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hitch-hiking meloid larva

hitch-hiking  meloid larva
Photo Information
Copyright: patrick neuberg (pat) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 87 W: 0 N: 125] (414)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-04-30
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon D70, Sigma EX 50mm F2.8 DG Macro
Exposure: f/13.0, 1/100 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2006-05-05 17:51
Viewed: 4918
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 4
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Triungulinus larva of the meloid beetle on a Wood Anemone (A. nemorosa).

The meloids are impressive dark coloured beetle with up to 3.5cm body length photographed here. The meloid beetle are most interesting by their reproductive biology : The female beetle, with their large swollen abdomen, lay thousands of eggs in an excavated hole. The hatching larva, called triungulinus, is very mobile and crawls around to reach flowers.

Here I have photographed one of these minute larvae, which are less than 3mm, on petals of a Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa). On closer examination I found that almost every flower on the surroundings had the same peculiar “inmates”, often in large numbers. But what are they doing there ? They neither seem to eat pollen nor feed on the nectar, only they become very excited and crawl around every time the calyx is being touched or shaken !

Some look on the literature provides the answers : The larvae are waiting for other insects to approach the flower. When a wild bee visits the flower they will firmly attach to the bees "fur" to be transported (phoresis) to their nest. Here they will first prey on one of the bee’s own larvae, then, in a second stage, will be feeding on the “sticky" honey.

In the workshop I have added a higher magnification of the same larva.

Photo taken with the 50mm Sigma macro lens, on my D70 Nikon body. The Metz flash 44AF-4iN used in i-TTL mode, with a high negative compensation. The flash was used in combination with a set a home made reflectors and diffusers

Camera settings:
size/quality : large, Jpeg fine ; Sharpness +1 ; iso [email protected] ; white balance : flash

PP done with Photoshop7, levels + burn tool, USM + selective blur filter, crop, resize for site.

Thanks for looking :-)

cedryk, ddg has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • cedryk Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 967 W: 50 N: 1722] (5270)
  • [2006-05-05 19:40]

Hello Patrick,
Fantastic shot with a great biological background. I see this larva first in my life.
Best greetings,

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2006-05-15 5:58]

Bonjour Patrick, super cette photo pour entomologiste!! Je n'avais jamais vu de larve de Meloé avant et j'ignorais comment cela pouvait être!! Bravo aussi pour la note instructive. Mes félicitations, Didier.

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