Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Colorful grasshopper on broomweed

with 21 comments

Green-Red Grasshopper on Broomweed 8854

Here’s one last picture from my wanderings on August 31, 2012. It was a hot summer day (to say hot and summer in Texas is to repeat yourself), and several kinds of grasshoppers kept jumping around. In retrospect this one strikes me—and a few of the ones bounding about did actually strike me—as the most attractive; I like the way the dark red stripes complement the patterned green of most of the grasshopper’s body and the green stalks of the broomweed, Amphiachyris dracunculoides, that it had landed on. (If you’d like a reminder of what broomweed’s small flower heads look like, you can get a close view in a post from last summer.) Although I often see grasshoppers, somehow this is only the second one to appear in these pages; the first was tiny and quite different, if you’d care to look back.

Like the last five photographs, I took this one at the Doeskin Ranch, which is located in Burnet County about an hour northwest of Austin. Yesterday I e-mailed Chuck Sexton, who retired not long ago from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers Doeskin Ranch as part of the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. It was Chuck who introduced me to Doeskin Ranch a dozen years ago when I took part in a field trip that he led there; he was also the person who identified the chara algae for me.

Chuck suggested that readers of this blog might want to visit the Refuge’s official website or that of the Friends of Balcones. He also volunteered the web address of his archived blog, which has lots of interesting information about the flora and fauna of the place. I encourage those of you who live in central Texas not only to check out those links but to visit the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, and in particular Doeskin Ranch if you haven’t been there recently or ever.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 18, 2013 at 6:20 AM

21 Responses

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  1. Nice of this fellow to pose for you – great detail!


    January 18, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    • Most of the grasshoppers I photographed that day were pretty obliging. As for the detail, I always give credit to my 100mm macro lens.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2013 at 8:52 AM

  2. Fantastic photo !


    January 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM

  3. In retrospect, your previously posted grasshopper looks like something from a Japanese Sci-Fi movie. Whereas this one is quite fetching in its laced wings and sporting the cranberry striping along its back and legs. A great capture, Steve.


    January 18, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    • Make that a Texan sci-fi movie! I like your description of the reddish color as cranberry and of the grasshopper as fetching.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

  4. Nice grashopper, and nice photo, Steve.


    January 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

  5. I must admit that is one pretty grasshopper. Your photo did more than justice to that hopper’s image. Oh, and the broom weed. Am I familiar with ole broomy? Had way too much where my dad had allowed over grazing of the pasture. It was very thick but, if I remember right and maybe not- the bees visited it some. There was always plenty of mesquite trees for the bees though. Mesquite honey so good. Sorry, I got off topic here.


    January 18, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    • As you point put, a large and dense broomweed colony is often a sign of overgrazing. That said, once a big broomweed colony exists, in the fall it can turn a whole field an attractive yellow-green with its many little flowers. Over the years I’ve enjoyed photographing broomweed that way as well as very close.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM

  6. What a handsome fellow! The colors remind me of the new growth you showed us on the greenbrier vine a while back. I wonder – a few stems to his right appear to have been chewed rather than cut. Did you interrupt his lunch?

    (Thanks for the various links!)


    January 18, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    • I do see the similar colors in the picture of the greenbrier: good of you to remember and make the comparison. I can’t say whether this grashopper had been munching on those stems. In August a lot of vegetation here already looks the worse for wear, and that could be what shows up in the picture. One thing I can be sure of is that I didn’t do any munching.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2013 at 7:41 PM

  7. Holy cow, that photo is so clear and detailed that when it opened on my screen I actually jumped back a bit LOL!! Nice work as usual :).


    January 18, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    • I’m glad to learn about that dose of on-screen hyperrealism. Fright aside—or maybe in the forefront—thanks for validating the picture’s effectiveness.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2013 at 7:44 PM

  8. Plants, snakes, AND bugs! I’m in heaven.


    January 18, 2013 at 7:43 PM

  9. Spectacular shot! BTW, I hate to confess how many times I had to read your response on “askew” to get it. Sad, sad, sad!

    Susan Scheid

    January 18, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    • Well, you know how I like to play with words, sometimes obscurely, but all’s well that ends well. I’m happy that you like this picture of the grasshopper, now just a summer dream.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2013 at 10:13 PM

  10. very nice shot


    January 20, 2013 at 2:24 AM

  11. […] on the tip of a dry stalk. When I looked more closely I found that the stalk was the stem of a dead broomweed plant, Amphiachyris dracunculoides, that had somehow broken off near the ground and gotten turned […]

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