26 January 2014

Pit weevil, No. 1 Line

Desperate for some decent exercise and some mental respite from marking assignments, I left home early this morning and climbed the No. 1 Line track on a mild nor'westerly day. The seat at the top is relatively sheltered from nor'west winds, at least until they gather the strength for which they're notorious, and I sat there under the mostly overcast sky, scribbling in the moleskine, drinking Lapsang Souchong tea, occasionally scanning the distant clearings for deer (I saw none), and keeping half an eye out for insects. Halfway through writing a sentence, I glanced down and saw a beautiful pit weevil keeping me company, sitting on the seat right next to me.

Partway through a series of photographs, I saw the weevil's elytra (wing cases) open. I didn't hesitate; I pressed the shutter release, and when I took my eye from the viewfinder I saw the the weevil on its back, waving its legs, trying to fold its wings away. I wasn't impressed with its ability to fly — managing only a couple of centimetres and ending up upside down didn't seem like a great survival skill.

I don't know which species this is, but in 2010 an individual of Psepholax coronatus arrived on one of my windows. While the pattern of teeth on the elytra differs greatly, apparently the males and females of Psepholax differ, so this one might also be P. coronatus.

Fortunately, it quickly righted itself. I hope the rest of its day was more successful than its flight.

[26 January 2014, Olympus OM-D EM-1, 60 mm f2.8 Macro , ISO 320, 1/10 at f8]

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor

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