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Mycetophagidae, elytra - Mycetophagus punctatus

Mycetophagidae, elytra - Mycetophagus punctatus
100 Acre Wood, Winneshiek County, Iowa, USA
August 23, 2011
Size: 7- mm
Question: are the elytra translucent in live beetles or do they loose some color after death?

Images of this individual: tag all
Mycetophagidae, dorsal - Mycetophagus punctatus Mycetophagidae, lateral - Mycetophagus punctatus Mycetophagidae, head & thorax - Mycetophagus punctatus Mycetophagidae, elytra - Mycetophagus punctatus

the elytra appear to have been preserved just fine here
anyway, i would expect them to look exactly like that in a living specimen. various degrees of discoloration can be expected in mounted beetles exposed to excessive humidity: paler areas/parts get darker.
(not the case here, though. colors look perfectly natural.)

What I meant was - in looking at the beetles in the wild (alive) the elytra look dark color but when you shine light through them they are acutally translucent not dark.

the pale areas usually have this hyalinous, translucent quality
unless darkly pigmented or thick, the resting elytra usually let you see through in both live and dry-preserved specimens. this is true for smaller beetles (say, up to 6-8 mm):

in all of these examples the beetles are fully colored, yet you can see the folded hindwing and often its major veins through the pale integument
--as the size increases, however, the integument tends to get thicker and non-transparent even in barely pigmented ones
on the other hand, softer elytra may well be semitranslucent in rather large beetles, too:

...especially in those short-lived nocturnal flyers of arid habitats:

they are built like one-way, disposable kamikaze aircraft: cheap, thin, unpainted plywood --although i tried to use examples where well-pigmented darker areas prove that the specimen is not teneral

My oh my. I knew that elytra are often stunning but honestly, I had never before seen them open with the light shining through.

Two things come to mind:
How could I have never noticed! (OK, it took 1/2 a century to discover insects)
Can your post be incorporated into the beetles page?

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