Cicindela abdominalis

Back on a late July day I was heading back from a field survey in Maryland’s eastern shore and decided to take a brief detour. I was not far away from a site where I had photographed Cicindela abdominalis back in 2008; however, I was not satisfied with the few shots I had taken and now wanted to take the opportunity to get some better shots.

The location in question, a sandy powerline access road adjacent to a park, was about half an hour away and by the time I arrived at the site the sun was  sinking low in the sky. I was worried the beetles would not be active, but my concern was short lived as I spotted my first beetle within minutes of walking around the site.

This individual was wary, taking flight as I slowly attempted to move closer and I watched as the beetle alit in a sandy patch several feet away. Moving even slower I soon managed to get a shot of the beetle, though the posture of the beetle and the framing of the shot were not quite what I had hoped for.

The beetle seemed to acclimate to my intrusion and darted sideways, out of the camera’s field of view, grabbing a minute ant from the sand and a voraciously masticating it with its powerful jaws. Unfortunately as I repositioned the shot, my flash diffuser brushed against a tall blade of grass and this movement caused the beetle to again take flight.

During my brief search for another subject, I noticed several adult C. punctulata also darting about the sandy patches and taking flight as I approached. Before long I saw another distinctively small C. abdominalis. This time I approach slowly and using the Live view function of my Canon SLR managed a far better shot while holding the camera out a short distance from me.

I continued to attempt shots of a couple more beetles, but none of the results were quite as good. I did manage to get a clear shot of the maculations and characteristically red abdomen of one individual as it turned away from my lens.

By the time I finished taking shots of abdominalis, the sun was dipping behind the trees and I had to begrudgingly pack up my gear and continue down the road back to Virginia.

For more information on this species check out the species page on BugGuide.

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2 responses

  1. Great pics, Chris – between you and me the abdominalis-species group is getting lots of attention. :)

    August 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm

  2. Thanks Ted! Yes the group is certainly in the spotlight lately

    September 10, 2011 at 11:59 pm

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