Sunday, November 13, 2011
Oops. Just over four minutes after taking a picture of an oil beetle at my usual spot above the river, I accidently stepped on it. At the time I thought that the exuded bright-yellow mass was liquid, but an examination of the photo revealed it to be eggs. Also visible in the image is the cantharidin-containing ochre (generally described as 'yellow') fluid exuding from the joints (detail above). Samuel Maunder's 1848 description of Meloe is here and a more modern treatment, here. I noticed my first oil beetle in the local, private cemetery three years ago. A large grassy section of this cemetery sports an extensive covering of ground-bee dwellings and the beetles have taken full advantage, being this fall every bit as bountiful as were the bees in the spring.