Inkblot Beetle

black beetle with orange pronotum and "m" pattern in black resting vertically on plant stem

A beetle, with a curious pattern on its pronotum that resembles an “M,” rests vertically on a plant stem.

This beetle is somewhat nondescript as far as beetles go: the orange and black are reminiscent of lightning bugs, but soldier beetles and others have the same type of coloration and I won’t be hazarding any guesses. The pattern on the pronotum, i.e. the shielded back of the thorax, resembles a Rorschach test inkblot. Not surprisingly I suppose, what I see most readily is my alphabetical avatar, the ‘M.’

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4 thoughts on “Inkblot Beetle

    1. Well, I know the major groups pretty well, and I can fairly reliably pick out many family level taxons. To get more specific, I rely a lot on http://bugguide.net/ which is very helpful for identifying North American arthropods.

      I do try to add a disclaimer when I’m not very sure, because I am only an amateur. I’m not actually very good with keys, I’ve discovered so I’ve been trying to be more conservative in my IDs (usually). Sometimes I like to tag with more specific names in the hopes that someone may confirm or correct my ID as well. I should probably just post to BugGuide.net, but my time online already seems to be going up when I want it to go down.

    1. Yes, this one has short hairs on the elytra; it looks patchy because the focus is uneven on the beetle’s backside, yet another example of the challenges of macro and depth of field. I was going more for the pronotum though, so I didn’t mind.

      Lots of new peculiar and interesting words in the entomological world, which is a nice bonus, I’d say.

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