During a trip to the Ouachita National Forest area in Arkansas in late May, I decided to take a walk down a quiet back road bordering the Ouachita National Forest. It was a nice day for hiking and nature photography. As I meandered down the road, a beetle on a utility pole caught my eye. Its body was over an inch long and covered in intricate grooves and ridges, giving it a sculpted appearance.

Sculptured Pine Borer Beetle

Sculptured Pine Borer Beetle

I slowly moved closer to the pole, careful not to startle the beetle. Thankfully, it stayed put, allowing me to get up close with my camera. I was able to capture a crisp macro shot showing all the fine details of its hardened wing covers. After taking some photos, I did some research and identified it as a Sculptured Pine Borer Beetle.

Native to Arkansas, the Sculptured Pine Borer gets its name from the intricate sculpted pattern on its body. It uses its large mandibles to bore into and feed on pine trees, particularly older or damaged ones. Adults start to emerge in late spring and live for around a month, mating and laying eggs in pine trees during that time. The larvae hatch and create winding tunnels through the wood as they feed.

Spotting this impressive beetle up close and photographing it was an unexpected delight during my May walk. As a wildlife photographer, chance encounters like this remind me to always be observant when outdoors. You never know when you might come across an interesting species to photograph! I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for more unique insects and wildlife whenever I explore the forests of Arkansas.

Photography allows me to share the wonders I witness and remind us that we are but one part of nature’s web.

Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM


  • Location: Near The Ouachita National Forest (Arkansas)
  • Date and Time Taken: May 24, 2023 (1:51 P. M.)
  • Program Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f10
  • Shutter speed: 1/1250
  • ISO: 4000 (Auto)
  • Exp. Comp.: +0.3
  • Focal Length: 500 mm

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