Friday Beetle Blogging: Clown Beetle

Hololepta Clown Beetle (Histeridae)

If Oscars were awarded for Most Aesthetically Pleasing Sculpturing on an Insect, hister beetles would make the short list. Especially Hololepta, which not only shows the trademark histerid shininess but also has a flattened, paper-thin body. Michele Lanan, who collected this beetle for me, noted that it seems designed to inhabit the pages of a book.


In case it isn’t obvious from those killer mandibles, Hololepta is predatory. This one was found in a rotting cactus in the Arizona desert, where it likely hunted fly larvae.

photo details: TOP 1- Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO 100
BOTTOM 2- Canon 100m f2.8 macro lens on a Canon 20D

f/15, 1/250 sec, ISO 100
all photos illuminated by indirect strobe in a white box

4 thoughts on “Friday Beetle Blogging: Clown Beetle”

  1. I came to your site as a result of you posting a comment on my site, and I wanted to tell you that I love your site. I have a lot of interest in a lot of things in the latter stages of my life, and I think your photography is not only great, but I like your subjects and the fact that you tell us about them. Good work. Keep it up.

  2. Old-man: Thanks for stopping by!

    Aydin: Good question. All three photos were taken in a white box with a strobe. The first one was done properly, with the strobe near the center of the box, so that the lighting was very even. This gives the beetle a smooth look even though it’s very reflective. The others look like I’d tipped the strobe a bit so that the beetle is actually catching some of the light directly.

Leave a Reply