Temnoscheila Bark-Gnawing Beetle, Arizona
This colorful insect arrived to a blacklight in my backyard a couple of years back, right when I first moved to Tucson. Previously I’d encountered Temnoscheila only under the bark of dead trees, where they apparently prey on the larvae of other beetles. I’ve always wondered why a beetle that spends most of its time secluded in the dark would need such a brilliant metallic sheen, if the color serves a purpose or is just a spandrel. In any case, this beetle ended up donating its body to science. It is one of several representative trogossitids we are using in the Beetle Tree of Life project to infer the evolutionary history of all beetles.
photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
f/14, 1/250 sec, ISO 100, indirect strobe in white box.
levels adjusted in Photoshop.