Painting #14 of the 52/52 Painting Challenge

One of the World’s Largest Beetles

Macrodontia cervicornis- watercolor on vellum ©MLighthipe 2012

This is the largest and best-known member of the genus Cerambycidae. It is a Macrodontia cervicornis, male long-horned beetle we found in the woods at Selva Verde Lodge on our trip to Costa Rica this past February. This species is the second longest beetle on the planet. It can grow in excess of 7 inches in length. This "little guy" that we found was only about 6 inches. A large portion of the length is comprised of its enormous mandibles or pinchers.  The latin name Macrodontia, means "large tooth", and cervicornis means "deer antler". This species can be found in the rain forests of Central and South America.  They like to borrow in mango trees and lay their larva in rotted wood.

I again used calf skin vellum for this painting. I bought 4 pieces from Pergamena to experiment with and the more I paint on it, the more I like it. The surface has a bit of an oily feel to it. Oil resists watercolor. I used a soft kneaded eraser to erase the surface of the vellum to remove the excess oil. This seemed to work well for me. I was able to paint on it with out any beading of the paint after I used the kneaded eraser. The vellum has a tendency to curl up so I am storing it in between some heavy books and will have to investigate the best way to frame the work to keep it flat.