Nature

Myrmecos

Category archives for Nature

Planning the perfect shot

Aphaenogaster woodland ants disperse a bloodroot seed. This image materialized in my head a couple months before I actually set it up. My photographs fall into two categories: incidental shots I happen upon by chance, and premeditated images mapped out in advance. There’s not much to say about the first type. I wander about in…

Monday Night Mystery

This looks like it could be painful. What is it? Five points to the first person to name the organism, and five for the structure. The cumulative points winner for the month of May will win either 1) any 8×10 print from my insect photo gallery, or 2) a guest blog post on the (safe-for-work)…

Some Turtle Ant Mimics

Biologist Henry Hespenheide sends along this shot of several ant-mimicking beetles and their Cephalotes model: What I take from this image is just how important the appearance of a narrow waist must be to successfully pulling off the illusion. These mimics differ considerably in body proportions, but they have all managed to paint a fake…

A tornado hits close to home

Natural disasters are things we see in the news. A flood in Bangladesh, earthquakes in China, wildfires in California- all reported in somber tones before the commercial break, often presented with some generic disaster clip of people sorting through rubble. These events have a defining feature: they happen to other people. Not to us, or…

Anthrenus sp. carpet beetle Urbana, Illinois Little Anthrenus beetles are one of the most common insects across the northern hemisphere. Adults can be found in flowers feasting on pollen, and the detritivorous larvae are often inhabitants of homes and buildings. If you’d like to see one of these yourself, check your window sills- there’s a…

They looked like little flowers, or miniature suction cups, but yesterday’s mystery was neither. Here’s a more recent view: Arilus cristatus, a newly hatched wheel bug nymph with eggs Ted MacRae of Beetles in the Bush picks up 6 points for guessing that they were Reduviid eggs, and MarekB gets 4 for nabbing the genus…

Sunday Night Movie: Swimming Ants

From “Life in the Undergrowth“, perhaps the finest insect documentary ever made, a scene featuring Australia’s intertidal ants: A few years back I traveled through northern Queensland with myrmecologists Phil Ward and Gary Alpert. Having heard about the aquatic abilities of these ants, we searched for them in a mangrove forest just outside the Cairns…

This velvety worm-like creature may not look like a beetle, but it is. Beetles are like butterflies, passing through a complex metamorphosis on the way to adulthood, and this insect is the larval stage of a soldier beetle. photo details: Canon EOS 50D camera Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec

Spring!

Forget the heavy pro-grade camera gear for a moment. This shot was taken with a $300 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 digicam. These small cameras do wide-angle macro exceptionally well, and their tiny sensors and lenses give them a small-world perspective that SLR cameras struggle to replicate. Here, I placed the camera on the ground underneath a…

Polistes dominula, the European Paper Wasp captured with an iPhone As an insect guy, the first question I ask about any camera is: Can I shoot bugs with it? To my great disappointment, the answer for most cell phones is no. Cell phone cameras are normally fixed to focus at distances useful for party pictures…