This velvety worm-like creature may not look like a beetle, but it is. Beetles are like butterflies, passing through a complex metamorphosis on the way to adulthood, and this insect is the larval stage of a soldier beetle.

photo details:
Canon EOS 50D camera
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec


  1. #1 Mike
    April 23, 2010

    Very nice! I am all for more larvae in the Friday beetle blogs.

  2. #2 Roberto Keller
    April 23, 2010

    Oh, you mean beetles have an onychophoran stage? Cool!

  3. #3 Morgan Jackson
    April 23, 2010

    I thought larval soldiers were outlawed by the UN…

  4. #4 jason
    April 23, 2010

    Ah… I love these guys. It’s always a sign of spring when they start crawling out of their hiding places.

  5. #5 Bob Carlson
    April 23, 2010

    Beetles are like butterflies…

    Er, are you trying to start a war between the beetle lover and the butterfly lovers? :)

  6. #6 Tim Eisele
    April 23, 2010

    I should find some brown velvet and make a toy version of this for my daughter. I think she’d love it. She certainly did like the live larva of a related species that she caught in her bedroom and raised to adulthood.

    There should be more plush insects on the market for young children.

  7. #7 Dave Stone
    April 25, 2010

    Very nice image, Alex. You can almost feel the body texture on this guy.

    Two questions –

    Do you have a recommendation regarding a beetle field guide with larval images comparable to the one you posted? If so, I think I’m going shopping.

    What are you using as your neutral color background for this image? It certainly shows this larva off to maximum advantage.

  8. #8 Bob Kallal
    April 25, 2010

    Roberto Keller – of course they do! Didn’t you know that endosymbiosis and hybridization of distant taxa is the answer to everything?

  9. #9 katie
    April 25, 2010

    Yay for larvae! I always feel like they’re terribly underrepresented, even amongst entomologists. Especially if you consider many species spend the majority of their life in that life stage…

  10. #10 Claire
    April 30, 2010

    I had a huge argument with someone who swore these larvae were eating the peppers in her garden because she found one in a chewed pepper. She absolutely would not believe me when I told her it was no doubt after another insect (and I’m an entomologist)!

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