Macro - Ryan Taylor

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Goldenrod Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus)

Creekside Reserve, Beavercreek, Ohio

Also referred to as the Pennsylvania Leatherwing, these are native beetles to North America. They are the common host of a parasite that causes their mandibles to clamp down on flower heads for 15-22 hours, all the while attracting other mates to infect them as well. Non-infected beetles will actually be lured in and try to reproduce with infected hosts. Talk about strange zombie behavior.

This was a rather hot and humid late summer day. I had already been out a few hours since daybreak and was looking out a clearing by the Little Beaver Creek. Around me were a growth of these yellow plants up to my height and as I almost passed by. I noticed the dozens upon dozens of these soldier beetles at work crawling up and down the plants. Almost as if fate I already had my extension tube equipped on a lens, so macro photography was still on my mind. This is one of my first efforts at insect macro photos and I am impressed with the results. These little bugs were no bigger than my thumbnail and now they are enlarged to full size in the frame.

I particularly enjoy the use of colors here. All the greens, yellows and the sandy orange compliment each other well. The hypnotic angle of the photo gives the impression that the beetle is moving down the flower. Fortunately these beetles moved fairly slow as I'm sure they were busy so focusing was not a problem. Insects are surely a subject matter that forces you to slow down and look around.

© 2018 Ryan L. Taylor Photography. All Rights Reserved.

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