07.21.2016 Brilliant Beetle

One of my favorite insects to photograph is the Dogbane Leaf Beetle (Chrysochus auratus).  They are quite accommodating in the morning and allow for close approach and hardly move…just the occasional twitch of the antennae.


They are found on milkweed plants, but most often specifically Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) hence the name.

Dogbane-Beetle-environmental-071716-960The brilliant iridescent coloration is caused by light being reflected on the different strata that make up the beetle’s exoskeleton and changes as you walk around the insect.

Dogbane-Beetle-071716-800The middle image was made with the 15mm macro…pretty much the reason I purchased the lens (not the specific insect but this type of shot). The others were with the 180 as usual.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Amherst, Closeup Photography, Insect Behavior, Insects, macro photography, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to 07.21.2016 Brilliant Beetle

  1. Gallivanta says:

    Very attractive. They remind me of the shiny insects which used to flourish on our cotton plant in Fiji. They looked like this http://molvray.com/photos/picture.php?/15975/category/8 As children we loved to collect them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, what fun you had playing with that beetle-borne iridescence.

    Within the last few years botanists moved all the milkweeds inside the dogbane family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One never knows from day to day or year to year where plants will fall in their taxonomy.

      All you have to do is move a tiny bit in one direction or the other to see the colors change. Fascinating.


  3. Jim Ruebush says:

    I am also a big fan of the iridescence. It gives spectacular displays.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely beetle. I actually like this pic. I have seen beetles like this? I’m not sure but they seemed to have been larger and that was before there was in milkweed/dogbane in my yard. So I have no idea if it is the same beetle or one that is similar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are literally thousands, actually hundreds of thousands, of beetle species, Yvonne. Many are scarabs and have lovely colors like this one.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know there are innumerable species but I made a dumb statement in that I was comparing it to your beetle. The one or more here look to be larger than yours but of course I can’t really eyeball a pic to compare in scale. As I’ve written before, I’m not crazy about insects but I let them alone, even the wasps for my vegetable garden needs pollinators. I’m not aware of anything that self pollinates among the veggies tom but maybe there are. I should educate myself huh? 🙂 (tomatoes, cucumbers and, squash).

        Liked by 1 person

  5. shoreacres says:

    He’s really handsome — and one of his kind is famous, too. In 1999, the Dogbane Beetle was featured on a US postage stamp. The stamp beetle isn’t as impressive as yours, but it’s still nice that the government was willing to put insects on stamps.

    The first and third photos made me smile. They may show a beetle’s morning, but they remind me of me at the end of the work day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That stamp beetle needs some red. I am not sure the stamps helped much, but it would be nice if people had a better appreciation for insects and their importance in ecology and our lives.
      Yeah, the first especially looks a little tired from a tough day of beetling.(wow…I am shocked that spell check accepted that). I thought about calling him “Kilroy” but it’s a bit too exposed.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lottie Nevin says:

    There’s a wonderful poem by A.A Milne called Forgiven. Check it out, Steve! Your photo reminds me very much of Alexander 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Todd Henson says:

    Steve, more great images. I’m most drawn to the first and third. I always love that nice crisp detail set against a distraction-free, beautifully out of focus background. However, I do still like the second. It’s nice to see species in their environment. That’s something I often forget to capture, so I’m taking this as inspiration to try to capture more environmental shots.

    And regarding your comment to shoreacres about how it’d be nice for folks to better appreciate insects and their importance in ecology and our lives, I think images like yours are a great way to try to realize that wish. I’m sure there are some folks who will simply never care, but I have to believe there are others who, in seeing photos like these, will become interested, will begin looking more closely about them, seeing all the different insects they pass by every day, perhaps researching and learning more about them and what roles they play. We all have plenty more to learn. That’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to sites like yours (and of course the great photography 😀).


    • It’s very true, Todd, that there are people who will never care. Some just have learned phobias about insects. The same is true with wetlands. There are still many people who view them as bad places and have no appreciation for their importance…just like insects.


  8. I do love your bug photos, Steve. These are gorgeous beetles. I like them a lot too.

    Liked by 1 person

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