"Ancient Roman" beetle

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Mike B in OKlahoma
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"Ancient Roman" beetle

Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

I went to Tunisia more for travel photography than for macro....In fact, I didn't even take a macro lens (though it took a lot of gumption not to slide my 50mm macro into my carry-on!). While I was exploring an ancient Roman fort out in the Sahara desert (surrounded by sand dunes, very very cool!), I saw this beetle scurrying about, and fortunately I had my least unsuitable ersatz macro lens (there's a word for Betty!) on my 40D at the time. I had time to grab a couple of hurried shots before he disappeared in a crevice, and this was the best one. I was moving pretty fast--If I had it to do over, I'd have stopped down a bit more and cranked up the ISO to compensate. I have no idea on the identification for this beetle.

Image

EOS 40D and 55-250 IS lens
250mm
1/125th second @ f/9
ISO 400
natural light
approximately .3x
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin

JoanYoung
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Post by JoanYoung »

What a lovely beetle Mike. From all your picture it looks like you had a wonderful time in Tunisia :)
Joan Young

Planapo
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Post by Planapo »

That's a nice one with spiky elytra, Mike.

And I reckognize that reddish Sahara sand that gets blown with the winds up here to Germany sometimes. (Really, no kiddin´!)
fortunately I had my least unsuitable ersatz macro lens (there's a word for Betty!)
Hey, do you really use "ersatz" in American English and will this be understood by most U. S. Americans? Cool, if so, I would try to use it instead of 'backup' from now on.

If I had known that earlier, I would have written recently: "Btw, you look great as ersatz Bedouin!" :wink: :D

Cheers,
Betty :)

Bruce Williams
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Post by Bruce Williams »

That's a handsome looking beetle Mike. It's elytra remind me of something but I can't put my finger on it (beech mast, gooseberry...not quite?).

When I was a kid in the 50's the term "ersatz" was in fairly common use for food like powdered eggs and jar coffee. I got the impression that the word (in it's English context) implied an "inferior substitute" because it was usually said in a dismissive tone of voice. I don't know if the word had the same negative connotation in the US?

Bruce :D

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Bruce Williams wrote:I got the impression that the word (in it's English context) implied an "inferior substitute" because it was usually said in a dismissive tone of voice. I don't know if the word had the same negative connotation in the US?
That's the way I've always understood it.

I tried doing a Google define: ersatz and got these (among others):
  • (German). Substitute.
    As a rule, the term implies that the Ersatz is inferior to the article for which it is a substitute. B. 24.
    www.mises.org/easier/E.asp
  • an artificial or inferior substitute or imitation
    artificial and inferior; "ersatz coffee"; "substitute coffee"
    wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
  • Ersatz is a German word literally meaning substitute or replacement. Although it is used as an adjective in English, Ersatz can function in German only as a noun on its own, or as a part in compound nouns such as Ersatzteile (spare parts) or Ersatzspieler (substitute player). ...
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ersatz
Betty, I think "ersatz" is not spoken or written by most people, but it's widely understood. I would not consider it as equivalent to "backup" since it carries also a connotation of "different" as well as "inferior". But then again I'm a computer geek and "backup" is part of our jargon. I like the "ersatz Bedouin" phrase. :)

Mike, you did well with the beetle. I don't know what it is either. From appearance and habit it reminds me of Tenebrionidae, the Darkling Beetles. But I have close to zero faith in that as an ID.

--Rik

Mike B in OKlahoma
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Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

Wow, I figured Betty would comment on "ersatz", but I didn't expect many other comments!

I believe "ersatz" came into UK/American volcabulary during world war 2. I actually thought that in German it meant "substitute" rather than "replacement". (for Betty's benefit, I'll mention that at least to me, substitute implies something used temporarily or hastily, while replacement implies a permanent change--For instance if a schoolteacher is sick for a day, a "substitute teacher" is called in, while if she quits and someone else takes her job over indefinitely, that person would be her replacement).

Back to ersatz, for English-speakers, I think it is usually used with the connotation of inferiority as in Rik's definition, though somewhere I've read that in German it actually doesn't mean "inferior", just substitute. (I get the impression Betty would agree with that). I think most educated English speakers would understand it, but I agree that it isn't in common use--I wouldn't have used it except that it popped into my head as I was posting the original beetle shot! :roll:
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

I have never heard of the word as far as I can remember. The beetle reminds me of the ones you see on the Discovery channel that travel really fast along the dunes leaving little footprints in the sand. An excellent photo Mike.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Entomology and Grammar all in the same thread. How diversified can you get. :-k Great bug there Mike. Looks like one of those scarabs people stick on rings. :D

Planapo
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Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

Post by Planapo »

Ken, I don´t think it´s a scarab beetle, as the Scarabaeidae usually have differently shaped and very characteristic antennae.

Bruce, Rik, Mike and Doug,
thanks guys for pointing out all the linguistic details allowing me to fine-tune my language skills. :D
I've read that in German it actually doesn't mean "inferior", just substitute. (I get the impression Betty would agree with that).
Hmm, considering the "Ersatzteile" it´s neutral, but then considering the "Ersatzkaffee" and the substitute players on the "Ersatzbank" (ersatz bench) there is a slight connotation of inferiority.

And in German "ersatz Bedouin" would be understood as a slightly cheeky insinuation, but in a very friendly way (and that´s how it was meant :wink: :D )

Oh well, yes, it stays tricky with the sprachgefühl! :lol:

--Betty

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