Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for July 17th, 2011

A tiny find

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My first find along Bull Creek earlier this week was dozens of roughstem rosinweeds in bloom, one of which appeared in yesterday’s post. Another find, much less conspicuous and much less conventionally pretty, came from a part of the creek that still had water, though only enough to form a large puddle. I saw something gray, probably not even an inch long, hopping near the edge of the water. At first I took it to be one of the very tiny frogs we have here, but I was having trouble seeing it because, as I soon discovered, it has a natural camouflage that lets it blend in with the sand, pebbles, rocks, decaying leaves, and other odds and ends that litter the shoreline of the creek. When I got close with my macro lens I was surprised to see that the object of my interest wasn’t a frog at all. Make a guess if you will from the roughly life-size image below, then click to enlarge it and find out what the little creature was. If you guessed right before seeing the enlarged picture, please say so in a comment and we’ll all proclaim you a notable naturalist.

Update on August 23, 2011: thanks to Valerie Bugh for identifying this little creature as a pygmy grasshopper (also called a grouse locust) from the family Tetrigidae. She says it’s in the genus Paratettix, probably P. mexicanus. I knew about the existence of dwarf dandelions, but not till now about pygmy grasshoppers.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 17, 2011 at 6:33 AM

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