10 line June Beetles larva eat roots of all sort of good plants so they are a shoot on sight critter. I tend to shoot them with cameras but they don’t necessarily get a catch and release program assignment. Only because they are a marvelous bug from a looks perspective did he survive this long. An inch and a half in length, maybe a 1/4 inch high. I have other captures of this hissy fit fellow.
The species puts on quite a show when you get a little too close or try to handle it. On a general basis I categorically consider them a grump. It’s not much happy here about my big “eye” lens in it’s face. Those 4 hooks on it’s front appendages are to be respected according to him. Waving them like they were big sticks, the still had other legs on the rock. He was standing up telling me in no uncertain terms to “leave him alone”.
This image doesn’t show it but those yellow antenna are made up of layers of antennas. I have another image showing it. This composition was his idea not mine. Bugs are like photographing young children. They do what they want but you can USUALLY get their attention. This one didn’t fly away and pretty much stood his ground if he could. I would look pretty big incoming with a big macro lens plus he would see himself in the lens mirror ….. aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!..
This fellow makes up in numbers what they lack in individuality. They all to a one are ravenous. I have seen more “grasshoppers” this year than any other in the last 2 decades. I’m thinking back that I’ve never seen them as thick as they are this year. Having said that, I’ve seen photos of some of the clouds of Locusts eating an 80 acre farm in 15 minutes and some of these swarms are the size of big cities. Asia, India, Saudi, Africa are all having MAJOR issues at the moment. Major famines in those regions may be expected. I’ve heard the US is expecting a major corn crop… We might feed a majority of the planet if we do. Conditions are tough out there world wide.
I still have a yard, and even some green grass. Mostly all the local ranchers are done haying this year with the dryness. It’s not worth the fuel to swath and bale up the sparse grass. I’m not versed on grasshopper biology other than the fundamentals. Isn’t it funny how all of us paid attention to how but not why during those complex high school biology lectures. My undergraduate is a double major “Geobiology”. I could tell you something about fossilization of grasshoppers but not so much their life cycle.
I could google it but then I’d deny you from the same pleasure. Plus you’d get way more info than my distilled version. Google makes us all seem like our IQ’s are 20 points higher than they are. Still knowing how to search then what to do with the information you gather is the game. ….
Strawberry flower just lost it’s petals (fertilized), Mantis Egg Sac lower right and a precocious hatchling first to appear…. I’m thinking he is just under a quarter inch long.
There should be a few more of these Praying Mantis Eggs about. IF I see any more hatchlings I’ll photograph them of course. I have to get about 1 inch away to get this kind of capture. Patient predators if you ask me 🙂 This was taken down in my aquaponic Greenhouse where it never gets below 65 degrees all winter. Taken about a week before this posts.
Mantis are part of a huge order of some 2400 species under that umbrella worldwide. This is a native Wyoming/Montana species. I believe this is the 6th generation of hatches I’ve had down in that artificial environment here mid winter. Thrilled he was to see my lens coming at him lolol.
Patient predators if you ask me 🙂 They are constantly moving back and forth to imitate plants swaying in the breeze. They usually don’t stick around in any one place very long on their rounds. I don’t see many of these out in our gardens but as here in a Green House , this is their 6th generation now of Mantis babies under that roof. About every 8 months or so I have a hatch take off down there. I bought some egg 4 years ago + and they are still going supporting themselves in that 40 x15 by 20 foot tall under grade “Wyoming Walipi”. That means it’s an underground green house and is all aquaponic using no soil, just water (except for some orchids where I have some Hydroton™ nuggets involved.)
I was driving along a two track trail with the bright lights of my Polaris Ranger Crew UTV. Big Bright LED lightbars are a fixture on all the vehicles I routinely take into the backcountry for photography. Not only do they help you see what you don’t want to run into, they show you what you do want to find lol.
So, after a long sunset photographic work session, I spied this Prickly Pear Cactus Boom down on the prairie as I was passing. There was still some residual color in the western sky and I was determined to get it. This flower just happened to have a green beetle within enjoying the relative safety of this environment. Can’t blame him really. Scented room with a view until I came along with my smelly noisy UTV I suppose. At any rate, I’m sure it all calmed down there as I pulled away.
Prickly pears belong to the Genus Opuntia which contains over 150 species across the globe. The deer in this country grow fat on cactus “figs” grown on the low paddle shaped cactus. These cactus have been used in Mexican cooking for hundreds of years. Take off the spines, and they cook like vegetables. I’ve eaten fresh prickly pear and I compare it to a cross between water melon and bubble gum.
