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Black Oil Beetle

Black Oil Beetle
Photo Information
Copyright: Ivan Kruys (Argus) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-03-21
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF 300 f4L + Canon 1.4 converter
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-04-20 4:16
Viewed: 3207
Points: 44
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Black Oil Beetle, Meloe proscarabaeus

Swedish name: Svart majbagge.

There are about 2000 species in this group in the world. They are all parasites on solitary bees. Many exude an oily poisonous liquid when disturbed.

There are 4 species of Meloe in Sweden, one of which is considered extinct and this one is red-listed as vulnerable. This one can be distinguished from the more common Meloe violaceus by the shape of the thorax and by less of a bluish violet iridescence.

The adults appear on sunny days in the spring, the females having a large abdomen swollen with eggs. This one is a male, seen not only by his less swollen abdomen but by the chunky shape of his antennae. He was about 2 cm long. The females are larger and have narrower antennae.

The female lays her eggs one at a time in a separate hole that she digs in the ground. After emerging the small larva is active and seeks a flower where it waits for an insect to appear. It clings to a visiting solitary bee that then transports it to its nest in the ground. It starts by eating the bee’s eggs, and after a skin change it changes its diet to honey and pollen in the bee’s nest.
It is not known to parasitize honey bees

This was taken with the camera and long lens hand-held at a distance of about 1.8 meters in sunny weather before the spring became cold and wet as it is now.
After moderate cropping and size reduction the image was slightly sharpened using the unsharp mask mode and converted from RAW to JPEG.

This beetle was very active!
If I had a tripod handy, I might have tried for a better DOF and sharpness but this beetle was also rather too active.
This species has been posted a few times on TN before.

lousat, soccer, oldferret, goatman04, ramthakur, ellis49, Alex99, cobra112, buscape, jusninasirun, CeltickRanger, Miss_Piggy has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To samiran88: There is still hope..Argus 1 04-22 04:57
To lousat: You're right!Argus 2 04-20 04:35
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Ivan,a good pic but i seen better many times in your gallery,the details of this beetle are good only in the head and horn,the body isn't the best,it seems that your focus is better on the branch and not on the insect.Very good colors and metallic reflections.Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano.


Great close up of the subject. I like the POV, detail, sharpness and lighting you have in the image.

Hello Ivan
Wonderful macro.Great composition,wonderful colours and great sharpness on focus.Lovely metallic reflections.
Thank You
Have a nice weekend!

Hi Ivan,

A nice shot of this beetle, good colours and detail of the head against a good oof bg. Nice pov. Have seen these on numerous occasions but like you say they don't keep still.
Have a nice weekend
regards Bill

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-04-20 7:27]

Hello Ivan,
very nice close up shot of this insect and nice comp with nice colours.good POV particularly details well captured.Best regards Siggi

hello Ivan
very nice picture with good details of this beetle
the colours are very naturel
thanks greeting lou

Salam Ivan,

A very good capture with beautiful colors, details & POV.

As you said...the beetle was too active to achieve better sharpness & DOF.

TFS & best wishes



An impressive set of antennae, Ivan.
This Beetle has a comic look; seems to be intimidated by the abyss beyond the log it rests on. My own imagination, of course!
Overall, a beautiful capture in the bright sunshine.
Hope you and Ulla are keeping well.

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2012-04-20 8:25]

Very interesting beetle and fine notes about it, the shape of the antennae is stunning..you could have gone for 1/250 sec shutter speed which would have given you better aperture, I think. tfs.

Hej Ivan,
maybe it's not you best close-up picture, not easy to shot this type of pictures with a 300mm and a extender, I think you need a macro-lens.
Nevertheless it's a fine picture with decent sharpness and details. Also well exposed with nice natural colours.
I do like the compo too.
Well done. mf.
Ha en trevlig helg.
Vi åker ned till Öland den 7/5 och stannar till den 11/5.
Hoppas att vi kan träffas då.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2012-04-20 10:24]

Hi Ivan.
Great X-composition created by impressive insect and so nice piece of old tree. POV is really amazing as well as DOF. All insect is crisp sharp and surroundings are smoother extremely. Kind wishes and TFS.

Ciao Ivan, great macro of beautiful beetle, fantastic details, splendid sharpness and wonderful natural colors, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

Ciao Ivan. Amazing metallic colours. Bit tender shapr MF. Lovely compo.


Hello Ivan,
fine capture of this little beetle with good sharpness and nice details like the head of the beetle. I also like the natural colours and your well chosen POV.
Best wishes,

Hello Ivan.
I like the way you have captured this beetle looking like at the edge of a cliff. I have captured a few but failed due to harsh reflection on the back. This is well rendered details for an all black specimen which is not easy to achieve.
Thanks and have a wonderful weekend.

Hello Ivan

Excellent close-up of this insect with fine POV
and specially i love the way it is framed with
the background off-focus wood, excellent focus,
sharpness, and details of the subject, TFS


Artísticamente un excelente trabajo, pero quizás llevabas mucho "cristal" (lens)
en tu Canon 7D hehehe !
Un abrazo: J. Ignasi.

Hello Ivan,
Today is Earth day, I would like to congratulate your serious and continuous effort to documenting the NATURE of our planet, let us come to make our planet pollution free for our future generation.
this is a very nice picture in all respect.
Anna added " We, the generation of now must encourage our children to get involved in nature and we must show and teach them our love for nature."
with best wishes.

Hello Ivan
Interesting subject and beautiful photo with excellent composition and wonderful lighting.

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2012-04-22 22:00]

Hello Ivan,
this is something special for me, as a new specie and a special name which i could not think of.
Lovely details especially the antenna and the dark shiny armor he wore.


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2012-04-24 3:51]

Hello Ivan,
Very nice photo of this beetle with a good sharp focus on the head. Fine natural colours, DOF and diagonal composition.

Hallo Ivan
Now this is one beautiful beetle with striking metallic colours that is well seen amongst the overall black of the body. Wow, and the twirly, whirly antennas is really something to admire. This is a great macro and the beetle's colours are well seen in the beautiful sunlight. I like the point of view. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

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