The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

A trio of beautiful beetles

This fall I spent some time under the tutelage of some of Canada’s best-known entomologists at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, with the specific goal of confirming some of my identifications of Arctic ground beetles (Carabidae).

One researcher, Dr. Henri Goulet, currently works on sawflies (Hymenoptera) but he started his entomological career as a beetle guy. His insights and identification “tips” for my beetles were amazing.  Dr. Goulet also knows a thing or two about capturing insects – not with traps, but with his camera. He’s compiled hundreds of photographs of Canadian ground beetles for the Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility.

During my first summer in Nunavut, I was fortunate to collect a good series of a ground beetle called Blethisa catenaria. It was formerly known by only 4 other specimens, all over 50 years old; I found just over 30 more.

One of the wonderful things my collection taught us about this species is that they come in several colours. You’ll recall that I wrote a post not long ago on the color variation in another Arctic beetle, Pterostichus (Stereocerus) haematopus. Blethisa catenaria provides another great example – except it is decidedly SHINIER. Says Dr. Goulet about the variation in B. catenaria: “Based on your specimens, the color forms are not discrete, but gradually shift from dark to either green or copper”. Cool!

Dr. Goulet was very excited to get some photographs of the different color morphs of B. catenaria, and just this week he completed his work on the images. With his permission, I’m sharing them with you now:

Blethisa catenaria ("brown") - Photo by: Henri Goulet

Blethisa catenaria ("dark") - Photo by: Henri Goulet

Blethisa catenaria ("copper") - Photo by: Henri Goulet

SHINY!

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12 responses to “A trio of beautiful beetles

  1. Adrian D. Thysse February 1, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    Lovely! Henri is particularly generous in providing the hi-res images to you and the public. Thanks to both of you for sharing.

    A question about the eyes..they are white. Is that natural or a result of being, errr…dead?

    I see that these are focus-stacks. Did you see his set-up for obtaining these images? I’d love to know.

    • TGIQ February 1, 2012 at 8:26 AM

      He has a GORGEOUS image of a beautiful Carabus vietinghoffi that I’ll probably share one day (I don’t think it’s on the site I linked to).
      Although I didn’t see any live specimens, only those that had been trapped, I’m fairly confident in saying that the white eyes are just a product of preservation…I bet Ted would know something about that!
      I’m not sure what Henri’s setup is, but I’d be happy to ask on your behalf!

  2. Ted C. MacRae February 1, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Those are amazing images (feelings of inadequacy again rising to the fore…).

    I’ve seen white eyes on preserved specimens once in a while, but it’s not typical. Could have something to do with the preservative used in your traps.

    • TGIQ February 3, 2012 at 5:58 PM

      Henri’s been doing these for a long time, Ted; practice makes perfect, I suspect! Also, he’s had those specimens for several months now; I don’t know what steps he had to take to make these happen! (But, since Adrian said “plz”, I will ask :D)

  3. Bug Girl February 1, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    SHINY!! (and great photos).

  4. Wayne K February 3, 2012 at 9:05 AM

    The next time that you are at the CNC make sure you come buy the Mite unit!!!

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  6. Pingback: Respect your specimens « The Bug Geek

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