A Fat-legged Beetle - Oedemera nobilis

25th June 2012
This time last year, I found some little Hylaeus bees on Dandelion and Hawkbit flowers. Nothing so far this year, but I did see this beetle on a Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). It's a female Oedemera nobilis variously known as the Fat-legged, Thick-legged or Swollen-thighed beetle. The swollen-looking hind legs only feature in the male though.

Both sexes have this vivid, metallic colouration and their elytra (wing cases) are tapered towards the tip so that they do not quite meet. They are common in the Southern UK during May-August and can often be seen visiting flowers to feed on pollen; as with this one.

I had my Canon MP-E 65mm Macro lens on the camera and this is capable of reproducing images from 1:1 up to 5:1. I experimented with images right through the range with this beetle. At the higher magnifications, the depth-of-field is particularly narrow and I usually opt to focus on the eyes and try to get an angle where other important elements (like the mouthparts in this image), are in the same plane.

The flower was picked and rested on a leaf on a stable surface to reduce movement, prior to photography. At the settings used, all illumination came from the flash.

Camera: Canon 1D MkIII + MP-E 65mm Macro lens + Canon MT-24EX Twinlite Flash.
Settings: 250th second, F13, ISO 100.

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