Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Tumbling flower beetle on American basket-flower

with 33 comments

My first photo stop on May 1st was at the old Merrilltown Cemetery on Burnet Rd., at whose edges in past years I’d photographed plenty of American basket-flowers, Centaurea americana. Though it was still early in the season, a few basket-flowers had opened, and on one of them I found this tumbling flower beetle.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 22, 2017 at 5:00 AM

33 Responses

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  1. this is an amazing shot, steve –


    May 22, 2017 at 5:04 AM

    • I’ve photographed basket-flowers many times over the years and am always eager to find a different approach. The beetle provided one, and it also provided a challenge because it moved around fairly quickly on the flower head.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2017 at 5:15 AM

  2. Just last week, I was driving along and saw a single, tall plant by the curb that had been missed by the mower. “That looks like a basketflower,” I thought. “I need to go back and check.” Well, I didn’t, but now I will. When I went into my files just now to check my basketflower photos, I found many from June of last year. It’s time to start paying attention.

    Your treatment of the flower is beautiful, and the flower beetle is interesting. I’ve grown rather fond of those creatures. They can be amusing in their determination and gluttony.


    May 22, 2017 at 6:44 AM

    • Last Thursday night someone told me that plenty of basket-flowers have been doing their thing down at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. That made me want to check some places I know for them on the north side of Austin but the sky has been overcast all week and continues so this morning. I hope you have better luck in your area. Determination’s good for that; gluttony won’t help.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2017 at 8:44 AM

  3. Great photo, Steve, love that beetle perched on the flower petal!


    May 22, 2017 at 7:08 AM

  4. This is splendid!


    May 22, 2017 at 7:33 AM

  5. It’s a wonderful shot of the flower, and that beetle looks like he’s having a pretty good time

    Robert Parker Teel

    May 22, 2017 at 7:51 AM

  6. That is a stunning image! The beetle, for me, adds humor! For some reason it makes me smile…

  7. What an occasion for you to spot, Steve! In the right place at the right time, and with the camera at the ready!
    Have a wonderful week,


    May 22, 2017 at 10:46 AM

    • When I get close to flowers I often notice insects and spiders on them. Spiders are usually not too hard to photograph because they tend to stay put. With insects it’s touch and go: some move pretty often and pretty quickly, as this one did. I used a shutter speed of 1/640 of a second for this picture.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2017 at 11:09 AM

  8. fantastic photo, Steve


    May 22, 2017 at 11:25 AM

  9. Lovely! Looks like it has an ovipositor sticking out. Lurking in a flower, wonder if the species is an (unknowing) pollinator. Or maybe it preys on pollinators.

    Robert Cox

    May 22, 2017 at 12:45 PM

    • It’s normal for tumbling flower beetles to have an abdomen that tapers narrowly as it extend past the rest of the body in the rear, so I don’t think there’s an ovipositor in this picture. I do think these beetles can be unwitting pollinators.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 22, 2017 at 1:52 PM

  10. Love the sense of movement in this. That beetle does look about to take a tumble, too!

    Susan Scheid

    May 23, 2017 at 8:13 AM

  11. Fabulous! What a superb shot Steve .. the colours are delightful. Looks like the beetle is having a grand time 🙂


    May 25, 2017 at 2:24 PM

    • Sounds like you’re having as grand a time with this picture as the beetle was having with the flowers. I’m glad to hear it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 26, 2017 at 5:53 AM

  12. Wow….you are good in photography…i like the flower.

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