A few weeks ago the first Aphis nerii of the season showed up in our little prairie garden. These little orange globes multiplied to plague proportions within days. The butterfly weed was hit hard, dropping its plumes of orange flowers and withering. The bounty of aphids didn’t go unnoticed for long. Lots of insects eat [...]
Photographed this weekend in Dixon Springs, Illinois: photo details: Canon mp-e 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D ISO 100, f/11-f/13, 1/250 sec, flash diffused through tracing paper
An ant lion captures prey not by passively sitting at the bottom of its sand trap, but by aggressively flinging debris at its target, enveloping it in a sand storm.
From the BBC’s excellent, if overly dramatic, wildlife unit: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL3sHuK3iGE]
This young black widow (Latrodectus hesperus) set up shop above the nest entrance of a colony of Pogonomyrmex harvester ants. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, allowing the spider nearly unlimited pickings as the ants come and go. The spider’s mottled coloration is typical of young widows; they don’t acquire the striking black and red warning garb [...]
Take that, vertebrate scum! Incidentally, my wife used to have one of these Nephila spiders nesting in the high ceiling of her living room when she was living in Queensland. I guess she used it to dissuade potential suitors, but somehow I made it through.
A perpetually happy Venezuelan Leptogenys We don’t really know why some species of Leptogenys hunting ants sport a permanent grin. The oddly ecstatic mandible shape might, however, have something to do with handling the broadly curved exoskeleton of their preferred prey: isopods (the sow bugs and pill bugs). Flickr user “venwu225″ recently uploaded a fantastic [...]
I can’t imagine a more unpleasant way to go. This poor oleander aphid (Aphis nerii) has its innards sucked out by a hoverfly larva. photo details: Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens on a Canon 20D f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO 100 MT-24EX flash diffused through tracing paper levels adjusted in Photoshop.