I wasn’t properly excited when I photographed this tiger beetle. I now know this species, Cicindela highlandensis, is a somewhat rare endemic species. There were no shortage of them at this particular spot though.
Honestly, I ignored them at first, not being sure I wanted to invest the effort required to get some good shots. Eventually, I had already prostrated myself for some shots of other subjects, so I figured what the heck. I’ll admit I was also somewhat motivated by a desire to share some tiger beetle shots here for frequent commenter Ted C. MacRae to see.
I like those single small hairs that stick up from above each eye.
These really are relatively small tiger beetles. I’m guessing that doesn’t stop them from tangling with big prey though. Looks like this one perhaps bit off more than it could chew, since it seems to be missing some antennal segments.
Their dark color allows them to blend in quite well with all the other debris scattered about their sandy habitat. You don’t really notice them until they take flight.
I’m going to follow Ted’s lead and not reveal here the exact location where these were found. Looking at the timestamps of my images, I spent less than five minutes chasing this one beetle. If I go back, you can be sure I’ll spend more time photographing this species.
This attractive little beetle was resting when I found it. Looking at it here, it almost appears to be nature’s idea of a gaudy holiday light display. Just imagine each of those elytral punctures as a tiny LED, and then imagine them programmed so that the dorsal patterns shift down the eltytra, one puncture at a time. Jokes aside, it actually blends in pretty well with the browning foliage.
This is a leaf-mining leaf beetle, so called because the larvae feed between the surfaces of leaves, creating mines. Adults feed on foliage, and it may be responsible for some of the leaf damage visible here, though I didn’t actually see it eating.
The larvae are flattened, making it easier to move within their mines. Adults seem to share this trait.
I spotted two of these beetles, both on tree bark at the base of trees. I don’t have any of my references with me, so I can only speculate about the family. Tenebrionidae, perhaps?
This click beetle in the family Elateridae was another night find. I’d like to say those light producing organs on the prothorax drew my attention. In reality, its “headlights” were “off” when I found it.
There are many species with these light producing organs spread across many genera, but they are all commonly referred to as headlight beetles.
On a side note, my blacklight flashlight was kind of a bust otherwise I’m afraid to report. I had hoped to find some scorpions at least, but this beetle was the only thing it turned up.
While I work on some longer posts, here’s another attractive unidentified beetle to ponder. Maybe a pleasing fungus beetle in the family Erotylidae?
I won’t venture an identification here, but it was too attractive to pass up! Can anyone narrow it down for me?
The day I spent in Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge, I encountered many beetles like the one above. They were always crawling around on large leaves. I didn’t observe them feeding or see any obvious damage from possible feeding in their vicinity. Rather, I spotted what I assume are both males and females, possibly coming together for mating. I didn’t actually see any mating though.
I suspect the one above is a male, based on those antennae. Here’s what I figure is a female. There’s also a bit of its frass there (confirmed from another image).
There’s some variability in the coloring as well. Here’s another male, with less black on the head and pronotum.
I wished I could say more about their identity. My initial impression was Lycidae. Doesn’t seem quite right though, with no obvious latticework of veins on the elytra and such an exposed head. I looked through my North American beetle references, but nothing seemed like an obvious fit. Elateridae? Eucnemidae? Pyrochroidae? Hopefully a beetle expert will be able to at least place these in a family for me.
Here’s one more view of those antennae from the same individual as the lead photo.
This is almost but not quite the shot I was going for. When I first saw this little beetle it was oriented toward the freshly eaten patch. With the frass strewn around, you can just imagine it chewing away at the surface in a circular pattern. I wasn’t quite stealthy enough in my approach however, and I spooked it into moving away.
Below is a similar beetle, perhaps a different sex of the same species. Note the difference between the freshly eaten patch above and the older ones below.