OK, a little out of season but some summer color seemed like a good idea. A little up close and personal..
What a beautiful bug. The legs are startling in the color gradients they present. In nature, bright colors usually means “Stay Away”. Well these guys do not bite or sting posing no real danger to humans and our familiars. They are however considered harmful bugs to be eradicated as they are a major agricultural pest. They cause millions in damage to a large variety crops. Also called Shield Bugs or Chust Bugs.
You may remember a Macro close up I did of a Tachnid Fly a month ago. A big gold Hairy Fly…. Those Hero’s of the Flies lay eggs in the Green Stink Bug and will paralyze the pest devouring it from the inside out. So we have both sides of that parasite / host equation right out in our back yard. We have apple trees here but we have not had excessive Green Stink Bug problems. Natural predation is obviously working up here at the moment.
These guys are found throughout North America unfortunately. Large Stink Glands grace both Nymph and adults of the species. Able to discharge LARGE amounts of a foul smelling liquid when they feel threatened. This fluid used to be used on an industrial scale to add odor to some acids thusly reinforcing their own odor. Long since that process has been modernized utilizing modern artificial aromatic compounds.
Location: Backyard, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands *Wyotana) That’s a piece of Fossiliferous limestone he’s walking on.
Pursuing Ladybugs with a quality macro lens has it’s rewards. This 18 inch square image with a smooth green bokeh is a favorite summer pursuit. They are usually fast movers, difficult to catch sitting still enough to compose a frame. This one was an exception. It was sipping on the drops of “nectar” from the flowers petal.
The Ladybug didn’t eat the daisy. There were many grasshoppers around, obviously someone seconds before munched the petals. I wouldn’t want to accuse the grasshoppers without any proof ……(apparently outdated morality these days but I digress😟) Anyway, ladybug saw an opportunity to rehydrate and get some sugar. Nature is all about one creature making it either easy or hard on another. This little one is making good from damage. It will go on and eat aphids, scale insects and mites.
Red in nature is usually a warning. It’s a big flag that says they might not be a good choice to eat. Ladybugs blood (yellow) has a foul odor I understand from reading but I’ve never noticed it. I have ordered thousands of Ladybugs for my aquaponic greenhouse. Handled them by the hand full before but never crushed one let alone tasted lol.
I think they are little turtles having photographed them up close and personal for a while. When threatened they “turtle up” and release a little yellow blood from their legs (stinky as discussed above). The red / stinky strategy apparently works as they are abundant up here in the borderlands.
I caught this top level insect predator hunting on a sunflower out in my garden about three months ago now. I JUST got to finishing the capture. I’m sorry to say the cold got this one I’m pretty sure. It was a good summer for insects. There should be lots of Mantis Egg sacs about. IF I see any I’ll photograph them of course. I have to get about 3 inches away to get this kind of capture. Patient predators if you ask me 🙂
I was on my knees praying for this shot. However I was for good focus as well as a slower subjec lol.
Mantis are part of a huge order of some 2400 species under that umbrella worldwide. This is a native Wyoming/Montana species. Though almost all the flowers it hunting have all been imported from elsewhere. Thrilled he was to see my lens coming at him lolol. I have to get about 3 inches away to get this kind of capture. Patient predator if you ask me 🙂 The are constantly moving back and forth a lot to imitate plants swaying in the breeze. They usually don’t stick around in any one place very long on their rounds.
I don’t see many of these out in our gardens but my Aquaponic Green House in on it’s 5th generation now of Mantis babies. About every 8 months or so I have a hatch take off down there. I bought some egg 4 years ago + and they are still going supporting themselves in that 40 x15 by 20 foot “Wyoming Walipi”. That means it’s an underground green house and is all aquaponic using all water (except for some orchids where I have some hydroton nuggets involved. .
A Praying Mantis at the Altar was captured from this last summer…
The purple Russian Sage was growing in and around a barberry bush and in the middle of it was this big green Mantis slowly crawling about. Crypsis is a side to side rocking motion they use to “resemble” vegetation blowing in the wind. They rock/sway a lot of the time. Really small ear buds I’m thinking 😜
They are really green when freshly molted turning brown with an old skin being ready to shed. I’ve had Mantis live 6 months down in my Wyoming Wlipini greenhouse breeding all year long. I have at least 4 years of successful Mantis Breeding on going down there. This is a wild Mantis though.
It may seem like yesterday but it’s been 63 posts since my last mantis photo lolol… Putting 6 posts a day out there adds up fast.
