Waiter! There's a bug in my soup! ....er....there's 13 bugs in my soup!!!
Just thought I'd share this "unique" image with my followers since I find it so amusing. :)
This is the way I rehydrate, or "soften", some of my beetles. The dried beetles go into boiling water for 5-10 minutes and that softens them up enough that I can begin moving the wings and legs again. It's a lot faster than putting them in my rehydration chamber for a 24-48 hour hydrating process. Beetles' shells are made from chitin, which is an extremely tough substance, so this quick soak in water doesn't affect the color of most species.
Some butterflies can be done this way, but it's a risky process which I only do in emergencies. You can't let their wings touch the water at all, so you have to sit there holding them with a tweezers, just dunking the body parts.
I was coming home this afternoon and I saw this right by my front door! A Monarch caterpillar! Since there is no milkweed in my front yard (that's what the caterpillars eat), I am suspicious that he might have left his food source to find a place to build his chrysalis. That would be cool to watch! I'll post more pics if I see him again!
I have finally finished installing my show at the Lawrence Public Library! All of my framed pieces are there (and I do mean all of them!) throughout the month of August. They are spread out among three walls; they are hanging in both entryways and in the "media room" above the CDs. To make my show more educational, each piece has a title card that tells what insect species is being used and its country of origin. The title cards also have a price and my contact information, if you go there and see something you'd like to buy! Hope you can check it out if you're in the Lawrence, KS area! It'd be a fun, free, and educational outing for you and/or your kids!
Where: Lawrence Public Library, 7th & Vermont St., Lawrence KS
When: August 1-31, 2010
If there's something most beetles are good at, it's surprising me! I am often amazed by their various forms and colors as I work with them in an artistic light. Beetles can surprise us with more than just their looks, though. Throughout this issue of "An Inordinate Fondness" Blog Carnival, we'll look at some ways that beetles have surprised our contributors. Who knows, perhaps you too will discover a happy surprise in this issue!
The first submission is perhaps the most touching; the author woke up to discover that they could no longer see in color! On their way to the doctor, they happened to look down and something green caught their eye! It was, of all things, a green beetle!
Another happy beetle surprise occurred when the author of Ptygmatic's blog took home what they thought was a stick full of moth larvae. When they matured, they turned out to be (surprise!) Cerambycid beetles! Read the full story here.
Learn more about "An Inordinate Fondness" Blog Carnival here!
Another cool beetle....again, possibly a Rutelid....was this guy, also in the Cloud Forest:
Besides that super-cool gold Rutelid, my other favorite beetle was this guy:
During a night hike in the Cloud Forest, I came across another Tiger Beetle; this time, a royal purple one with an iridescent finish and tiny hairs covered in dew. Beautiful!
I hope you enjoyed seeing these photos half as much as I enjoyed seeing them in person! If anyone can offer any kind of identification advice, I would love to know what I saw!
I recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica, where I was able to see LOTS of cool bugs in their natural habitat! Please enjoy these photos I took and if you have any information about these particular insects, please add a comment below! I would love to have some identifications! The above is Morpho helenor, but that's about all I can tell you. :) If you would like to see the photos bigger, please visit my facebook photo album containing these same pictures, but larger, and with a bit of a description: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=224476&id=147353895860&ref=mf
This piece has a "green/gold" team and a "red/copper" team. A complete list of beetle species will be included on the back of the frame for the winning buyer. There are a total of 32 beetles in this piece. The King and Queen on each team have been carefully decorated with real gold or copper leaf and Swarovski crystals. The king and queen of the red team are decorated in copper leaf and black & white crystals, while the royals on the green team are decorated in gold leaf with black, white, and green crystals. Gold leafing real beetles is a time intensive process that requires a very steady hand! Each end product is totally unique.
The chess board has been woven by me with strips of hand-torn black and white artist's paper. Chess board measures 12x12", and the entire framed piece measures 16x16x1". The average height for each beetle is about one inch. This piece comes framed, ready to hang on your wall. If you are interested in purchasing, please visit the listing in my etsy store.
I have been fascinated with insects since a very young age. I have always viewed them as beautiful creatures that are misunderstood. My latest series of oil paintings celebrates the unique qualities of insects. Painting has long been a source of mediation to me. Inspired by Buddhist Mandala paintings I am creating mediation rings of insects. The beautiful patterns on the wings and bodies form a hypnotic composition. To me, the act itself of creating these paintings is meditative. The paintings are open to interpretation and some people view them as flowers or kaleidoscopes.
This foray into insect art is a new venture for me. I have been focused for the past ten years on mural painting as the proprietor of Augustina Droze Mural Studio, Inc. My murals can be found around the country in private residences, commercial settings, and public spaces. Many of the scenes have a nature theme and often the subject matter is magnified. I find the natural world fascinating to paint. Go to www.admuralstudio.com to see a portfolio of my mural work.
In recent weeks I’ve featured a few jewel beetles that I have encountered amongst specimens sent to me for identification . While the new distributions and even unknown species that they represent are fascinating from a scientific perspective, their diminutive size (~6 mm in length) probably makes them less than spectacular to the non-specialist. The family Buprestidae does, however, contain some very large species, including a few that qualify as bona fide giants. One such species,Euchroma gigantea (Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer Beetle), occurs from Mexico through Central America, the West Indies, and most of South America. At a maximum of 65mm in length, it is not only North America’s largest jewel beetle, but also the largest jewel beetle in the entire Western Hemisphere.
My colleague Steve Meyer encountered and photographed this individual in Negril, Jamaica. Although its scientific name translates to “colorful giant”, the beetle in the photo is especially so due to the delicate, waxy bloom covering its elytra. This bloom is secreted by the adult after transforming from the pupa and prior to emerging from its larval host, giving it a bright yellow-green appearance. After the beetle emerges and becomes active, the bloom is quickly rubbed off and the beetle takes on the shiny, iridescent purple-green color by which it is more familiar. The presence of bloom on this individual suggests that it had just emerged from the trunk of the kapok tree (Ceiba pentandra) on which it was sitting. Kapok and other large trees in the family Bombacaceae serve as hosts for larval development for this species (Hespenheide 1983).
Indigenous peoples in Central and South America have long utilized the dazzlingly colored elytra of these beetles to create beautiful natural jewelry and adorn their clothes and textiles. The species is also eaten in both the larval and adult stages – Tzeltal-Mayans in southern Mexico (Chiapas) roast the adults when available, and the Tukanoans (northwestern Amazon) also eat the larvae (Dufour 1987). I have eaten a few insects in my day, but none as thick and massively juicy as the grub of this species must be. Holometabolous larvae typically contain a rather high percentage of fat (up to 66% dry weight) to meet the demands of pupal development and adult reproduction, and I suspect this makes the larvae quite tasty (especially when roasted). If there is any insect in the world that I really, really, really want to eat – it is the larva of this one!
Dufour, D. L. 1987. Insects as food: A case study from the northwest Amazon. American Anthropologist 89(2):383–397.
Hespenheide, H. A. 1983. Euchroma gigantea (Eucroma, giant metallic ceiba borer), p. 719. In: D. H. Janzen [ed.], Costa Rican Natural History, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2010