“Dungers and Chafers – a Trip to South Africa”

Those of you who enjoy field trip accounts should check out the December 2008 issue of SCARABS. The lead article – authored by your’s truly – is a scarabcentric travelogue of an insect collecting trip I took to South Africa several years ago. Scarabs?!, you say? Well, even though I focus on bups, ‘bycids, and tigers (some would argue that actually demonstrates lack of focus), I never pass on the opportunity to collect “cool” insects of all types when traveling somewhere as “exotic” as Africa – and scarabs are definitely cool! Still, I did manage to sneak past the editors a few words and pictures about buprestids, one of the more impressive of which I offer here as further enticement. You can also read about heart attacks, flying Tonka trucks, and evil minions.

Previous issues of this fine newsletter can be found here (Coleopterists Society website under “Resources”) and here (University of Nebraska State Museum website under “Scarab Beetle Research”). For those really interested in scarab newsletter history, archives of a previous incarnation – SCARABAEUS – can be found here and here at the same websites.

Photos: (above) me standing next to a termite mound near the Waterberg, Northern Province (photo by Chuck Bellamy); (left) Evides pubiventris (family Buprestidae, tribe Evidiini) suns itself on high terminal foliage of Lannea discolor (family Anacardiaceae), Waterberg, Northern Province.

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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9 Responses to “Dungers and Chafers – a Trip to South Africa”

  1. Texas Travelers says:

    Great post. Looks like a great trip. I am soooo jealous.

    Thanks for the link. I did not know about the society magazine. I downloaded the issue 34 and read part of the article before I saved it for later enjoyment. This is great. I’ll download them all for a long winter’s night enjoyment.

    Great photos and story. Congratulations on the story publication.

    Many years ago, Martha and I went with a Nature group to Costa Rica. One day while Martha was off with the “Ant” group, I went with the “Dung Beetle” group. We had a great time and found lots of poop, specimens, rollers, and diggers. Even though it was 25 years ago, I remember it vividly.

    Troy

  2. Leilani Lee says:

    Hi mr bug person. Would you mind going to this URL and looking at the beetle in the photo of my computer screen and tell me what it is?

    http://leiweedit.blogspot.com/search?q=widget

    You can leave a comment if you will…
    Leilani

  3. Ted C. MacRae says:

    Yea, Troy – that was quite a trip, one of the best I’ve had. I found SCARABS about a year ago and printed them all out (double-sided). I read them all during travel and am having them bound in volumes – it’s a really great newsletter.

    Leilani – that’s a leaf-footed bug (family Coreidae). Stinky but harmless.

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  6. Hi Ted

    I visit your site regularly, although this is my first post, and really appreciate your photographic work.

    I was hoping you could give me a specific pointer for macro photogography, and I apologise if this is not the correct forum for such a request, but here goes:

    I have an opportunity to photograph some Australian Rhinoceros Beetles in a few days time, however I have customarily had trouble with the black reflective chitin of the bettles.

    Can you offer any advice on techniques to reduce/remove the annoying flash flare reflection?

    I have tried using an off camera flash to limited effect.

    I will be using a Cannon MP-E 65mm with twin lite flash, and a 100mm macro with 580 ex (off camera) with diffuser.

    Thanks and kind regards

    Sam

    • Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your comment on my photography, but I dare not try to give you advice on dealing with glare when there are so many other much more capable photographers to ask. Alex Wild is the first that comes to mind, as he has some very nice articles on macro photographic techniques. Clay Bolt and Chris Wirth are two other very good macrophotographers that frequent this site. I think they’ll probably suggest a light box with flashes pointed to a very diffuse reflective material. I just wait for a bright overcast day🙂
      regards–ted

  7. Hi Ted

    Thank you for the excellent reference to Alex Wild at Myrmecos. He had a tutorial and description of exactly what I was after concerning on camera flash diffusion.

    Thanks again

    Sam

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