The March 2015 issue of The Coleopterists Bulletin (vol. 69, no. 1) is out now (I got mine yesterday), and while I’m always happy to see the latest issue of this journal in my mailbox I am especially pleased with this one because it features my photograph of an adult female Crossidius coralinus fulgidus on flowers of gray rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa). I photographed this beetle in September 2011 near Vernal, Utah at the beginning of a trip with Jeff Huether to find and photograph endemic sand dune tiger beetles across the western U.S. We had just visited the dunes near Maybell, Colorado and were on our way to Idaho to visit the St. Anthony and Bruneau Sand Dune systems before dropping south to Coral Pink Sand Dunes in Utah and the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado. I was still a “Crossidius virgin” at that point—my first real Crossidius collecting trip would not come until two years later when Jeff and I visited the Great Basin and surrounding areas in a dedicated effort to find as many species/subspecies of Crossidius as possible (we succeeded in finding 12 of 14 targeted taxa). Having never seen C. coralinus before, you can imagine my excitement at seeing the spectacularly colored adults sitting atop flowers of their rabbitbrush host plants. I am especially fond of this photo, however, because it actually represents one of my earliest attempts to combine a natural blue sky background with a flash-illuminated subject—a technique I had learned from John Abbott just a few weeks earlier at the inagural BugShot Workshop in Gray Summit, Missouri (just 15 miles from my home). I didn’t quite get the shade of blue I was looking for in this particular shot, but it’s close enough and the subject depth-of-field couldn’t be better. I have worked a lot on this technique since then and now consider blue sky background as part of my signature style.
This is the third issue of The Coleopterists Bulletin to feature one of my photographs on the cover. The first was the June 2013 issue (vol. 67, no. 2), which featured a beautiful, metallic green weevil, Eurhinus cf. adonis (2nd photo) that I photographed on flowers of Chilean goldenrod (Solidago chilensis) in northern Argentina, and the very next issue (September 2013, vol. 67, no. 3) featured my photograph of Chrysobothris octocola on dead mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) in western Oklahoma (and a new state record).
If you’re not one already, consider becoming a member of The Coleopterists Society (I’ve been one for 33 years now!). Their flagship journal, The Coleopterists Bulletin, is your one-stop shop for all things beetley—a quarterly fix of pure elytral ecstacy! In addition to the latest issues of the journal, your membership also gives you online access to archives of past issues via JSTOR and BioOne.
© Ted C. MacRae