Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Mesquitebug Nymph - Image taken using Marian's point and shoot camera during a day of hiking at El Charco del Ingenio Nature Reserve, just outside of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, June, 2011. Click image to enlarge.

Results from the 2011 ESA International Insect Photography Salon arrived this morning. I love this particular salon. It allows me to see how a subset of four of my images stack up to those of many of the world’s best arthropod photographers.

I diverged completely from my normal international nature photography strategy, entering a set of images four images that have never been entered in a PSA competition before.

Aren’t I reckless? No, I don’t think so either, but this is as reckless as I get…

I was pleased to see three images receive honors.

Results follow:

Mesquitebug Nymph 14/15 points (see above)

Sonoran Desert Ant 14/15 points

I photographed this ant in the Sonoran Desert (my VERY FAVORITE place) during the 2011 Invertebrates in Education and Conservation Conference (July, 2011). Click image to enlarge.

Pollinating Megachilid 13/15 points

This megachilid was thoughtful enough to pose for me at the University of Illinois Arboretum's Idea Garden, August, 2011. Click image to enlarge.

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Note the fused elytra of this flightless beetle. Click image to enlarge.

These green-bordered, flightless beetles are found in southeastern Arizona and throughout Mexico.

Though generalist feeders, a significant portion of their diet is made up of caterpillars.

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Damselfly Mating

Sexually dimorphic, males of this Sonoran Desert coenagrionid species are blue/violet, while females are a browner color. Click image to enlarge.

Unlike most insects, male damselflies deposit sperm in a secondary genitalia structure on the second and third abdominal segment by bending the abdomen forward.

Once the sperm has been transferred, the male courts females, eventually clasping a female behind the head with claspers on the tip of his abdomen.

The two fly in tandem for a period of time. Eventually the female loops her abdomen toward the male’s secondary genitalia, and fertilization occurs.

Males may carry the coupled female to emergent plants and floating vegetation or even dip them directly into the water for egglaying.

Eggs develop. The emerging aquatic naiads molt 10 to 12 times before the final instar crawls out of the water and up a vertical surface, where the adult emerges from its nymphal exoskeleton.

Typically damselflies produce a single generation per year, regardless of where they live. Adult damselflies live for a few weeks to a few months.

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They always pose better when eating... Click image to enlarge.

Even the cryptically colored Sonoran damselflies are stunning!

A face-on view can be seen at https://thingsbiological.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/even-the-damselflies-are-cryptically-colored/.

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Tailless whipscorpion

Tailless whipscorpion, photographed outside Tucson, AZ. Click to enlarge.

Of the 70 species of tailless whipscorpions, six occur in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. The cephalothorax includes the fanglike chelicerae and spiny pedipalps. The forelegs function as antennae.

These nocturnal arthropods emerge from their shelters to eat a wide variety of different arthropods that they tear into pieces, which are then crushed and the body fluids consumed.

Females carry the young in a membrane beneath the abdomen. The offspring crawl up to the mother’s abdomen and will remain with her for the next several weeks to months, feeding on prey she captures during that time.

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Giant agave bug (Acanthocephala thomasi). Click/double click image to enlarge.

Giant agave bugs (Acanthocephala thomasi), each almost the size of my thumb, were abundant in large numbers on many of the trees in the Rio Rico area last week. Males were clearly completing for females during the entire week of the conference. Nymphs were not apparent in large numbers yet.

The nymphs are delightfully aposematic.

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Fluorescing Scorpions

Bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus) reflecting blacklight-adapted flashlight beam. Click to magnify.

Scorpion exoskeletons reflect ultraviolet (uv) light. Using a blacklight-adapted flashlight, the eerie green-blue is obvious to all within flashlight beam range. No one has a firm answer as to why they reflect uv light, though some speculation regarding its evolutionary rationale can be found in an article entitled, “Glow-in-the-dark scorpions: Why do they do it?

Eight of us stayed after the 2011 Invertebrates in Education and Conservation Conference. We went to a behind the scenes tour of the arthropod and herpetology areas at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Cathy Bartlett, the keeper who led our customized tour, allowed us to check out the impact of one of our handheld blacklights on a captive bark scorpion. Pretty amazing…

The same bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus) exposed to natural light. I wish I had centered before taking the picture... Click to magnify.

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