Big, black teneb

Alobates pennsylvanica, called the "False Mealworm Beetle". I found under the bark of a fallen dead sweetgum in my yard. (I had let the tree rot in place, since it was in no danger of falling on the house. It was a great woodpecker tree for about a year.) Length about 18 mm.

EOL has this as Alobates pensylvanicus (one "n", masculine gender), as well as Alobates pennsylvanica (two "n's", feminine gender), and I'm not sure which one is correct--these spelling/gender variants are pesky!

  • Ash 3y

    Aha - I knew it looked familiar! :-) These guys are big. Nice shot here.
  • Vicki DeLoach 3y

    what a fabulous beetle close-up!
  • Jim McClarin 3y

    What lens did you use for this large beetle and about what distance was it from the subject? I recently got the 7D and 65mm & 100mm macro lenses but have not fully tested them yet (waiting for Ecuador I guess). I've noticed short focal depth using the 100mm.
  • EncyclopediaOfLife 3y

    Encyclopedia of Life curator Patrick Coin has trusted your image on the EOL site
  • EncyclopediaOfLife 3y

    Patrick Coin commented on your image on the Encyclopedia of Life site:
    For differentiation from A. morio, see and also other images in this series (adjacent in Flickr photostream).
  • cotinis 3y

    Jim McClarin this was taken with the 60mm Canon macro--perhaps slightly better d.o.f. than the 100mm. I usually shoot in aperture priority mode and stop down a bit (f11 or f13) and of course use flash for this sort of studio shot. Despite the narrow aperture, you can see that the head and legs are out of the plane of best focus--I focused on the elytra. Distance to the subject was about 15-20 cm. (For this sort of thing I like the shorter macro because I can brace with my elbows on the counter and still frame the whole beetle. There is usually too much working distance to do this with the 100mm. Of course, in the field you usually want a bit more working distance.)
    D.O.F. will be narrow, usually, in any macro work--thus the need to stop down a bit and get lots of light with flash. If you want really good focus across a deep subject in macro, of course, you should do image stacking. I am not skilled at that, but I see lots of that now on Flickr and the results can be excellent.
  • Jim McClarin 3y

    Thanks, Patrick. You're the first person I've heard even mention the 60mm Canon macro lens. I'll check it out online.

    Yeah, I'm excited about doing image stacks of dead specimens like I see on Flickr. I'll get live shots first, lots of 'em, then kill and pose the specimen and do a semi-automated photo stack using my newly acquired Stack-Shot electronic programmable focusing rail. For the very tiny ones I have a 10x microscope objective and adapter. I'll probably get started in December assuming I actually do get to Ecuador ;-)
  • cotinis 3y

    Great to hear about your plans, Jim. I would not run out, necessarily, and buy a 60mm. I found one used, and could not resist. It is pretty similar to the 100mm and I don't think the d.o.f. will be all that different. It is, however, very light, and the autofocus works very reliably--that I find handy for my aging eyes. I do find it convenient for working in front of moth sheets or in this sort of studio setting, where you actually don't want much working distance.
    I've seen a few focus stacks of live specimens, though I imagine it requires a really sluggish critter! One trick I did pick up from Thomas Eisner's books was to use a little dab of melted paraffin to immobilize a beetle (mostly) on a stage without harming it. I've used that a few times. For your sort of work it might be worth experimentation.
  • Jim McClarin 3y

    Once in awhile I have a totally frenetic beetle stop and stand stock still in my light arena so I can take multiple shots. A handy feature to use at such times would be focus bracketing. Tim Moyer on Bug Guide found a firmware hack for his Canon A6x0 that does this. I'm hoping someone does this for EOS cameras before long. That would enable some decent live stack shots. I have often done manual montage work, borrowing in-focus portions to lasso, drag, and merge on hand-held live shots but it is a tedious job with typically less-than-satisfying results.
  • kim fleming 3y

    beautiful specimen and shot, patrick!
  • Alice Abela 3y

    First impression seeing this was a mealworm beetle, aptly named ;o)
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Taken on October 1, 2012
  • EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM
  • ƒ/13.0
  • 60.0 mm
  • 1/250
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  • Flash (on, fired)
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