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Friday, December 07, 2007

Congrats Dad!

On November 28, First Lady Laura Bush unveiled the annual Christmas decorations including the painting for the official White House Christmas card. And here's the painting with my Dad, the artist. (This is the press conference photo picture was sent to me by my step-mom, Priscilla.) It's so cool. :)

His painting will remain in the White House collection with paintings by Norman Rockwell and John Singer Sargent; that has to be a huge thrill for him. (My sister and dad came up to Denver a little while ago just to see the Sargent exhibit at the Denver Art Museum and invited us along.)

There have been a number of "local artist" stories in Albuquerque where he lives, here's some links and press releases: (Click on the Free Trial button)

Gallery and Artist Links:
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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Gather Round the Stinky Bush

A grey hairstreak. Love these guys.

Monarch. I don't see many around, but that is in comparison to other species.

Like the painted ladies. These gals were all over the place.

A funny little fly, no idea what kind it is.
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It was fun to see a butterfly with which I wasn't familiar. This is a buckeye, apparently very common, but I'm not as good with identifying the butterflies as I am the spiders. Anyhow, this bush was one of the last few flowering things in the area. I have no idea what the plant is but it completely REEKED. I thought it smelled like a distilled mixture of teenager socks and urine, but every nectar drinker for miles was visiting. Maybe they thought it reeked too, but it was the only game in town.
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Monday, November 05, 2007

Farmers' Conversations

The first photo is an ant milking an aphid for the sweet honeydew. Who needs picnics when you have your own herd of sugar-water cows?

The second photo is two ants talking with their antenna. The ants in this situation seem very on edge, even with each other.

This is the only kind of picture that ever puts me in danger of stings or bites. Ants with their aphids are more aggressive than anything else I photograph. At least the bites and stings aren't dangerous, just a bit painful. What I hate the most is that I'll be clicking away and look down to suddenly discover that I'm under seige by tens of ants.
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Friday, September 14, 2007

Is That a Stinger, or are You Just Happy to See Me?

He's just happy to see... well a female of his species. My first scorpion fly and I didn't realize it till I was reviewing the pictures on the computer. Gads, I must need my eyes checked. I can take solace in knowing I'd recognize it right away if I happened upon it again. Another MA pic.
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Auditioning for the Part of an Elven Shoe

Am I right, or what? It's definitely the perkiest rear end I've seen in a while.
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Young Green Model

Probably the most social of all insects, and definitely one of the most graceful.

You can probably tell from all the green, that this charming European Mantis was found while we were in Massechusetts.

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Stones on Scituate Beach

Caught my eye.
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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Having a Drink Creekside

This is a species of my favorite group of butterflies, the Blues. I believe it is a Melissa Blue, due to the orange on the underside of both sets of wings. Very fuzzy.
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Gene Simmons Impersonation

Here's another Bee Fly for all you aerial tribble fans out there. Science news' latest issue has an article about Batesian mimics. The as yet unanswered question is whether the cheating mimics make the world a more dangerous place for the toxic species they imitate.
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Saturday, September 08, 2007

More of the Golden Spider Queen

A few extra shots, one clearer on the cephalothorax and another that shows more clearly her shrunken abdomen. The last one you have to look closely, but you can see on of those giant grasshoppers wathching the spider and her prey. Seems like a case of morbid fascination.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Rural Argiope

Same spider, a couple days after a rain storm. Her abdomen was far smaller (perhaps my original comments had her on some sort of abs and glutes workout) but she was feasting on a yellow jacket in her newly remade web. There's slight decoration there, but not particularly noteworthy.
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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Now This is a Real Woman

Remember a post or so ago (ok, like twelve posts ago) in Argiope, I said "she" and "gal" when referring to a spider. I'm an idiot. Maybe it was all the talk about papilla that had me make the mistake. Now this, this looks like a real woman. I put in a number of abdomen shots for those of you who appreciate that sort of thing.

She was busy eating and the mini-thisles her web was anchored to made a head shot difficult. I tested a strand of her web after a large (two inch) grasshopper jumped and bounced off a few strands of her web. I pulled the strand with my fingernail and could "twang" it. Wow. Now that's a web. I think I'll go back today and see if I can get a few more shots. Note in the first shot you can see a strand of silk connecting her to the web by her spinnerettes.

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BIG Spider

I really need to start carrying measuring tape. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered as this fellow wasn't very interested in holding still, perhaps because it was daylight and Rowan, Jasmine and I looked frightening. I saw him clearly, from about eight feet away (he was that big), moving off the path of a nearby open space into the bordering scrub.

I'm guessing it's a wolf spider and the cephalothorax and abdomen together measured about an inch and a half. It never ran, but didn't want to hang out much to Rowan's disappointment. He was suitably impressed by its size though and the tale of seeing it was almost as good as being able to hold and/or take it home.

This is the first time I've seen one in the wild, and I didn't expect to see it at three in the afternoon. The Butterfly Pavilion has one or more on display if you want to see one up close but behind glass.
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Monday, September 03, 2007

Boston Jellyfilsh

This jellyfish lives at the Boston Aquarium. Seems nice for the aquatic set, but it was stunningly crowded for the humans. I lasted about thirty minutes before feeling nauseated from the press of bodies.
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Dragons Eggs

Our dragonfly pond is ideal in many ways, even for the younger set.
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Grisly Discovery

I found this while walking along the side of our house. I was surpised by just how large the eye sockets were. I don't know much about birds, but we have a significant population of house finches and sparrows around our house and I suspect there's a nest somewhere on the roof or rain gutter.
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Stink Bug in the Larder

I really like the color scheme of this bug.
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