An unlikely darkling beetle: Nilio


Nilio species, Tenebrionidae
Gamboa, Panama

I thought this was a chrysomelid leaf beetle for the first few minutes of the photo shoot. It’s got such a nice round leaf-beetle shape. Not to mention the bright leaf beetle colors.

But no. The arrangement of the tarsi (5-5-4) and the short, 11-segmented antennae give away its true tenebrionid nature. I’d never seen anything like it.

Tenebrionidae are the darkling beetles, most species have rather drab coloration and a more elongate body form. My labmate Kojun, who helpfully identifies the tenebrionids over at, recognized this one straight away as a species of Nilio.

details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
f/13, 1/200 sec, ISO 100
Inside a white box, indirect strobe
levels adjusted in Photoshop

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  1. Pingback: From a blattodean to Nilio beetles - Gil Wizen

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