Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘insects

Loss

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When I got close to the intersection of Heatherwilde Blvd. and Wells Branch Parkway along the Pflugerville-Austin border on May 20, I was saddened to see that the inevitable had come to pass. The land on the northeast corner of that intersection, where I’d been photographing nature over the years since 1999, had become a construction zone. A visit to that site on May 13, 2013, produced the abstract Texas thistle photo you saw in these pages shortly afterwards. Here are four pictures of other things that were there on that day three years ago; all, and all their descendants, are gone from that place now. Requiescant in prato.

Annual Pennyroyal and Firewheels by Bluets 6139

Firewheels (Gaillardia pulchella), annual pennyroyal (Hedeoma acinoides), bluets (Hedyotis nigricans).

 

Texas Bindweed Flower by Firewheel 6110

Texas bindweed (Convolvulus equitans).

 

Metallic Beetle on Square-Bud Primrose Flower 6078

Metallic beetle on square-bud primrose (Calylophus berlandieri).

 

Firewheel Against Blue Sky 6164

A firewheel (Gallardia pulchella) as an emblem in its own right.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 22, 2016 at 5:15 AM

Gray but not blue

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Gray Hairstreak Butterfly on Bluets 3491

The butterfly (Strymon melinus) is called a gray hairstreak because it’s gray. The flowers (Hedyotis nigricans) are called bluets because they aren’t blue. Notice how the little hairs on the flowers harmonize with the fringes and overall fuzziness of the butterfly.

This photograph is from May 5th along Loop 360 near the Arboretum.

Note: I’m away from home and will be for a while. Please understand if I’m late replying to your comments.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 20, 2016 at 5:09 AM

Harmostes bug

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Harmostes Bug on Horesmint Flowers by Firewheel 7371

From June 8th, 2015—a year ago today—along Old Spicewood Springs Road, here’s a mostly side view of a bug in the genus Harmostes, which crowned some horsemint flowers, Monarda citriodora. The imaginary sunset in the background, whose warm colors contrasted so pleasingly with the green of the bug and parts of the horsemint that it dominated, was a firewheel, Gaillardia pulchella.

Note: I’m away from home and will be for a while. Please understand if I’m late replying to your comments.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 8, 2016 at 5:28 AM

Prairie promiscuity

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Prairie Wildflowers 1892

The adjective promiscuous was originally applied (and still is) to different things that appear or are brought together in no particular order. That’s a good description of plants, or as Dolly Parton put it: “Wildflowers don’t care where they grow.” Here from April 22 on the Blackland Prairie in northeast Austin you see a mix of Engelmann daisies (Engelmannia peristenia), bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis), prairie bishop’s weed (Bifora americana), and a few pink evening primroses (Oenothera speciosa).

While prairie bishop’s weed flowers are tiny, at most a quarter of an inch across (6mm), I found plenty of insects attending to them, including a shiny blow fly (family Calliphoridae)

Shiny Fly on Prairie Bishop's Weed Flowers 1940

Click to enlarge.

and a paper wasp.

Paper Wasp on Prairie Bishop's Weed 1926

Click to enlarge.

UPDATE on December 5, 2017. John S. Ascher at bugguide.net has identified the blow fly as being in the genus Lucilia.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 26, 2016 at 5:07 AM

Speaking of antelope-horns milkweed

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Milkweed Bug on Antelope Horns Milkweed Leaf 2134

Speaking of antelope-horns milkweed (Asclepias asperula), as I did last time when I showed a snail on one, let me add that I also noticed a typical quota of milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) on the antelope-horns plants that I stopped to examine on the prairie in northeast Austin on April 22.

For a closer look at the milkweed bug, the better to see it staring back at you, click the excerpt below.

Milkweed Bug on Antelope Horns Milkweed Leaf 2134A

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 17, 2016 at 5:03 AM

Familiarity

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Tiny Beetles Mating on Firewheel 0136

Two of the most familiar wildflowers in Texas are the firewheel (Gaillardia pulchella) and the bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis), both of which you’ve already seen here more than once this year. The main reason I’m showing you this picture now is the action taking place in the firewheel’s red light disktrict.

Clicksy-doodle for some hanky-panky:

Tiny Beetles Mating on Firewheel 0136A

This photograph is from April 4 along Bluegrass Dr. in my northwest part of Austin.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 10, 2016 at 4:56 AM

Stigma

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Tiny Insect on Pink Evening Primrose Stigma 8276

On March 17th I went to a still-wet Great Hills Park, and among other things I spent some time photographing pink evening primrose flowers, Oenothera speciosa. Notice above this flower the two okra-like buds that were ready to open.

Flowers in this genus have prominent stigmas (or stigmata if you’d like the Latin plural of this Greek-derived word) with slender arms that radiate from the tip of the style. On this stigma I made out a tiny insect; click the excerpt below for an enlargement of the crucial region.

Tiny Insect on Pink Evening Primrose Stigma 8276 Detail

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 7, 2016 at 4:57 AM

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