watercolor and gouache painting on 300 lb. hot press watercolor paper
Image size: 4.2 x 14 inches
Paper size: 8.75 x 18 inches
This is a painting of a Stiff goldenrod (Oligoneuron rigidum/Solida rigida) leaf at 1.5 times actual size. Goldenrod leaf miner beetles (Microrhopala vittata) have been feeding on the stiff goldenrod in my front yard. In the spring, the female beetles (see one here) lay their eggs on the undersides of goldenrod leaves and cover the eggs with a coating of poo for protection. You can see a row of several poo-covered eggs near the curled-over tip of the leaf in my painting. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the leaf and begin feeding. The leaf I painted bears evidence of the feeding adults (the holes in the leaf) as well as the feeding of the larvae inside the tip of the leaf (where it has browned). I love that the native wildflowers I planted are supporting some native insects, and I think the results of the beetles’ feeding are interesting and lovely. I wanted to showcase the beetles’ feasting in this painting.