<< Previous Next >>

Meloë on Pulsatilla.

Meloë on Pulsatilla.
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Stoeckl (peter_stoeckl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-15
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-H5
Exposure: f/4, 1/800 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Vienna Woods - Biosphaerenpark Wienerwald [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-03-21 4:56
Viewed: 4722
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 72
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Meloë on Pulsatilla.

Friday, the 21st of March, officially the first day of spring, has brought cold weather and wet snow to most of the places that we found covered with blossoms of spring just one week ago - like this one:

Eichkogel, a grassy hilltop south of Vienna, covered with Large Hungarian Pasque Flowers (Pulsatilla grandis), and one of those flowers just visited by a large, fat, shiningly black beetle, a female Meloë, that seemed to enjoy filling its stomach with petals and pollen.

> Close approach.

Meloë proscarabaeus (Linnaeus, 1758)

European oil beetle,
Großer Ölkäfer, Maiwurm,
Gewone oliekever,
Майка обыкновенная.

Ordo: Coleoptera
Family: Meloidae

Body length: 35mm.

Meloë proscarabaeus is found in dry meadows and other warm sites from all over Europe into Central Asia except the far north of the continent. The female's abdomen is swollen with eggs, and widely protruding from under the wingcovers.

As with many parasites, many thousands of eggs are produced. Meloë eggs will be laid in the soil. The parasitic larvae - called "Triungulus", climb into a flower, preferably buttercups, in order to wait for a visiting solitary bee. With their strong claws the larvae attach themselves to the bee and will be taken into its nest, where they feed on the bee's eggs, and on the pollen and nectar collected. Pupation will take place in the bee's nest, from where the beetle leaves in spring in order to seek a mate.

Apparently a fat prey for insect eating predators, the beetle produces a toxic, bad tasting, evil smelling oil that is set free in droplets from the joints of legs and from the sides of abdomen for self defense.

The species does not successfully breed in Apis mellifera bee hives but depends on solitary bees.

In Central Europe, the species is endangered with its habitat of uncultivated open meadows, and red listed.
The beetles may be found from April (or even March) to June.


Harde, Severa: Der Kosmos Käferführer, Die mitteleuropäischen Käfer, Stuttgart 2000,


SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 16mm tele macro (= 96mm at 35mm SLR), F/4, 1/800sec., ISO-125; hand held, no flash; 15.03.2008, 16:13.


Photoshop Elements, slightly cropped, downsized to web, resharpened, brightness, contrast and saturation adjusted.

With special thanks to my friend Dr. Jörg Hildebrandt, a passiante lover of nature, who seems to spend most of his spare time from the clinics out in the fields, robbing flat on the ground to study plants and insects.
He discovered and showed me that oil beetle visiting the blossom on that trip we made together.

More details on the flower: Pulsatilla grandis.

Thank you for visiting.

Have a very good day, and Happy Easter Holidays!

anel, goldyrs, mariki, cicindela, ellis49, uleko, ramthakur, eqshannon, Ena, lgfoto, Alex99, marcellr, Argus, angela926, flashpoint, SkyF, jmp, marhowie, meyerd, Juyona, magiqa, wuta has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To mavrik: Thank you, Ramin.peter_stoeckl 1 06-13 06:42
To anel: ... so niedlichpeter_stoeckl 1 03-21 07:57
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

I wonder when i'll reach this kind of perfection!Very well done on this very aesthetic presentation!
Thanks and a Happy Easter!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-03-21 5:03]
  • [+]

Lieber Peter,
Dass der Oelkäfer so niedlich aussehen kann, hätte ich nicht gedacht! Mir gefällt diese Bild so gut, dass ich es sicher zu meinen Favoriten zählen werde. Schönste feine Farben, super Komposition. (Ich hab gerade 5 Minuten, mein Sohn schaut sich Nachrichten an).
Nochmals fröhliche Ostern

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-03-21 5:19]

