While photographing peony pollinators this afternoon, I noticed a black speck the size of a pepper grain struggling next to a drop of water on one of the peony petals. The small speck was actually a rove beetle, one of the few beetles with short wings, giving it a somewhat appearance.
This beetle’s abdomen came into contact with the water droplet, which adhered immediately to the beetle. The water’s surface tension prevented the beetle from escaping. Further struggle resulted in the entire abdomen of the beetle moving into the water droplet.
When your respiratory system includes gas exchange openings along the thorax and abdomen you now have a complete disaster in the making. I photographed the beetle with its abdomen completely encased in the water droplet and then did the thing you are never supposed to do as a nature photographer – I interfered with a natural occurrence.
After spreading the drop with a piece of grass, I was able to scoop up the beetle and let it dry for a few minutes before it wandered back into the peony flower.
Sometimes we forget how the minutia we experience on a daily basis impact the lives of the supersmall.