My camera and I spent a warm summer morning roaming the woods of northwest Missouri.
I found small clearing with some wildflowers, including a number of beautiful Queen Ann’s Lace. On one bunch of Queen Ann’s Lace I spotted a black wasp with distinctive white stripes. It was easy to see the bed of white.
Upon closer inspection, it was obvious the wasp had died there Then I noticed a smaller, ugly bug gnawing on it’s leg. It took some searching and help from a friend to identify it as an Ambush Bug.
I watched it for awhile and saw the ambush bug try to carry the wasp off, but seemed unable. I think the wasps legs were stuck in the flower bed.
I made it a point to check back the next day and couldn’t find any sign of either parties.
To see a larger version of any of these images, simply click on them.
On a walk along the trails of Door County’s Potawatomi State Park (near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) I encountered some of the strangest bugs I’ve ever seen. There were a number of these bugs on a tree. They were not easily spooked, so they were easy to photograph.
The large image is a shot looking up the tree – as the bug was facing down. It looks like a rather unique bug…but not so much different than a lot of flying bugs. The thing that makes this the strangest bug I’ve come across is how it lays it’s eggs.
The bug’s body was about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in length. Those strands that arch up over it’s abdomen (the back end), were inserted into the tree. (Better seen in the side view.) When I finally saw one move, it pulled those strands out and they were three to four times the over all length of the bug’s body. It was like watching some very small-scale version of an space alien movie monster.
It took quite a bit of Googling to figure out what this bug is. According to www.exploretheoutdoorsohio.com this is the giant ichneumon wasp (Megarhyssa macrurus). Those long things are called an ovipositor. It inserts them into the dead wood of a tree, in search of one thing: the larva of another wasp, the pigeon tremex horntail (Tremex columba). It can detect the wasp larva’s movements in the wood, locate it, and then lay an egg next to the larva. Once the ichneumon wasp has done this, it will then sting the horntail larva, paralyzing it. Later, the ichneumon wasp larva will hatch and devour the horntail wasp, and continue to grow to adulthood.
I didn’t realize this was a wasp. Lucky for me, it is harmless to humans! The article I read said, “If you’re walking in the woods and come upon some dead trees in a sunny area, search around a bit and you might be lucky enough to find one.”
You can view a larger version of either photo by clicking on them.
This is a bit of vintage Pops Digital. This is another image that I found that I haven’t shared on this blog yet.
This is one of those accident shots. I was crouching in the garden, trying to get a good shot of this huge Garden Spider and just as I snapped the image, Sara, my wife stepped into the shot. She didn’t even know I was there.
Click on the image to see a larger version.
When asked what category of photography I prefer (such as landscapes, nature, portrait, etc.), I often say, “I just shoot whatever catches my eye.” This is a prime example.
I was climbing up and down a ladder, taking storm windows off my house, when something caught my eye. It was a little flash of green. I paused my work to get a better look.
There is a propane tank next to my house that rests on cement blocks. On the corner of one of those blocks was this little green bug – no longer than the width of your thumbnail. It was frantically skittering over the concrete, but staying in one general area. It was such a beautiful, iridescent, green – made even more spectacular by it’s dance in the bright sunlight. I couldn’t just ignore it. I went to get my camera. (Contrary to what some might think, I don’t have my camera hanging around my neck every moment of the day.)
I didn’t have time to fool around. The way the bug was moving, I was concerned he’d slip off into the grass and never be seen again. My camera had a long, 300 mm lens on it – the kind I use to get close-ups of distant objects like a lighthouse or the moon. (With that lens, I think I can see Alaska from my house.) No time to change to a shorter lens, so I grabbed it and dashed back out.
The bug was still there, but still erratic. I tried getting a ground-level shot, but it’s movements made focusing impossible. I decided to shoot it from above, where it’s side to side movements wouldn’t change the distance to my lens so much. The problem was, I couldn’t hold the camera high enough to get within the focal range of the long lens. I ended up climbing a couple of rungs up the ladder to get my shot in focus. I took several shots. This is the one that was most in focus. Not bad, considering I was probably 7 feet off the ground.
I didn’t notice the white dots when just looking at it. I guess the dazzling green distracted me.
A friend helped me identify this as a six-spotted tiger beetle. You can read more about them here: http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/six-spotted_tiger_beetle.htm
(Click the photo to see a larger version.)
I found this odd looking bugger in one of my wife’s flower beds. Goofy looking and larger than a typical house fly, I worked on sneaking up on it to, hopefully, get a decent picture of it. To my delight and surprise, this guy didn’t seem to mind me. It sat there – just as you see him – while I moved within inches and snapped several photos.
This is an image I captured several years ago using my consumer grade Kodak Easyshare DX7590. That camera was pretty good at macro work.
On a side note: I posted this yesterday on my Google+ account. Someone commented, “That’s a dung fly.” I think I would have preferred not to know that. Especially when I consider how comfortable it was with my presence. (If you’d like to follow me on Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/113684854375405108383/posts)
To get a better view of the bug, click on the photo.