Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘ant

Ant on pavonia mallow

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We have several pavonia mallow plants (Pavonia lasiopetala) in our yard, but I’ve never managed to get as good a portrait of one from behind as when I went walking through the Taylor Draper entrance to Great Hills Park on October 10th. The backlighting brought out patterns not apparent in a conventional view, as you can confirm by comparing a picture from 2012.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 17, 2018 at 4:44 AM

Clematis drummondii: a familiar take and a new one

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On August 17th I stopped along S. 10th St. in Pflugerville to photograph an embankment covered with Clematis drummondii that had gone into the fluffy phase that earned this vine the colloquial name “old man’s beard.” After walking almost back to my car I spotted one clump of strands drooping in a way I’d rarely seen. Naturally I got close to photograph it, and then I noticed the dead ant that’s near the bottom of the picture, along with a few other tiny dead insects inside the clump. My first thought was of a spider but I saw no evidence of one. Those insect deaths remain a mystery.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 27, 2018 at 4:57 AM

The demise of an ant on a snail

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As you heard and saw last time, on the Blackland Prairie in Pflugerville on April 30th I stopped to photograph some dodder (Cuscuta spp.). In one place a small snail had climbed up on a plant that the dodder was attacking. Snails often climb plants here, so that’s not unusual, but when I got close I noticed something I don’t remember ever seeing before: an ant had died on the snail, perhaps caught up and immobilized in the snail’s slime.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 26, 2017 at 4:50 AM

Corn salad

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Corn Salad Colony with Prickly Pear Cactus 8530

Why anyone would call this plant corn salad, I don’t know. I do know that a colony of Valerianella amarella can cover a good expanse of ground in meadows and on prairies, yet individual flowers are tiny, only 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch across (1.5–3 mm). They often grow in a loosely rectangular array comprising two pairs of clusters: call it white geometry and you’ll get no argument from me. The second picture looks straight down at one pair of clusters. I noticed that the ant burrowed into the center of several of the flowers, and I conjectured, rightly or wrongly, that it was going after nectar. There’s no need to conjecture about what I was going after—photographs—nor about their provenance—an area along Yaupon Dr. on March 20.

Ant on Corn Salad Flowers 8478

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 26, 2016 at 5:09 AM

Alamo vine, takes 2 and 3

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Alamo Vine Dry Strands 0121

Yesterday’s post mentioned that Merremia dissecta is commonly known as alamo vine, and the first of today’s photographs, again from March 27th along E. 51st St., confirms that the plant is indeed a vine (although in this case a dried-out one). The photograph below, from August 20th near Shoal Creek below 34th St., shows an ant on a developing alamo vine fruit.

Ant on Alamo Vine Capsule 1510

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 18, 2015 at 5:39 AM

Green comet milkweed

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Wand Milkweed Flowers 0685

I’ve always known Asclepias viridiflora as wand milkweed, but I was recently reminded that some people call it green comet milkweed. By whatever name, the plant’s hemispheres of flowers are distinctive. I found this one on July 7th along W. Courtyard Dr., a place where I don’t remember ever taking pictures before.

In this view you get to see both flowers and buds, plus an ant.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 8, 2015 at 5:13 AM

Aztec dancer and ant

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Aztec Dancer Damselfly with Ant 9632

I took this photograph close to a waterfall off Harrogate Dr. in northwest Austin last year on 7/24. Whether the ant ran any risk of getting eaten by the Aztec dancer damselfly, Argia nahuana, I don’t know, but the date reminds me of something I do know, namely that 7 and 24 are the perpendicular sides of a 7-24-25 right triangle because 7 squared plus 24 squared equals 25 squared. Other right triangles with the shortest side an odd number are  5-12-13,  9-40-41,  11-60-61,  13-84-85,  and the familiar 3-4-5. Can you figure out how to get the two longer sides of each right triangle of this type if you know only the shortest side?

(Speaking of math, did anyone notice that the number 63 that played a role in yesterday’s post can be written in base 2 as 111111?)

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 27, 2015 at 5:32 AM

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