Friday Beetle Blogging: The Japanese Beetle

Popillia japonica - Champaign, Illinois

The ever colorful Popillia japonica has been in North America for nearly a century.  In spite of an unmistakable charisma, the charms of this unintentional visitor are largely lost among the ruins of chewed up rose bushes, grape vines, and raspberry plants left in its wake.  This beetle is a serious pest, and I don’t know many gardeners who have welcomed its spread across the continent.

For those with a camera, however, Japanese beetles are hard-to-resist eye candy.  The insects’ metallic surfaces render photography a bit tricky, though, as glare gets out of control quickly if the lighting is not sufficiently diffuse.  I ended up taking these beetles indoors.  Under the controlled lighting of a white box (a cardboard box colored white on the inside) I was able to arrange the masticated grape leaves and the beetles to achieve the effect I wanted: what the beetles looked like outdoors, under a cloudy sky (yeah, that sounds counter-intuitive. But trust me. My field photos actually look more contrived. There’s a reason for that, maybe I’ll write about it some time).

Popillia japonica - The Japanese Beetle
Popillia japonica - The Japanese Beetle

photo details: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon 20D
ISO 200, f/11, 1/250 sec, flash diffused in a white box

2 thoughts on “Friday Beetle Blogging: The Japanese Beetle”

  1. Pingback: A Directory of Friday Beetles « Myrmecos Blog

Leave a Reply