Friday Beetle Blogging: The Prettiest Darkling Beetle

Google keeps suggesting I’m looking for “Hegemony”, but I’m not. This is Hegemona, a large darkling beetle we encountered in Belize:


HegemonaThese insects are large- about an inch long- and appear nearly black in the field. Under soft lighting, structural colors in the elytra emerge spectacularly. I suspect the bright alternating stripes serve to warn predators of the beetle’s toxicity, as it emitted a noxious odor when handled.

Thanks to Kojun Kanda for the identification.

photo details:
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 7D
ISO 400, f/13, 1/125 sec
indirect strobe in a white box

14 thoughts on “Friday Beetle Blogging: The Prettiest Darkling Beetle”

  1. Oh…that…is…nice.

    A former girlfriend a long time ago was looking at the acanthocephalan parasites of darkling beetles. She brought some big Eleodes into the field lab, and began the dissection. Punctured the “smell like an Eleodes” gland. The lab was evacuated for a couple of hours.

  2. Has anyone looked at these under UV? Aposematic colours are generally more highly contrasted. Maybe these beautifully subtle stripes are contrasts, too – to the eyes of predators.

    1. Hi Matthew. Considering the sparse literature on this genus, not to mention the very strong possibility that this species is undescribed, I’d venture that no work has been done on the UV appearance of the beetle. An excellent question, though.

  3. And, as if you need another comment: what a lovely image! (Yes, I use the word ‘image’ advisedly.)

    Thank you so much for sharing the tiny world that you see so largely, and are willing to share: so I don’t have to go through horrible airports and then be rained on in jungles and catch tropical diseases and come home sick and tired. : }

    I love the photos of the other insects that you show, but I have learned to love the ants as well! I never realised before I read your blog how remarkably cute ants are!

    Thanks for previous info on why my cat gets stoned on anthills!


    1. I probably should have thanked Tom Myers on this, as he pre-cleaned the beetle for me (we both shot it). But I also cleaned up some extraneous lint in post.

  4. Great pic!

    How does your lens/camera combo handle diffraction at f/13?
    I have the same camera and lens, and by f/11 the hairs in my jumping spiders start to look soft! I usually try to shoot at between f/8 and f/10 to avoid the diffraction softness…

    1. I find that the best combination of DoF and sharpness for my tastes are between f/13 and f/18 for this lens. More than that is too soft, less than that is too narrow.

      1. Maybe I’m expecting too much of my 100mm and looking at 100% crops too much lol. I guess an MP-E is in my future…


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