Hi Peter,a great spectacle! Wonderfull quality of pic,perfect sharpenss ,i like a lot the colours of flower and the impressive details of the insect,my best compliments for this nature's artwork,have a good Easter,Luciano

Hi Peter,
it is great to see the spring has arrived to Austria, here we are back to the winter again, lot of wet snow the last days.
Very fine close-up with lovely colours and the exposure and sharpness are spot on.
Well done.
Glad Påsk, Happy Eastern.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-03-21 5:20]

Hello Peter,
What a splendid capture of the Oil Beetle on a Pasque flower! I wonder what it's doing there? Excellent POV and very sharp details of this interesting beetle. I like the focus on the strange antennae! Beautiful flower too in lovely colours.
TFS and Happy Easter vacation! Ulla

Gutten Tag Peter!
This is amazing picture! I read a lot about behaviour of this species but never saw in the wild how "it works"! This is the first picture of Meloe on the plant I have seen! And moreover it is very good image, with sharp details, beautiful light and colours. Nothing to add! :>
All the best and Happy Easter Holiday!

What a fine capture of the Oil Beetle clambering over a pretty flower, Peter!
Amazing focus on the subject. The antennae of this insect look so interesting.
The image is a collage of charming colours.
Thanks and regards.

  • Great 
  • Art_R Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 20 N: 839] (3892)
  • [2008-03-21 6:15]

Hi Peter , this is a beautifully artistic photo great job. TFS

Happy Easter


  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-03-21 6:21]

Excellent capture of this Oil Beetle!
The flower it's on is very pretty and adds a splash of colour to the photo.
Great clarity and detail.
Superb composition.
The chewed part of the petal adds great interest.
Well done Peter,


Black, yellow and violet/blue.....a fine combination of colours for spring Peter. It is a worthy image, showing off your talents in a good way for sharing with others. I also wish you a good weekend in Europe....
Peace be with you..

Great sharp pic with great visibility of every single detail and nice colour harmony Peter.TFS
and Happy Easter also to you.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-03-21 10:16]

Hi Peter.
Once more brilliant shot from you. Simply amazing reflection of the cute insect and so amazing flower. Both are reproduction with firm style with plenty details, razor sharpness, stunning colours and skill POV. My best wishes and greetings. I am very glad to see your outstanding shots and get great pleasure from them.

amazingly sharp, TFS (again), Ori

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-03-21 11:31]

Hello Peter,
Wonderful photo in amazing sharpness. Great colours, POV, DOF and composition. Very beautiful natural colours, specially in the flower.
Fröliche Ostern,

Hello Peter,
An excellent photograph providing excellent light and colors.
Well done

  • Great 
  • rdfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 372 W: 0 N: 719] (3295)
  • [2008-03-21 13:52]

Bonjour Peter
Magnifique composition macro, excellente netteté et couleurs, très beau sujet, félicitations.
Amicalement Robi

Ciao Peter,
ancora una magnifica foto, piena di luce e colore, come nel tuo inconfondibile stile.
Mi piace molto l'ottima messa a fuoco sulle antenne, dalla caratteristica forma in questa specie.
Buona Pasqua,

Preciosa toma Peter. Destacan en primer lugar unos colores contrastados, elegantes y de gran belleza cromática. La profundidad es grande por lo que puede apreciarse en foco todo el insecto y gran parte de la flor. Buena luz y encuadre.
Bello conjunto.
Saludos: Josep Ignasi Tejedor

Hello Peter,
Missing your shot for a while now and is delighted to see you active once again!
a super macro in such closeness, just awesome!
perfection in every corner with sharpness, good colour and details
many thanks for sharing and friendship
greeting to you from NZ

Hello Peter,

Excellent composition. Very good POV and DOF. Excellent sharpness. Lighting and colours are wonderful.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-03-22 3:02]

What a marvellous capture of an Oil Beetle, Peter,
Apart from the fine sharpness and lighting, I very much like the composition on the Pasque flower and how well it contrasts with it. I also like the POV that shows the features of this remarkable beetle in an excellent way.
Thanks for sharing this fine image and have a nice Easter my friend.

