Monday Night Mystery: The Case of the Iridescent Polka Dots

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Ok campers. What is this?

Eight Myrmecos points will go to the first person to correctly pick the genus of insect pictured here. Two additional points will go to the first person who can name the underlying structure that supports these lovely speckles.

The cumulative points winner for the month of May will win their choice of 1) any 8×10-sized print from my photo galleries, or 2) a guest post here on Myrmecos.

Good luck!

20 thoughts on “Monday Night Mystery: The Case of the Iridescent Polka Dots”

  1. Gonna guess the colors are the structural, replying on melanin deposits in the epicuticle and exocuticle, which reflect certain wavelengths depending on the thickness and organization.

  2. COULTER! I shake my fist at your lightning reflexes. Yup, this looks like a beautiful carabid of some flavor, and the colors arise from minute, cuticular multilayer reflectors (albeit not reliant on melanin deposits). See also Tom Schultz’s excellent 1989 paper on “pointillistic color mixing,” a particular specialty of cicindelines. (or see our 2009 review of beetle iridescence 😉 )

    1. I almost never get to these before the heavyweights have devoured all the points. I probably am wrong about the melanin. The first reference I could find regarding cuticle microstructure was Knisley and Schultz 1997, and I think may have misinterpreted the caption on the SEM figure, which was referring specifically to the darker maculations on a tiger beetle.

        1. Yes, Yes, but you did not [u]underline it as well as [i]italicize Elaphrus[/u][/i]! Therefore no points could logically be issued.

  3. The underlying structure, with the awesome cuticular light-tricks, is the elytron of Elaphrus sp. 😀

    1. I second that..
      Think we need harder challenges to be honest, otherwise it is just going to come down to timing and what timezone you operate in 😉

  4. Pingback: Answer to the Monday Night Mystery – MYRMECOS - Insect Photography - Insect Pictures

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