Love is in the air!

My first tiger beetle photograph of the season. There’s nothing more adorable than Spring love!

Cicindela tranquebarica (oblique-lined tiger beetle) | St. Joe State Park, Missouri

Photo details: Canon 50D w/ 100mm f2.4 macro lens (ISO 160, 1/200 sec, f/16), Canon MT-24EX twin flash w/ DIY oversized concave diffuser.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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14 Responses to Love is in the air!

  1. Anonymous says:

    I gotta ask: how do you get photos of the tiger beetles without their running away? I have very few decent tiger beetle photos, so I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong…

    • Photographing tiger beetles is as much art as it is science. I know this doesn’t help much, but there is a learning curve involving knowing the beetles’ behavior, how they will react to certain movements, how time of day affects their actions, etc. In general, it requires very deliberate and stealthy movments and the patience to “work” the subject long enough to get them used to your presence. I had already studied tiger beetles in the field for more than a decade when I began trying to photograph them, so I had a huge advantage when I did start.

      Move slower, and keep trying! :)

      • Don’t know why my comment showed up as anonymous, but thanks for the response! That makes sense. I honestly don’t see a lot of tiger beetles, so I don’t have much of a chance to observe them, but I will keep at it anyway. They’re just so darned cute!

        • AZ is a hotbed of tiger beetle diversity – look for them around the edges of water tanks and alkaline flats. This August, I command you to go to Willcox Playa, which has one of the highest concentrations of tiger beetles in the country (17 species).

  2. Kurt says:

    Great shot Ted. Very nice light and DOF.

    • Thank you, Kurt. I really worked this couple trying to get a more front-angled shot, but they weren’t having that! This was the best I could manage, but since I hadn’t photographed a mating pair of this species yet, I’ll take it!

  3. biobabbler says:

    Nice work! Yes, chasing after stunning, specTACular tiger beetles while hiking with friends we were visiting in Kansas was a real lesson in “WOW that’s gorgeous and SUPER FAST!” I’m sure I was no where near as close as you but I got pics and I’m still excited about it (years later). Then my friend, after watching me squeal with delight at those gorgeous metallic-rainbow things and running after them with my camera came up to me and said, “I’ve missed you.” =) Apparently she is a drop-to-the-ground-&-look-@-the-cool-bug person, too, and was the sole representative in the small town she lived in. Geek-deprived.

  4. Ani says:

    That’s a great shot Ted. A really crisp image full of details.

  5. david winter says:

    Love photo Ted. But I have to say, watching the Northern Hemisphere bug-blogs bloom with spring bugs is slightly depressing for a Southern reader!

  6. Sally says:

    What a cute couple!! (terrific photo)

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