Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Tumbling flower beetle

with 7 comments

Tumbling Flower Beetle on Huisache Daisy 6606

Click for greater clarity.

In a picture posted a couple of weeks ago showing a few Texas yellow stars in a colony of bluebonnets, two small insects were barely discernible on one of the Texas yellow stars. Here’s a closer look at an insect of that kind, known as a tumbling flower beetle or pintail beetle (the picture explains the second name). Entomologists put these insects in the family Mordellidae.

As for the flower head, it’s a huisache daisy, Amblyolepis setigera, a species making its debut here. In the United States the huisache daisy grows only in Texas; it is also at home in parts of Mexico.

Date: April 7.  Place: Commons Ford Park in far southwest Austin.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 6, 2013 at 6:20 AM

7 Responses

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  1. Great capture.

    Lisa Vankula-Donovan

    May 6, 2013 at 6:25 AM

    • Thank you. Better a tumbling flower beetle than a tumbling photographer, which I’ve occasionally been.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2013 at 6:51 AM

  2. Your analogy’s appropriate. I read that the tumbling flower beetle doesn’t tumble just to escape predators but tumbles from flower to flower to gather pollen. You do the same, but you’re gathering photos. We’ll hope you never have to tumble to escape a predator!

    It’s a lovely daisy. Do I have it right that this would be a compound flower?


    May 6, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    • So far my occasional tumblings have been due to uneven ground and a heavy backpack that can throw me off balance. Let’s hope I don’t have to add predators to my concerns.

      Yes, daisies (and various other things) are compound flowers. In the center of this flower head you see many small disk flowers; surrounding them, the larger ray flowers radiate outward. People casually call the ray flowers petals, but each one is an individual flower.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2013 at 7:48 AM

  3. I really enjoy it when insects join in the fun here. I recently discovered a small native bee in one of my photos. Don’t know its name, just glad it stopped by!


    May 6, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    • I often find insects on flowers—that’s their world, after all—but I think it’s inconsiderate of them to have split into so many tens of thousands of species. The least they could do is wear name tags.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 6, 2013 at 12:53 PM

  4. […] The huisache daisy has appeared only once before in these pages, in a closeup with a tumbling flower beetle. […]

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