Derobrachus hovoreiPalo Verde Borer
Tucson, Arizona

Every June, hundreds of thousands of giant beetles emerge from beneath the Tucsonian soil. The enormous size of these beetles- up to several inches long- makes them among the most memorable of Tucson’s insects. They cruise about clumsily in the evenings, flying at eye level as they disperse and look for mates.

Palo Verde beetles spend most of their lives as subterranean grubs feeding on the roots of Palo Verde trees. Adults emerge in early summer, usually ahead of the monsoon, and by August they are gone.

It is still a bit too early in June to see them, but in anticipation of this year’s emergence I am posting photos I took in 2006.

photo details: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon 20D
top photo: indirect strobe in a white box
bottom photo: natural light at dusk