Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography


with 14 comments

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At Meadow Lake Park in Round Rock, while I was photographing marsh fleabane flowers and the shoots of very young black willow trees on August 9, I noticed that a lot of the reddish shoots of the willows were covered with a white substance. Eventually I found a shoot that had an insect still on it. Valerie Bugh was good enough to identify it as a planthopper in the genus Oecleus. She added: “There’s a good chance that it was laying eggs, as all that waxy stuff is something that they use to cover their eggs with. I’m sure that individual was not responsible, though, for all that stuff!” To give you a sense of scale, I’ll add that the planthopper shown here was at most half an inch long. I’ll also add that these insects are called planthoppers because they can hop a large distance in a single bound and by so doing disappear from the sight of a would-be predator, or of a photographer who hoped to take more pictures.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 11, 2011 at 5:41 AM

14 Responses

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  1. That tree is really loaded. Hope it lives.


    September 11, 2011 at 7:21 AM

  2. amazing to hear what this critter is up to as it wanders through life.


    September 11, 2011 at 9:42 AM

  3. Hello. thank you for your comment in my blog. I make a visit to your blog also, and i have to give congratulations for the nice information and photos of wild flowers. I buy a new macro lens, some months ago, and i have already some photos in the blog of wild flowers. i hope to have more wild flowers portraits too. thank you.

    Filipe Barroso

    September 11, 2011 at 10:23 AM

  4. Beautiful insect! And congratulations on capturing a photograph of her; i know what enigmatic and uncooperative models insects can be!


    September 11, 2011 at 12:10 PM

  5. An excellent photograph. Is this completely natural light, or do you have either reflected light or fill flash? Regardless, the result is very nice, even, diffuse light.

    Ted C. MacRae

    September 11, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    • Thanks, Ted. I sometimes use fill flash outdoors, but this picture was taken entirely in natural light.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 11, 2011 at 10:18 PM

  6. Interesting little critter! Nice shot!


    September 11, 2011 at 11:21 PM

    • Thanks, Terry. Although I’ve seen other kinds of planthoppers, I don’t recall ever seeing this type till a month ago.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 12, 2011 at 5:32 AM

  7. Excellent photo, Steven. Thank you for showing me that part of the world I don’t take time to squint and see. This was so interesting. A planthopper. How cool is that? They have probably seen my species. How much we overlook.


    September 14, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    • Although I’m pleased that I’ve been able to see and record as much as I have, I’ve often wondered how many things must have been close by that I never noticed. So much seems to depend on luck, but the more time I spend in nature, the more likely the chances of seeing something intriguing. In any case, happy planthoppers to you, Leslie.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 14, 2011 at 9:39 PM

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