Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Cricket and goldenrod

with 24 comments

Cricket on Dry Goldenrod Plant 6450

From the goldenrod (Solidgo spp.) flowers in the background I take the dry plant to be goldenrod as well, and from what seems to be an ovipositor I take the cricket to be a female. Why it had one wing splayed to the side and its two rear legs stuck out in the air, I don’t know. Or maybe I do: the two frontmost legs on the left side appear truncated or bent sharply back toward the body, so perhaps the cricket was dead. Yes, that would also explain why it didn’t move while I took pictures of it.

Today’s photograph is from September 29th near the intersection of E. Stassney Ln. and Burleson Rd. in southeast Austin.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 23, 2015 at 4:50 AM

24 Responses

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  1. Ah: the unsung advantages of rigor mortis — for the photographer, at least. I was wondering why or how it remained on the branch, and then I remembered the phrase “death grip.” I’ve never considered the possibility that the phrase was based in reality, or that it was more than a useful metaphor. Interesting.


    October 23, 2015 at 8:30 AM

  2. I’ve seen insects in poses similar to this several times, and my best guess is that it fell prey to a patient spider that was just waiting for a golden opportunity. My prime suspect is a crab spider; they are uncannily good at the art of the ambush.


    October 23, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    • Crab spiders are the kind I most commonly see here, and sometimes I’m tempted to think every plant out there harbors one. Many of them blend in quite well with flowers, which of course attract insects—some to their deaths.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2015 at 10:27 AM

  3. Love your dry sense of humor. I am sure this cricket was quite alive and was honored to have his or her portrait taken. You really captured such amazing anatomical detail.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    October 23, 2015 at 1:34 PM

    • I don’t know about the cricket, but I’m pretty sure that at the time of the photograph I was alive, and I hasten to confirm that I still am. In contrast, my macro lens isn’t alive but it does a good job of resolving little details.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2015 at 1:39 PM

  4. Several years ago I came upon a similar situation. A fly was sitting on a leaf and as I moved closer to look it did not move. Closer and closer and still no movement. I noticed some fine hairs, longer than any of the fly’s own, sticking upwards. At the time I did not know about Cordyceps.

    Maybe not the case with your cricket but possibly.

    Despite the hundreds of crickets I have seen and at least thousands if not millions I have heard, Cricket is always Connie Stevens to me.

    Steve Gingold

    October 23, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    • And from that era I’m more inclined to think of the Crickets who played with Buddy Holly (and on the model of which the Beatles are supposed to have settled on their final name).

      I’d seen that segment about the Cordyceps (though without remembering the name). I looked just now in my Texas mushrooms book and found that it includes three species of Cordyceps, two of which it said sprout from the heads of caterpillars.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2015 at 3:44 PM

      • I do have a Cordyceps image, but not of an insect. I do not know what it was on as they sometimes “sprout” from underground. Something was dead beneath and the fungus sprouted.

        Steve Gingold

        October 23, 2015 at 3:57 PM

  5. Wonderful image of your cricket practicing yoga ..


    October 23, 2015 at 3:57 PM

    • Now that’s a novel take on the situation. Perhaps Mrs. Cricket had achieved Nirvana and had no further need of her earthly body.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 23, 2015 at 4:07 PM

  6. Looks like a crash landing ( a nose dive). Although Mrs Cricket achieving Nirvana is a much more elegant explanation of the body’s stasis.


    October 24, 2015 at 6:58 AM

    • I hadn’t thought about a nose dive, but now that you’ve posited it I can see the situation as you do, where movement quickly gave way to stasis.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 24, 2015 at 7:05 AM

  7. Well, it may have been dead but it looks like an action shot. A super hero (or super show off) cricket doing all sorts of fancy tricks? 🙂


    October 25, 2015 at 12:52 AM

    • Since you’ve brought up super heroes, I can say for sure that I didn’t see Batman or Superman near the cricket, but Schwartzman was there heroically enduring the slings and arrows of outraged fire ants.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 25, 2015 at 4:18 AM

      • Oh my, that did make me laugh, Steve. All you need now is a special cape. 🙂


        October 25, 2015 at 6:15 AM

  8. I’d bet on her being dead: the insects I stalk hardly ever keep their wings akimbo, especially one at a time, like this for very long. I would guess that because of the great grip they can achieve with those dandy micro-hay-bale-hooks they have for claws, they don’t need to balance with their wings much once they’ve landed. And boy, can they stick. Cicadas may be the masters of the art, since their shed exoskeletons can hang on to a pin-prick in wood or brick siding or even a bit of dust on the metal frame of a window *long* after the critters have crawled out and departed. But this little lady seems to me to have gone out determined to leave her admirable frame behind, too. Handsome architecture, that.


    November 2, 2015 at 2:49 PM

    • Death seems to be the consensus here. What you say about the strong grip is something I’ve observed too, especially with cicada exuviae, which I’ve found in many places, as you’ve also pointed out. People are adherents to many creeds and pastimes, while these insects are great adherents to surfaces.

      I like your phrase “micro-hay-bale-hooks.” I’d noticed them on other insects as well, but I never came up with as creative a name for them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 2, 2015 at 3:41 PM

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