Iron-Cross Blister Beetle by Kimberly Chadwick

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Taken in Marana Az with a Canon Powershot SX10IS

Each spring in April, brightly colored beetles appear in the Sonoran Desert to seek and find proper hosts for their offspring. This is one insect people can’t miss because they appear in huge populations and have a brilliant red head and pronitum, contrasting with mottled yellow slytra marked be a strong black cross. The front looks ant-like and the rear beetle-like. Sometimes as these beetles are running over the hot landscape, they raise their wings and display their black abdomen marked with bright red stripes, making them seem like wasps.

These beetles have a product called cantharidin in their blood, a potential blistering agent, thus the common name. When disturbed their leg joints ooze blood that to a predator may taste bad or be painful. To a human, it may cause mild to severe blistering. Their bright colors advertise this defense.

Iron Cross Blister beetles emerge in April from digger bee nest, usually in loose soils. They feed on spring annuals starting about 11AM to 5PM. After mating, females see palo verde trees in bud stage, lay eggs at the base of the buds, and then die. The eggs and buds develop together, eggs hatching when the flower opens. Larvae wait in the flowers for the native bees to arrive, hitch a ride back to the nest, where they satay, feeding on the juvenile bee and its provisions. They pupate in the nest and wait for the next spring to emerge as adults

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My goal is to get my name out there among the vast ocean of Natural photographers. To be known for my skill with a Point & Shoot~

My images are not photo shopped. They have only been adjusted with basic sharpening, contrasting & saturation techniques. I believe that in order to appreciate Nature, you have to capture it as it is, naturally.

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  • SilkyPix
    SilkyPixover 4 years ago

    A gorgeous insect and fascinating narrative

  • Thank you “J”, They are pretty, but this is as close to them as I get. Hard to focus with one eye through the viewer and the other on the

    – Kimberly Chadwick

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeover 4 years ago

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47over 4 years ago

    What a spectacular shot of this extraordinary-looking insect! The abdomen looks like gold filigree, the head end set with rubies! Clever little blighters, too, though I don’t imagine the bees are enthralled by this behavior.

  • LOL< no I would imagine they are not. However the Tarantulas have is worse with the Tarantula wasps…eeek!

    – Kimberly Chadwick

  • WendyJC
    WendyJCover 4 years ago

    I’m always amazed by the critters i the garden!
    great find and capture Kimberly :)

  • I am pretty syked about the insects ( from a photographers pov ) this year and want to try to focus on the ones that are not noticed as much. Thank you Ma’am so much for your continued support!

    – Kimberly Chadwick

  • Trish Meyer
    Trish Meyerover 4 years ago

    A great capture of this amazingly colourful beetle and interesting information too!

  • I am glad that you think so Trish, thank you !

    – Kimberly Chadwick

  • Grandalf
    Grandalfover 4 years ago

    This is a terrifc image and so clear and crisp. Excellent

  • Thank you so very much Grandalf!

    – Kimberly Chadwick

  • Sunsetdaze
    Sunsetdazeover 4 years ago

    What a lovely creature and a really good sharp capture.

  • Thank you so much Sunsetdaze. I appreciate the time you took to peek into my world!

    – Kimberly Chadwick

  • Micci Shannon
    Micci Shannonover 4 years ago

    Wow! I’ve never seen anything like that! Great capture!

  • Thank you again Micci~☺

    – Kimberly Chadwick

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