Oil beetle pose
This creature made a strange sight, clinging to a sprig of gorse on a cold spring morning in southern Spain. Close up, it reminded Juan of a beautiful alien. The black oil beetle is named after the toxic liquid it secretes if grabbed by a predator. As a larva, it lives in the burrow of a solitary bee, feeding on its pollen store and eggs, finally overwintering as a pupa and emerging as an adult in the spring. The female will lay her eggs in the vicinity of bee burrows, timed to hatch just after those of her host. Each louse-like beetle larva will then climb to the top of a flower and lie in wait to grab a lift on a bee and be carried back to its burrow, where it will grow, pupate and start the cycle again.
Canon EOS 40D + 100mm f2.8 lens; 1/4 sec at f8; ISO 100; Manfrotto 190 PRO tripod.
Sierra Blanca, Málaga, Spain
Juan Jesus Gonzalez Ahumada, Spain
Juan has been photographing wildlife for more than 20 years. He spent much of his childhood outdoors, keen to identify the creatures he discovered. He learnt about nature from his father and inherited a love of graphic arts from his mother. To preserve his experiences, he started painting what he saw. When later he got his first camera, his passion for wildlife photography began.