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Posts Tagged ‘ambush bug’

Ambush bug (Phymata americana) with honey bee (Apis mellifera) prey. Click image to magnify. Double-click to see the piercing-sucking proboscis of the ambush bug.

In east central Illinois this is the prime time to observe many arthropod species. Most insects encountered are mature, full size adults. The continual cycles of eating and reproduction occur at an ever-accelerating pace, and the early leaf drop of some plant species make the omnipresent insect and spider species even more obvious.

Go out and look if you have the opportunity. There are only a few more weeks of prime arthropod viewing this season!

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Ambush bug feeding on honeybee worker. Click image to magnify.

 

I spent the late afternoon at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana, IL capturing a few images of some of the insect activities going on throughout the park. The world of arthropod interactions occurring on goldenrod always amazes me. It is also my favorite plant for great photo opportunities.

Honeybees were out in large numbers this afternoon. I really enjoy photographing honeybees as well as ambush bugs, but don’t enjoy photographing the industrious honeybees losing their lives.

I never like seeing the last season changes that occur in the goldenrod. The onset of flower disappearance makes clear that I have only a few more weeks of arthropod photography this year.

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Mating ambush bugs (University of IL Pollinatarium, August 28, 2010)

The start of goldenrod flowering typically coincides with the start of my field biology class weekend trips. Goldenrod is an excellent plant for the novice collector to see significant species diversity as well as an array of behaviors including mating and predator-prey interactions.

Goldenrod began flowering in shaded and moist areas a few days ago. I’ll be taking my students collecting for the first time tomorrow. The timing couldn’t be better!

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Brilliant green ambush bug on hybrid gold daylily.

I had opportunity to get out between thunderstorms to capture a few images. Many of the plant-associated insects are nice and shiny after a few successive summer showers. The humidity and the water droplets on the leaves and insects combine to make many of these plant-animal combinations appear even more stunning!

Firefly evening shot. The blade of grass in the background wasn't planned, but works pretty effectively.

Pictures taken using a small red filter headlamp, Nikon D50 SLR camera, Nikon 60mm macro lens, XotoPro three light system, and a 12mm Kenko extension tube.

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Hangin' With the Buds! (Kickapoo State Park, Oakwood, IL)

One of the first species collected by my field biology students each fall is the ambush bug (Phymata americana). These small hemipterans are sit and wait predators who grasp their prey with raptorial forelegs and then feed upon their prey’s body fluids using piercing-sucking mouthparts. We find large numbers of Phymata on goldenrod during the fall. They aren’t tremendously difficult to find once you develop a search image. I always thought the markings didn’t seem to mesh well with the greens and yellows of the goldenrod. Suddenly one picture put it all together for me… Double click the image for a larger view.

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This image tied for the highest score of my Saguaro entries. I thought the blur of the wasp's head and eye reflection would prevent acceptance, but I wanted to see how it would fare.

I received the report card from the Saguaro International Nature Photo Exhibition this morning. Four of eight images submitted were accepted. Pretty happy with that result. Two were new images. Common to  the accepted images? Each submission involving an arthropod performing reproduction or prey capture activities scored at or above the acceptance level. Pollination pics, though I think better than my reproduction/predator-prey pics, came close to the numerical cutoff but just didn’t make it. Good information for me to consider in future competitions…

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