Photos of the Week – February 18, 2022

Beetles are the most diverse group of insects in world, a fact that is driven largely by the incredible diversity found in the tropics. While they’re not the most diverse group in North America (that’s thought to be flies, with an estimated 61,000 species on the continent!!), there are still lots and lots of beetles in prairies. They come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors, and each has their own fascinating life story.

I’m no beetle expert, so I don’t know as many of those stories as I’d like to, but I thought I’d share a few photos today that help highlight the diversity of beetles out there in grasslands.

Big sand tiger beetle (Cicendela formosa) in the Nebraska Sandhills that just finished catching and consuming an ant. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/20, 1/320 sec.
Leaf beetles (Metrioidea sp) feeding on stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus). Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/13, 1/60 sec.
White-fringed weevil (Naupactus tesselatus). Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/16, 1/200 sec.
Goldenrod soldier beetle (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus). Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/14, 1/500 sec.
Dectes stem borer (Dectes texanus). Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, f/1, 1/200 sec.
Transverse lady beetle (Coccinella transversoguttata). Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, f/16, 1/100 sec.
Skeletonizing leef beetle (Trirhabda sp). Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/14, 1/640 sec.
Dung beetle (Deltochilini) in a Nebraska Sandhills blowout. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/14, 1/400 sec.
Longhorn milkweed beetle (Tetraopes sp). Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/10, 1/100 sec.
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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

7 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – February 18, 2022

  1. The white-fringed beetle is especially appealing to me; apparently my love of white flowers transfers to non-floral species. All of your photos showing these little critters embracing their plants are charming. I’ve accidentally ended up with a few images showing the same sort of pose, and I love looking at them, even if it does take a day or so to get “Hang On, Sloopy” out of my mind.

  2. Ahhhh,,,these photos warmed my heart and are making me look forward to warmer weather. It won’t be as long as it has been. Excellent photos. Cheers…


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