This is the third image I finished from this photo session with a Gold Tachnid Fly. Tachnid Flies as a group are wonderful things to have in your garden. They kill major insect pests that destroy our crops. Kind of a big fly, really bristly and quite a vivid appearance highlights this Tachnid Fly Gardeners Friend #3.. This capture is by far the best of 3 in the series technically. Also artistically really from this time line of finished images. The Asters were post frost pollen providers here.
In an unusual manner, SOME species of Tachnids actually have their eggs develop in their bodies. Thus giving birth to live larva which they deposit readily in caterpillars and other crop eating insects. As a group they do a tremendous service to us in general. The adulst are around your garden to drink nectar through that have their ulterior motive for visiting your garden. They inject their larva (or just eggs under the skin so the larvae will slowly digest the host bug. Killing the host as it develops. (more on this later).
Sounds like an early Japanese Horror Film. Some species of Tachnids lay a live larva on a leaf and it will crawl around looking for a host to burrow into. Then it will eat and digest it slowly from the inside out. The larvae (of course) start on the least important parts of their host to keep it alive longer. Kind of like Cow birds and Cuckoos laying their eggs in another nest.
But these guys have the added feature of killing the host. Classy Lifestyle if I may say so. . Parasitic reproduction for sure but these are not animal carrion flies that carry disease about. As I’ve said, they are our friend. Good thing they only pick on other bugs that tend to eat our crops. The eat nectar, pollens and saps as an adult. This one is munching on pollen from the surviving asters after the first heavy frost. Not much else to eat out there.
The lens I used for this is a little odd being about 2 feet long. It is only an inch in diameter. It has LED lights at the end around the lens. They tend to be a bit yellow in general but yellow plus gold is vivid. . Being “Ultra macro” with a very deep focal field is rare. Getting the fly and mostly the flower in focus is an amazing performance . Even more so considering the “plus” size that these Flies are. He’s at least 1/2 inch long if not a tad larger. Getting this close to a fly feeding with a bright light….. Esier than without the bright light 🤔📸 or so I’ve noticed.
Photographing a Lady Bug Beard is not that straight forward as you might think…. They always try to hide from your lens and are usually constantly moving anyway.
Getting a LadyBug to cooperate for the camera is one tough negotiation. Like dealing with a millennial that is triggered and melting to calm down…. Stick a big lens in my face will you kind of stuff 😜 Some Ladies just don’t want their photograph taken for any reason. Getting that little beard has been a bucket list item of mine lolol ✔️☑️
Mostly, Lady Beetles are in constant motion hunting surfaces for small parasites. Travelling easily on both side of the leaf with little regard to the camera lens following them. This leads to some frustrating moments for sure. You JUST get it in focus the way you want her and zip off she goes around the leaf.I have to invoke “Photo-Yoga” to keep up with them as usually shifting one’s feet will cause too many things to move in the flower patch.
So you learn to lean with a 5 pound camera for long minutes at a time. I love photo-yoga… It’s sort of how I stay “in shape” these days . That and a lot of walking backcountry ridges with 20 pounds of gear lol. I put at least a mile in each day walking around here. Usually carrying something lol.
Anything you do enough of, you will eventually succeed I find. You’ll at least get better while failing eventually😜At any rate, the way to succeed in photography is to mostly keep a camera with you and figure out how it works. Then there is the computer side of this lololol
Ladybug, ladybug! Fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children all gone. All except one, and that’s little Ann, for she has crept under the frying pan. (tickle child under arm)
Memories of Bugs Now Frozen
Heard that rhyme as a child more than a few times and repeated it to my boy a time or two. It instantly came to my mind when I saw this little one hunting on top of this huge (relatively) Yellow Yarrow head. I have several dozen good bug photos still to finish going into winter. None still outside after all the freezes we’ve had this fall already. It’s going to be…. errrr. is an early winter this year. As I type this it is a sub-zero Windchill outside. Twitter thinks the north pole is over Wyoming/Montana.
These guys are little tanks moving about and are happy as a clam if they have their head buried in a crack with their butt exposed to the world for all to see. The armor must work though. Boy they eat aphids like they are a delicacy. This is a wild one but I bring in thousands for my aquaponic green house to control unwanted pests. I understand that some plants produce food/odors that attract Lady Bugs as they do eat nectar and pollens when their normal prey of noxious bugs aren’t about and available.
