06.28.2021 A darling of a darkling

Guess I reached a bit for a cute title.  Most gardeners wouldn’t consider this beetle a darling but a pest.  They chew the bases of vegetable plants and do cause some damage. That I saw this one at all was a bit of a surprise because, as the name may hint, darkling beetles only come out at night generally.   There are over 20,000 species of darklings- Tenebrionidae- and this one, Capnochroa fuliginosa, does not have a common name. Darkling beetle larvae are what you may buy to feed your fish if you have an aquarium…mealworms, which are raised specifically for fish food.

Considering that these beetles prefer darkness to avoid predators, it was sheer luck that not only did I find it but it did not scurry away when I photographed it. And scurry it would as their wings are fused and that prevents flying.  But it also helps to stay moist in dry heat.



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, ecology, Insect Behavior, Insects, macro photography, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to 06.28.2021 A darling of a darkling

  1. The grooves on the forewings actually make it kind of attractive, it looks like a wooden boat hull, or (not to be too fanciful) those deep pleats on the underside of humpback whale. So that’s what a mealworm turns into, my new fact for the day!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. A player with words like me wouldn’t think you have an acute case of looking for a cute title. Did you know that cute arose as a shortened form of acute? The linguistic term for the loss of one or more sounds at the beginning of a word is apheresis, which sounds like it could be part of the scientific name for a little critter like the one you’ve shown here.

    Your mention of darkling reminded me of Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach,” in which that word appears:


    Liked by 3 people

    • Well that certainly is an upbeat poem for our times.

      I have heard
      “Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
      Listen! you hear the grating roar
      Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
      At their return, up the high strand,
      Begin, and cease, and then again begin”
      while at Acadia’s Little Hunters Beach as the tide rolls the cobbles around continuing to smooth their surfaces with the friction of their meetings.

      So pneumonia is an apheretic?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Speakers of some languages, like Greek, can pronounce pn at the beginning of a word, but English speakers can’t. Our Anglo-Saxon linguistic ancestors pronounced the k at the beginning of knee, knit, know, knife, knave, knot, etc., but we modern English speakers have dropped the k.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ms. Liz says:

        If we still pronounced the ‘k’ it makes me wonder, for example, if kinetic could be spelled ‘knetic’ and still correctly convey how we say it.


      • It depends on how you pronounce kinetic. The most common American pronunciation is with a weak vowel, which linguists call a schwa and represent with the symbol ə, between the k and the n. You can hear it if you click the first little speaker icon at

        In contrast, the Anglo-Saxon pronunciation of words beginning with with kn was without any real vowel sound between the k and the n. Germans still do that with a word like Knabe, and Yiddish speakers do it with a word like knish. Americans typically can’t pronounce kn without inserting a vowel, and so they pronounce knish as if it were kuh-nish.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Ms. Liz says:

        Thanks! I’ve been listening to an audio of the German phrase ‘der Knabe’ and have more of an idea of that pronunciation now, there’s a real ‘ick’ sound in there for the ‘k’. We also use the weak vowel form of kinetic, I’ve never heard the other.


    • Ann Mackay says:

      A beautiful poem – and reminds me of English lessons at school!


  3. shoreacres says:

    The family name Tenebrionidae reminded me immediately of Tenebrae: the Good Friday service of lessons that includes a gradual extinguishing of candles, until the church is left in darkness. It’s amazing the connections that emerge when we pay attention to the words we use for quite different realities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a connection I”d never recognize but as many early scientific discoveries were made by those from religious orders I guess it makes sense. That’s an interesting tradition. I would think it would happen in the other direction…gathering more light with each lesson.

      Liked by 1 person

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