Friday Beetle Blogging: A Male Glow-worm

Distremocephalus – Phengodidae
Arizona

The beetle family Phengodidae is odd any way you look at it. The adult female (not pictured) is larviform, which means she never loses her grub-like appearance as she grows into sexual maturity. She has no wings and no long antennae. But she does bioluminesce, and that gives the family their common name: Glow-worms.

In stark contrast to their grubby counterparts, male phengodids are delicate creatures, adapted for dispersal and mating. The male pictured above flew to a blacklight behind my house. I don’t see phengodids all that often at the light, but they are easy to spot when they arrive. The distinctive feathery antennae are a dead giveaway.

photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D
f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO 100, twin flash diffused through tracing paper

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