This strange looking beetle is likely the Black Meloe (Meloe niger). They are active primarily in April and May. As you might guess from their short, stubby wings, the adults are flightless ground-dwellers. With their comically bloated abdomens, it would be amazing if they were able to get off the ground even if they had larger wings. If handled and squeezed, they employ a chemical defense that will blister your skin …so better to observe and not touch.

Photos by: Kristi DuBois on 4/4/21 on the Point of Rocks Trail near Alberton, MT