I have been known to buy thousands of lady bug for my Aquaponic Walipini Greenhouse that has been up and running now for 5 years in December. Same tomato plant and same fish after 5 years lolol. Handfulls at a time arrive to control insect pests down in that underground greenhouse. This Lady bug is a wild one though.
This is an Adult Coccinella septempunctata Linnaeus, the sevenspotted lady beetle
Up Close and Personal: A Tachnid Fly is indeed a Gardeners friend. Hairy, spiny and without a peer, eyelash winner of the insect world. Guiness should be called (or sipped from a glass) in honor of this parasitic fly that lays eggs in other garden pests. They truly help farmers/gardeners and are a huge family of flies virtually every one of which is hairy as heck lolol. They are munching pollen here and the “Last Man Standing” as I was walking through the woods after several HARD (around 20 degrees) over night freezes “hoping” to find a macro lens subject to cooperate. In this inch across image area, there is a LOT going on. I find the macro lens a lens of discovery as much as just technical photography. The LED illuminated ring around lens I used for this is about one inch from the Fly. Patience and very slow determined “Photo-Yoga” movements are necessary to get this kind of capture. Sort of a slow dance for me now . This is great stuff up close… 📸
There were several of these guys feeding on a group of naturalized asters back in the windbreak woods behind our place. Everybody else (bugs) were absent/in hiding or killed by the freezes. Snowflakes will be my next target with this lens.
Asters of course are tough tough plants but they were on their last legs here too. Fall insect life and green leaves here in the WyoTana borderlands are winding down.
Into winter we slide with punctuated winter storm events being the rule until it gets really cold lolol (laughing maniacially). Maybe a little “Indian Summer” left in the early winter on the high plains.
I got to shoot “Close and Personal” this fully mature Cat Faced Spider. (the best cat face is from behind but you can clearly see one from the front too. The ears and markings on his abdomen are mimics of a good cats face.
In this Ultra Close up, I’m using a 2x macro and I’m about an inch from his eyes to get this close a shot. He was cold at the time and a little slow. Well fed he looks and webs he’s been building all summer.
You either love or hate these guys. Enjoy eitherway. He’s not moving fast today as it’s still below freezing outside for as it has been since the storm started (a week before this posts).
This is another image from that Mantis that I saved from a for sure drowning. I randomly walked past a stock water tank and saw this guy floundering stuck in a carpet of floating algae strings. It took a few minutes to detangle him preferably without ripping his limbs off. he spent the next 10 minutes inside my palm warming up and once released into the jungle like humidity and temp of our underground greenhouse (Walipihni), he started chewing off the algae still wrapping his claws.
This was taken a week after that when he was happily crawling along the tops of some of the orchids I grow down in the Walipini looking for Lady bugs no doubt lol. The lady bugs hunt everything else…
About a week ago I saved this Hunting Praying Mantis from Drowning in a stock water tank. Here he’s hanging out on some of my Orchids that I am growing down in my Aquaponic Walipini Greenhouse. They move a lot from a camera historically but he’s pretty tolerant of me as I actually had to detangle him from a mat of floating algae without ripping his limbs off. It took a few minutes. 😀 By taking him down into my Walipini greenhous, he/she is assured a longer life as it’s a jungle down there (10 feet underground) even during the incoming blizzard (as I type). It’s always 65 degrees + down there and humid as heck in the winter from condensation on the roof glazing…..It’s always raining there when it’s cold…. The poor thing would have drowned or froze in a week, either way, I randomly saw him struggling as I was walking by the tank while changing cards in one of my game trail cameras. What are the chances ?? He was seconds from drowning….I happened by…
Filed under things I see driving around the ranch.😎
Catching a Lady Bug Up Close and Personal little guys around a plant is nerve wracking as they are as likely to zip across and go under the leaf as sure as not. They don’t like the big lens coming up this close and tend to scatter off. Can’t blame them…if this huge lens started chasing me lolololol.. My bucket list has an item number listing catching one in flight focused as a goal in life….. Some day when the planets line up…. I’m so easily entertained these days😎
Meanwhile in the Hollyhock garden, the late season Lady Bug is hunting for food.
Catching one of these guys flying is a bucket list item though. I don’t see them much and they are pretty active so getting interesting angles is hard and they will continually move or fly away. To catch one of these flying in the wild is a lot more unlikely than trying to catch a bumble bee flying at 9 inches with a macro lens lol.
I build a lot of square 18 inch by 18 inch printable high resolution image now days. Mostly made for box canvas prints but any media will work generally. .😁
Location: in the garden, Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands…. might be snowing when this posts…..