s a shot from before the break, the same beetles that I photographed earlier.

Long-lipped tiger beetles on white. Not chilled, not frozen, not stunned…just amazingly compliant and clumsy when occupied this way.

Mating Long-lipped Tiger Beetles,  Cicindela longilabris

Mating Long-lipped Tiger Beetles, Cicindela longilabris

Soon after this image was taken, the female did manage to throw off the male, and after moments of stunned immobility, they both flew off.


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Posted in Alberta, Canada, Cicindelidae, Coleoptera, Insect, macro, Mating, Natural Area, photography, Season, Spring, White Studio Also tagged , , , , , |

The Week on Sunday #14

Another week, another collection of buggy delights:

◊ A UK logger captures a woodwasp (horntail: Hymenoptera, Family Siricidae) at work…

◊ Ants are fascinating in themselves, but nature ups-the ante (so to speak) when it comes to the evolution of mymecophiles. Check out The Bizarre, Beetle-Biased World of Social Insect Exploitation at Scientific American blogs.

◊ And again from Scientific American blogs, a new weta species discovery, a weta that is already under threat.

Wotsa Weta? They’re the big flightless relatives of crickets and grasshoppers (Order Orthoptera) that live in New Zealand. Weta are the icons of  the Weta Workshop and Weta Digital,  the companies involved in special effects for the new The Hobbit. The Unexpected Journey movie that was released last week)


◊ Ed Yong over at Not Exactly Rocket Science features another post on bugs, this time on the fossil of an 110 million year old trash carrying lacewing larva. See the science at: De La Fuente, Delcios, Penalver, Speranza, Wierzchos, Ascaso & Engel. 2012. Early evolution and ecology of camouflage in insects. (Pay-per-view :( )

Ed also does a post on the amazing diversity of arthropods found in a small forest reserve in Panama. Check it out at Massive bug hunt reveals 25,000 arthropod species in a Manhattan-sized forest. Based on another pay-per-view article at Science, and see a slide show at National Geographic.

◊ Why Evolution is True starts a fly collection with The panoply of nature: more bizarre flies, and then follows it up with a Marvelous Spiny Ant.

Specimen: CASENT0178497. Species: Echinopla melanarctos. Photographer: April Nobile

My! Ain’t Nature splendorous?

◊ A little spider does something amazing on the web. Not in Charlotte’s distinguished hand, mind you, but an amazing bit of weaving here! See New Species of ‘Decoy’ Spider Likely Discovered At Tambopata Research Center (Hat-tip to BugGirl)

The decoy spider constructed out of leaves.Image by Phil Torres

Look at that stabilimentum for a moment…it has eight legs! Does this mean spiders can count?

◊ And to close, a visit to Biodiversity Photography, for those who are interested in extended tropical photography workshops that have a distinct macro slant. While I can’t personally vouch for the workshops provided here, this is certainly the place I would start investigating would I ever have the chance to do an Amazonian photography trip!






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Posted in arthropods, Bugs, Coleoptera, Diptera, Entomology, Habitat, invertebrates, Links, macro, Myrmecolphily, National Geographic, National Park, Orthoptera, photography, Video, Week on Sunday Also tagged , , , , , , |