Ostoma pippingskoeldi, Sierra Nevada, California

If you peel back the bark of an old stump in the forests of western North America, there’s a good chance you’ll find some of these attractive tank-like insects. This is Ostoma pippingskoeldi, a predatory beetle in the family Trogossitidae. They lurk about under bark searching for soft-bodied prey, including the larvae of other beetles.

All legs and antennae tucked safely away.

Photo details (top): Canon mp-e 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS D60

ISO 100, f13, 1/200 sec, diffused flash

(bottom): Nikon coolpix 995, ambient light


  1. #1 Marvin
    February 27, 2010

    Tank-like is an accurate description. With all the timber downed in a 2008 ice storm, we ought to have a good crop of these beetles and their prey.

  2. #2 Joy
    March 18, 2010

    I love how they even tuck their antennae tidily out of the way.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.