Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Seven

All insects staring in this blog entry are less than 5 mm long. A reasonably good macro lens reveals amazing textural detail and colorful patterns even in these smaller bugs. I am using a 50 mm 1:2 Macro Zuiko Digital on an E-500 Olympus SLR body. This is an inexpensive hand-held set-up and far superior solutions are available. All the images are taken at night at my black lights which are hanging on out slump block garage wall and on the wall of our neighbors wooden weekend cottage. I support the built-in flash of the camera with a strong LED flashlight to help the camera focus and to brighten up the cast shadow.
 I try to orient the camera so that the flash hits the insect from front to back.  Depending on its position this can be difficult. A secondary flash would be ideal, but I am trying to keep things simple.

Cymatodera aegra-complex
 So here are 7 species that are common at the light right now: Adults of this genus Cymatodera in the family of the Checkered Beetles (Cleridae) are predaceous, some feeding on the larvae of gall wasps, others hunting fruit tree lepidoptera and wood-boring beetles. Identification to species is very difficult.But Cymatodera aegra is one of the smallest around here

Anoplocurius canotiae
This little Cerambycid is a family member of the largest of beetles. Tropical species can be as long as my lower arm, but even the Palo Verde Rootborer (Derobrachus hovorei) that is emerging right now in Arizona can be up to 4 inches long. This little guy is about as long as a Derobrachus foot.

Adelina sp.
The 3.5mm long  Adelina sp. is a darkling beetle and as such related to the big, black Pinacate or stink beetles that cruise the desert floor at dusk and stop to stand on their heads when they are disturbed.

Enchenopa permutata - Female
In this species of Membracidae (Treehoppers), the female wears the horn, the male just has a rounded forehead. Maybe she needs the thorn mimicry more than he while she deposits her eggs on something thorny (?) Just about all plants here qualify...

Lomamyia sp.
Eggs of this little Beaded Lacewing  are stalked, and can be found on wood surfaces near termite nests. The larvae live with and prey on termites, using an immobilizing gas (containing an allomone) discharged from their anus.

The little Rove Beetle was running around, always ready to take wing again. At rest his membranous fore wings can be folded tidily and stored under the short elytra. This little predator is a member of the Staphylinidae, the largest family in the animal kingdom with 55,440 recognized species worldwide.

Aristotelia corallina

This little one is a Gelechiidae (Twirler Moths). The larval habits in this group vary widely: it includes leaf miners, leaf folders and tiers, gall makers, and fruit & seed feeders. The species A. corallina constructs larval webs near the tips of the host plant, the Sweet Acacia. 


  1. Oh I love this site! Imagine immobilizing gas! LOL!
    I know some people like that.........

  2. Nice job, getting names for all those tiny things. That's an amazing number of rove beetle species, and there are probably at least that many worldwide that haven't been discovered yet. And most people have never even heard of a rove beetle, sadly.