Those who follow me on Twitter know that I attended Entomology 2014 last month in Portland, Oregon. As with other scientific conferences, live tweeting of the talks and associated events was all the rage. I may not have been the most prolific “tweeter”, but I did do my share, and one of my tweets involved a rather spectacular preserved specimen of the jewel beetle, Chrysochroa corbetti. The quick iPhone snapshot attached to the tweet was sufficient to prove that the beetle is pure eye candy, but still it did not do full justice to its stunning beauty:
Fortunately, while I was at the meetings I ran into Thomas Shahan—already an icon among insect macrophotographers for his seemingly impossible portraits of jumping spiders, tiger beetles, and other insects. I had planned to spend a couple of days in Salem after the meetings to visit my friend and longtime buprestophile Rick Westcott. As it happens, Thomas is currently a Digital Imaging Specialist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture where Rick spent his entire career as an entomologist. When I showed my specimen to Thomas, he kindly agreed to make some focus-stacked images of the specimen using his lab’s photographic setup. I think you can now agree that this is one of the most spectacular jewel beetles around, and I think you’ll also agree that these images by Thomas are perhaps the most stunning of this oft-photographed species. Be sure to check out the last photo—a 10× close-up of the dorsal elytral detail at the interface between the green and blue areas. Simply stunning!
© Ted C. MacRae 2014