Photography

Myrmecos

Category archives for Photography

Up close with a drone fly

Eristalis, the drone fly Urbana, Illinois Easily mistaken for a bee, Eristalis is in fact a clever mimic capable of luring many an unsuspecting observer into the land of amusing taxonomy fail. But the structure of the antennae, the broad attachment of the abdomen to the thorax, and the presence of only a single pair…

Leptinotarsa decemlineata Urbana, Illinois Meet the Colorado Potato Beetle. If I had to make a list of ten insects all people should know, I’d probably put this one on it. Leptinotarsa decemlineata is a walking case study in evolutionary ecology. Anyone with a potato patch will recognize this large, pin-striped beetle as a particularly voracious…

Messor decipiens, South Africa Here’s a photo I took last week. It shows a granivorous ant with an enormous head housing muscles for milling the harvest. I used Canon’s MP-E 65mm 1-5x lens and a twin flash diffused through two sheets of mylar. The last time I photographed this species was in the field in…

An insider’s view of an ant colony

A worker cradles a freshly-laid egg in the brood nest of a laboratory colony of the Argentine Ant Linepithema humile. photo details: Canon EOS 7D camera Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec

A Dagger Fly, Victorious

A dagger fly (Diptera: Empididae), eating a fly it caught.Shawnee National Forest, Illinois Among the insects, one lineage in particular excels in the air: Diptera, the flies. These animals have evolved a gyroscopic control system that’s faster and more efficient than the standard insect sensory system, and as a consequence the flies are the most…

Glischrochilus sanguinolentus Bell Smith Springs, Illinois Just for you guys, here are some portraits of a colorful sap beetle in the family Nitidulidae I encountered in southern Illinois last weekend. It’s a charming little insect, especially the cute, clubby antennae. The challenge with shooting shiny insects such as Glischrochilus is lighting the insect without glare.…

Audubon’s Ted Williams explains that staged images have taken over the animal photography business and argues that these ubiquitous phonies give the public an inaccurate view of nature: Audubon has sent me to lots of wild places over the past 31 years, but I’d seen only one wolf and three cougars (a litter) until December…

The bold, playful style of Graphocephala coccinea, the candy-striped leafhopper, is all the rage this season: photo details: Canon EOS 7D camera Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec diffused twin flash

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…

Anochetus paripungens

Anochetus paripungens trap-jaw ant carrying a cocoon, Australia photo details: Canon EOS 50D camera Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec twin flash heads placed in front and behind the subject.