Big Bertha's Adventures

Two friends and a beetle

I was leading the way along a hiking trail at Cedar Hill State Park when I stopped in my tracks.

“LOOK!  We have to stop.”

I dropped all my things and carefully approached the beetle.

I knew the next few minutes would be a production. Beetles, spiders and other curiosities are captivating subjects for photography.

I sat on the ground and fully embraced the chance that I’d get eaten by chiggers and who knows what else.  It really doesn’t matter—I am documenting a moment in time.  I’ve been eaten by chiggers recently and I seem to be ok.  I must have photos of this beetle.

My friends, Tore and Joe, didn’t seem to mind.  They waited very patiently as I excitedly took photos.

Big Bertha's Adventures

Big Bertha's Adventures

Big Bertha's Adventures

Satisfied with my photos I looked at the miniature people I ‘just happened’ to have with me on this hike.

Joe helped select a figure and placed it carefully beside the beetle.

Big Bertha's Adventures

Can you believe the beetle didn’t move an inch during this time?

I looked at the spectacle of a beetle with a miniature person.  I tried to resist—but it was inevitable.  I had to lie completely flat on my stomach to get the right angle.  I hoped the beetle wouldn’t come charging at me.  Plus holding the camera steady was a challenge.

Big Bertha's Adventures

But OH how I love the photo and what a wonderful memory shared with two amazing friends.  Thank you, Tore Bellis and Joe Maleski!

During this time, Tore managed to stay occupied…

Big Bertha's Adventures


For those curious – the beetle is called an Ironclad Beetle – and for good reason!  It has one of the hardest exoskeletons among arthropods.  There’s no use in trying to squash it with your shoe.  In fact, you have to drill a hole through the exoskeleton just to get a pin through it.  I mentioned I was shocked that the beetle was very accommodating – it didn’t move an inch during our photo shoot.  It turns out these beetles play dead when they are disturbed.  I also read they are made in to ‘living jewelry’ in Mexico.  If I had known all this information, I probably would have set up camp next to this beetle.  An entire village of miniature people would have moved in to the scene and my friends would have had to drag me away.  Well, there’s always next time!

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