Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘insect

Three more things at Brazoria

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Here are three more finds from the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge on October 6th.
The first is the egg case of a Carolina mantis, Stagmomantis carolina.

Next you have the flower head of a camphor daisy, Rayjacksonia phyllocephala. It’s unusual for a genus to be created from someone’s first and last name, in this case Ray + Jackson (for Dr. Raymond C. Jackson). I assume that happened because Jacksonia was already in use for something else.

And finally you have the remains of a crayfish (a.k.a. crawfish or crawdad):

After 10 posts with 21 pictures from Brazoria, we’ll finally move on in the next post.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 9, 2019 at 4:40 PM

Artist Boat Coastal Heritage Preserve

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On October 6, after time at the Kelly Hamby Nature Trail, we went over to the Artist Boat Coastal Heritage Preserve. Linda had told us to expect to see Solidago odora, called fragrant goldenrod, sweet goldenrod, and anise-scented goldenrod. My nose and brain detected a vinegary scent.

Close to the goldenrod was some croton, Croton sp.

On one of the croton leaves a tiny fly caught my attention. UPDATE: the good folks at bugguide.net have placed the fly in the genus Condylostylus, adding that it may be a female Condylostylus mundus.

Another find was some flowers of Vigna luteola, known as hairypod cowpea, wild cowpea, and yellow vigna.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 26, 2019 at 6:17 AM

Dragonfly obelisk

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Call it a handstand if you like. Entomologists refer to this upright dragonfly pose as the obelisk posture. Online articles that I’ve read list two purposes: to regulate body temperature when in bright sunlight and, for males, to assert dominance. Notice how the amber patch on this dragonfly’s wing acted like stained glass and let sunlight transmit that color to part of the insect’s body.

I took this picture on August 7th when we stopped in Charlotte,
North Carolina, to visit a friend we hadn’t seen in a couple of decades.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 5, 2019 at 4:57 AM

Mesquite pods

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While on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin on August 24th I spent time at a mesquite tree, Prosopis glandulosa, whose many pods caught my attention. Indian tribes in what is now Mexico and the southwestern United States used to grind the pods to make a sweet flour. In fact many places sell mesquite flour today. There’s even a Texas mesquite group on Instagram. And it isn’t just people who like mesquite: I noticed plenty of ants attracted to the pods, presumably due to their sweetness.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 3, 2019 at 4:42 AM

Not just Lucifer Falls

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At Robert H. Treman State Park in New York’s Finger Lakes region on August 1st I didn’t only photograph Lucifer Falls and other waterfalls. Here are some non-watery scenes from the western (upper) end of the park.

I can’t not see a bell.

A hornet nest.

Living, dead, and inanimate together.

Oh, the lichens….

This reminded me of those old ruined homesteads out in the country where the only thing that’s left standing is a chimney.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 28, 2019 at 4:39 AM

Spittlebug spittle

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On June 12th, for the first time in years, I hiked up the cliff on the west side of the Capital of Texas Highway overlooking the Colorado River. Arriving at the top and not seeing anything there for my purposes, I followed the path westward along the cliff for at least a quarter of a mile and did find some things to photograph. Probably the most interesting was this spittlebug spittle on the stalk of a fading zexmenia flower head, Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida. The stalk on the right is lost in shadows, and I cropped in at the left so the wilting flower head wouldn’t distract from all the froth. Notice how the large bubble at the bottom acted as a convex lens that created a fisheye image of surrounding plants and blue sky.

UPDATE: On July 10th Wanda Hill made the excellent suggestion of cropping down to the large bubble at the lower tip of the spittle and rotating it 180° so the sky would be at the top. I’ve done that, and if you’d like to see the world in a bubble, just click the icon below for an enlargement.

Spittlebug Spittle Tip Inverted 1689

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 8, 2019 at 4:40 AM

More on elderberry

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To atone for never having shown elderberry in the eight years of this blog, in the last post I featured the shrub’s bright white flowers. Today let me atone some more and show what the buds look like. Because the open flowers are small, just 1/8–1/4 of an inch across (3–6mm), the buds are even smaller, yet they already show the fiveness of the flowers. (The leaf at the bottom right is from a mustang grape vine.)

And now let me take the post’s title literally. Click the tiny box below to see the commensurately tiny creature I found on some adjacent elderberry buds.

If you’d like to know what that colorful nymph is, you can go to the appropriate page at Bug Guide, which identified it for me. Thanks, Bug Guide.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 7, 2019 at 4:37 AM

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