Photo Synthesis

Category archives for Insects

The King of Butterflies

A scanning electron microscope image of a monarch butterfly wing. Since a scanning electron microscope only collects a black and white image (representing intensity of electrons) the image must be colorized with photoshop. The colors are fairly close to the real colors of the wing. The wing is composed of scales or platelets that in…

Geek-eye View

As I prepare to hand off this photoblog to Cobalt123, I thought I would share my favorite non-rocket photos. Each clicks through to a story or geeky observation. Last Thoughts Magic Toes Fire & Ice A Beautiful Computation in the Wolfram sense Curiosity Diamond Age & Eyes and even some people Namaste.

From Bugs to Rockets

As the sun sets on a wonderful set of insect photos from the Wild… I thought I should start with a transition photo, on a photosynthetic bug bed, to a new photo theme – rockets: Many insects have served as brave cosmonauts – flying as a somewhat unwilling payload in Estes rockets. The National Association…

Why do only some ants sting?

Although these two ants in northern Argentina look like they’re ignoring each other, they are in fact doing just the opposite. This end-to-end confrontation is an intense chemical duel. What’s particularly interesting about the image is the juxtaposition of two different defense systems. At left is Forelius nigriventris, a speedy little insect armed with a…

Competing for space on a fake walnut

Two male Rhagoletis walnut flies joust on an artificial walnut in a lab cage at the University of Arizona. What’s an artificial walnut? It’s a painted ping pong ball. As long as the ball is the right color and shape, the flies apparently don’t mind. Biologist Jeremy Davis uses these flies to study the interaction…

The Ant-Mugging Flies of Kwazulu-Natal

A Crematogaster ant is held up by a kleptoparasitic Milichia patrizii ant-mugging fly. Last July, while wandering about the coastal forests of St. Lucia in eastern South Africa, I happened across an intriguing scene half-way up a spiny Acacia trunk. Some diminutive gray flies were pestering a trail of ants as they walked along the…

Orthodera ministralis

Orthodera ministralis – Garden Mantis (immature) Melbourne, Australia Technical details: Lens: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens Body: Canon EOS D60 dSLR Flash: Canon 550 EX, bounced off white paper above mantid Settings: ISO 100, f/19, 1/200 sec

How to attract an entomologist

Step 1. Locate a suitable patch of forest, field, or desert.

Agrarian Ants

Today, Roche announced funding for over a dozen genomes of organisms associated with the agricultural attine ants and the fungus they cultivate. In honor of the occasion, here’s a sampling of a few of the attine species and their gardens. Acromyrmex sp. nr. crassispinus, Argentina.

[This is a repost from the Myrmecos Blog, originally published February 2008] In 1934, a diminutive book by an unknown author seeded the largest conservation movement in history. The book, Roger Tory Peterson’s A Field Guide to the Birds, pioneered the modern field guide format with crisp illustrations of diagnostic characters, all in a pocket-sized…