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Nosodendron californicum – Wounded Tree Beetle
California, USA

From the Department of Really Obscure Insects, here’s a beetle that few non-specialists will recognize.  Nosodendron inhabits the rotting tissue of long-festering tree wounds.  These beetles are not rare so much as specialized to an environment where few entomologists think to look.   If you can spot the telltale stains of an old wound on the trunks of large trees, you should be able to find Nosodendron.  They feed on the microbes- the yeast and bacteria- that grow in the sap leaking from the phloem.

There are, in fact, whole communities of insects associated with tree wounds.  Several fly families are found nowhere else.  I photographed this odiniid fly drinking from the yeasty slime:

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photo details (both photos): Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS D60
ISO 100, f/13, 1/200 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper