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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Nodding Onion

I find these Nodding Onions on my walks in the mountains, often in the shade of pine trees. Mueller State park had tons of them in full bloom.

If you see them in the sunshine, they are a light pink or purple. A cheerful color actually. When shadowed their color seems almost mournful. They're so delicate and somber. This seemed like an appropriate entry for the Photo Friday "Somber" theme. Posted by Picasa

Back from the Camping!

We had a great mini-camping trip. The boys were well-behaved, ensuring that I'll take them out again. We didn't have nearly enough time for lots of pictures, but enough time to realize that the task wasn't as daunting as I first thought. We camped in Mueller State Park, near Florissant Fossil National Park, which is about 8400 ft (2560 m) above sea level. One of the nice things about the mountains, besides escaping the heat, is that wildflowers that are fading at lower elevations are just coming into full bloom up here.

This little purple flower is, I think, a sun-loving aster. As for the visitor, I think a fly mated with a tribble. They call it a bee fly, which is the family Bombyliidae of Diptera. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

See ya'll in a few days!

I'm taking my boys camping and we're staying overnight for one night. Wish me luck, it's my first camping trip as the solo parent! My husband is staying home, holding down the fort, feeding the pets, and enjoying creature comforts.

But please, don't fret. You'll find a few extra posts to get you through. There will be NO INSECT IMAGE SHORTAGE. Please don't hoard; there is no need.

Hopefully we'll come back with new bug tales.

These spherical droplets looked almost like constellations to me. Posted by Picasa

I've had more ladies flashing me lately. Posted by Picasa

I haven't managed to get a picture of palps like this before. Posted by Picasa

I believe this bush is a Buddleia davidii. They popped up all over my yard last year and wow, what a popular plant with the butterflies and bumblebees. I read that these native Chinese bushes are considered invasive in Connecticut. I guess they are here too, but they sure attract pleasant company. Posted by Picasa

This is a metallic green fly taking a rest on a rose leaf. These guys are generally non-stop motion and they eat aphids and they feed the spiders. Right in the thick of things, these guys. Posted by Picasa

This girl was just hanging out, letting me get very close. I'm not sure why.

Some other shots show her other eyes, but I liked the fact that I got a view of her mouthparts. Posted by Picasa

Another crane fly. So lanky, so alien.

I like all the textures in this picture. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Walking around the neighborhood open space and we found this sweat bee (Halictidae) on a thistle. I love the metallic green. Posted by Picasa


I've been reading my Shaw book Closeups in Nature and trying out various techniques he suggests.

The left photo is in full daylight with no modifications, the right uses a crumpled then flattened piece of aluminum foil to reflect the sunlight. No flash was used for either. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 25, 2005

Here's the same walking stick up-close. Again I wished I'd had more time to take zillions of photos, but alas... In any case, this marks my first wild walking stick encounter and photo. Woohooo!

And your trivia bit for the day: Walking Sticks are part of the group Phasmida, Latin for apparition or spector. Posted by Picasa

Not a great photo, but gives you an idea of the scale. This little walking stick was walking across a cobweb spider's web. It was in a bit of a hurry and everyone else was leaving me behind, so I only got a couple shots. Posted by Picasa

This little spider had a mask across its eyes and I was suddenly reminded of Pris from Blade Runner. But this spider looks male, so I then thought of Priscilla of the Desert. At least I keep myself amused. Posted by Picasa

Today was jumping spider day. I'm not sure why, but everywhere I turned I saw another cute little jumping spider. When I was going through my photos this one stood out because I could see myself in her eyes. Pretty neat. Posted by Picasa

Here's a cranefly hiding in the shade of a scrub oak. I love how alien they look. From what I read here, the larva feeds on decaying vegetable matter and the adults don't feed at all. Check out the halteresPosted by Picasa

Spider in a Hammock

Rowan spotted this crab spider in a rolled up fuzzy leaf. He's become an excellent spider and insect finder -- my number one partner studying arthropods.

I think this is my first green crab spider. Brown and yellow are the main crab spider colors that I've found so far.

If you want to see the bug-hunter in action, click here  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Through the Wing

This little moth got my attention, but at first I wasn't sure what it was. It had funny thick antennae, a tail shaped like a lobster's, and wings that almost looked like a bee or fly -- until I got up close and saw the wings were shaped like a butterfly's.

I think this is in the family Sesiidae, but I have yet to match a picture on the web; I've only found similar characteristics.

It amazed me just how clear a clearwing's wings were which is why I think this photo was my favorite aesthetically. If anyone is interested, I have a few more pictures that captured the whole anatomy. Unfortunately, they looked like mugshots to me. Since some in this family of moths are woodboring pests, maybe there's more to the mugshot that just an opinion.  Posted by Picasa

I think this is an American Painted Lady who didn't want to be photographed. Posted by Picasa

One of our more colorful crab spiders. You can see her better when she doesn't have a mouthful of bee. She makes her living mimicing the attractiveness of the flower, so I thought this would be a good PhotoFriday entry for "Attractive". Posted by Picasa

Agelenidae (Funnel weaver) hanging out in her retreat. I liked this photo because I managed to get a good shot of the boss on the chelicerae (the smooth brown lumps on the sides of the 'fangs') as well as the eyes in moderate focus. Posted by Picasa

The wolf spider had just caught a grass bug. I was able to stick my camera through the grass to get this shot without scaring it off. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 22, 2005

There were many wasps of this type on the mountain and seemed most interested in flowering plants. That ovipositor really got my attention. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 21, 2005

If there ever was a gregarious butterfly, this is it. They were everywhere and never seemed bothered by our presence except when our footsteps threatened to squash it. Posted by Picasa

I'm not sure, but I think I like the off-balance feel of this one. It's the same brown butterfly, this time face on. Posted by Picasa