Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘insect

A tiny fly on narrowleaf penstemon flowers

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It was late in the afternoon on May 28th and the wind had picked up at the top of Scott’s Bluff National Monument in western Nebraska. Concentrating on the tiny fly that became my subject once I noticed it, I had to let most of the flowers fade out of focus in order for the fly to stay sharp. The flowers are Penstemon angustifolius, called narrowleaf penstemon or narrowleaf beardtongue. Call the photographer Nimbletongue Beardface and you might not be far wrong.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 2, 2017 at 5:00 AM

A wasp dragging a spider

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Along the Muir Lake Trail in Cedar Park on July 3rd I noticed a colorful and energetic wasp dragging a spider that it had immobilized. When I stepped closer to try to take a photograph the wasp went away, but I took a stance at a medium distance from the spider and waited for the wasp to return. It came and went several times, continuing with its task each time, and I managed to get some sharply focused pictures in spite of the frequent movement.

UPDATE: Thanks to John S. Ascher at BugGuide.net, I can now say this predator appears to be Tachypompilus ferrugineus, known as the rusty spider wasp, red-tailed spider hunter, or red-tailed spider wasp.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 23, 2017 at 4:45 AM

Looking and looking back

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When I knelt to photograph a yellow bitterweed flower head (Helenium amarum var. amarum) in Cedar Park on May 6th and looked through my camera’s viewfinder I found a bug staring straight back at me.

If you’re interested in photography as a craft, I used point 11 in About My Techniques to create this image.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 31, 2017 at 4:55 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

Tumbling flower beetle on American basket-flower

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My first photo stop on May 1st was at the old Merrilltown Cemetery on Burnet Rd., at whose edges in past years I’d photographed plenty of American basket-flowers, Centaurea americana. Though it was still early in the season, a few basket-flowers had opened, and on one of them I found this tumbling flower beetle.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 22, 2017 at 5:00 AM

Euphoria on a Texas thistle

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In a comment yesterday on the recent post showing plants flowering on the Blackland Prairie, Lisa asked whether I had a closeup of a Texas thistle. I answered that I might show a current picture of one in the days ahead. Now let me be more decisive, take the thistle by the thorns*, and post a photograph I took on May 6th of a Cirsium texanum in Cedar Park. Burrowing euphorically into the flower head was a Euphoria kernii beetle.

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* Technically speaking, a thistle has spines or prickles rather than thorns, but you wouldn’t want me to pass up a good alliterative alternative to “take the bull by the horns,” would you?

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 11, 2017 at 4:46 AM

Black swallowtail caterpillar

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When I wandered out onto a piece of the Blackland Prairie on the west side of Heatherwilde Blvd. in Pflugerville on April 30th, I noticed that one of the prairie parsley plants (Polytaenia nuttallii) was host to the caterpillar of an Eastern black swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes). You can learn more about this species in a Wikipedia article.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 8, 2017 at 5:01 AM

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