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2008-03-22 11:10]

Guten Abend Peter,
tolles Licht und eine gut eingefangene Szene: Der Käfer schaut über den 'Tellerrand'. Der Fokus liegt exakt auf dem Käfer - aber der ist kein einfaches 'fotografisches' Objekt. Die Fühler sind scharf zu sehen, auch die Oberflächenstruktur von Thorax und Elytren. Trotzdem hat man bei diesen glänzend schwarzen Tierchen immer den Eindruck als hätte man sie nicht ganz scharf erwischt (ich habe da etliche Bilder von Geotrupes-Arten ... scharf, aber sie sehen nicht so aus).
Einen schönen Abend noch and ebenso solche Feiertage wünscht dir,
P.S. Ich bin derzeit 'überbeschäftigt' und sehne mich nach ruhigen Sommertagen in den Bergen.

Hello Peter,
WOW! excellent close up, superb sharpness and details, nice colors and very good composition.

  • Great 
  • Ena Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 324 W: 61 N: 594] (2454)
  • [2008-03-23 2:15]

Hi Peter,
Nice close-up,
Nice colors!

hello Peter,
nice capture of Meloe
great sharpness and pose
some days does also I posted the same insect
have a happy Easter

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2008-03-24 6:19]

Hallo Peter,
eine sehr schoene Markoaufnahme mit herrlichen Farben. Wirklich interessant wie weit bei euch der Fruehling schon eingekehrt ist, waerend hier noch der Schnee liegt.
Super Farben und 1A Schaerfe, und das Bild ist wunderbar gestalted.

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2008-03-24 14:23]

Hi Peter,
Great to see Pulsatilla's lower side and interesting to know about this weird insect with its stinking oil. A very good, eye-catching composition, with excellent colours and details.
TFS and best regards,
José M.

Hi Peter,
Both shots are great - Nice exposure with great details seen in the black of the beetle. Excellent notes and even a link on this beautiful flower!
Dr. Jorg sounds like my kind of guy - He knows how important a bugs eye view is ;}

Hi peter
ein sehr schönes neues Bild
gute Farben perfekte schärfe und auch die Kompo ist sehr gut
sehr schöänes Bild
grüße Toba

  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2008-04-07 23:35]

Lieber Peter,
ein Hammerbild! Einfach unglaublich, wie gut Du den Käfer in Szene gesetzt hast und wie Du die Tücken der schwarzen Farbe meisterst. Dazu die interessante Käferart mit der ungewöhnlichen Fortpflanzungsweise. Schon wieder erinnerst Du mich mit einem Bild an meine Jugendzeit: als Student arbeitete ich als Hobby über Cantharidin von Meloiden (Lytta).
Herzlich grüsst

beautiful colours and very good sharpness
interesting POV

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-04-09 13:31]

Hola amigo,
interesante pov,
color y suculentos detalles.
hermoso trabajo y workshop...
saludos Peter.

Wonderful photo with the beautiful flower and the insect, so many visible details. Professional!

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2008-05-17 11:19]

Hello Peter , What a beautiful close up compositie , beauty flower colours sharpnes details on the beetle , fantastic shot ,tfs Greetings Teunie .

  • Great 
  • mavrik (12)
  • [2008-06-11 0:18]
  • [+]

Dear Peter;

Amazing pictures, they are all great. The Composition, the contrast, the lighting, the amazing clarity in details, all makes your photos fantastic. If you like manipulating your photos by advance softwares then I would have tried to lessen the highlights of the sky in the background, not that its bad right now but its a little distracting.
I think I will show your photos to all these people who are always arguing about their DSLR brands (Canon & Nikon) of which one is better!!! And I always say its the photogrpher and not the camera, thank you for the great photos and proving my point.

Best regards,


Ciao Peter!
Thanks for your comments. I'm a principiant and I need them to learn how can i do better pics.
I see many of your shots and i like them very much!
This pic is fantastic!

Calibration Check