Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Bark beetle galleries

with 43 comments

In Great Hills Park on April 3rd a fallen tree trunk revealed bark beetle galleries.

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 14, 2022 at 4:20 AM

43 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I find these when splitting our firewood and the bark strips off. Sometimes I find the beetle grubs as well. I’ve photographed a few with the iPhone but haven’t shared them anywhere as of yet. If you start collecting these images you can have a bark beetle gallery gallery.

    Steve Gingold

    April 14, 2022 at 5:15 AM

  2. Therein lies a tale; maybe several tales written in beetle hieroglyphics.


    April 14, 2022 at 5:37 AM

  3. Real insect art !


    April 14, 2022 at 5:57 AM

  4. Ah! I have an upcoming post about this… bark beetles destroying the woods in ca. But I must say that you took much better photos of the galleries, now how am I going to publish mine ? 😉

    Alessandra Chaves

    April 14, 2022 at 8:09 AM

    • I see several possibilities. 1) Editing might improve the quality of the pictures you took. 2) You could take some new pictures. 3) You’re welcome to borrow mine.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2022 at 12:35 PM

  5. These are pretty neat! Like little maps too, but they really are artful.


    April 14, 2022 at 9:42 AM

    • I assume the insects are just doing what comes naturally and have no idea how artful they are.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2022 at 3:12 PM

  6. Artistic beetles! Looks like roads in a housing development.

    Lavinia Ross

    April 14, 2022 at 9:46 AM

  7. Great shots. The patterns in the second one are particularly interesting – I see all sorts of things in them. Poor tree though!


    April 14, 2022 at 11:35 AM

    • Like Marley, the tree was dead. It had fallen over, but I don’t know if the insects that created the galleries had anything to do with the tree’s demise.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2022 at 3:19 PM

  8. The Nazca lines in Peru, one is reminded of, perhaps…


    April 14, 2022 at 11:58 AM

    • Pace Erich von Däniken, in some parts of the country galleries like these are created by aliens (alien species of beetle, that is).

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2022 at 3:17 PM

  9. I’d linger in front of either of these in a gallery. They’re so evocative; I see angels hovering at the top of the first, and echoes of Matisse in the second. The texture is wonderful: very touchable.


    April 14, 2022 at 8:52 PM

    • Now that you mention it, I didn’t touch these bark beetle galleries. All my attention went toward composing photographs. That said, I’ve often enough touched other subjects I’ve photographed, so why I didn’t do it with this one remains a mystery.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2022 at 10:32 PM

  10. Could these be considered xyloglyphs?


    April 14, 2022 at 9:05 PM

  11. The tree may not be too pleased with this deadly beetle attack, but I look at the wood carvings as a piece of art.

    Peter Klopp

    April 14, 2022 at 10:43 PM

    • I don’t know whether the bark beetles had a part in killing this tree. If so, it was an artsy way for the the tree to go.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 14, 2022 at 10:45 PM

  12. Fascinating patterns; I’ve long been drawn to these too. No immediate faces to visualize, but my mind immediately conjures up a hand at the upper-left third of your first image.


    April 16, 2022 at 1:18 AM

    • I don’t see that hand, but I’ll hand it to you that you’ve got a good imagination. This log was an excellent specimen, with its beetle galleries relatively easy to photograph, especially because I had my ring flash on the camera and could stop down for good depth of field on a roughly cylindrical surface.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 16, 2022 at 7:15 AM

      • Sorry, the hand I see is in your second image, not your first. The thumb is very long and disarticulated from the wrist, but it’s there. It’s a fair guess that these patterns were the inspiration for the mazes that folks envisioned for their parks and gardens.


        April 17, 2022 at 2:57 AM

        • Ah, now I see the hand and its long, long thumb. That’s an interesting conjecture about wooden insect galleries like these having inspired botanical mazes. Human designers have often taken their inspiration from nature, as for example in the movement called Art Nouveau.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 17, 2022 at 7:02 AM

  13. I always find these fascinating. And I love what the shadows do for that bottom photo, giving it a very three-dimensional look.

    Todd Henson

    April 17, 2022 at 11:20 AM

    • I felt the same way about those delineating shadows, too. These were the most accessible and clearest bark beetle galleries I’ve come across. Photographing them wasn’t the chore it often is with this subject.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 17, 2022 at 1:21 PM

  14. I don’t like bark beetles but I must say, their carvings are pretty cool!


    April 20, 2022 at 11:54 AM

  15. […] feeding of these insects, is characteristic of each species. Good photos of beetle galleries can be seen o this post by fellow blogger Steve Schwartzman. I took the photo below in […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: