Cool insect photos by Alex Wild

March 19, 2012 • 1:22 pm

I’m a big fan of Alex Wild’s insect website Myrmecos; it combines lots of good natural history with wonderful photographs.  The site deals mostly with ants, but Alex photographs all kinds of bugs (I use “bugs” in the generic sense, not denoting just Hemiptera).

Alex recently visited Australia and took more than 3,000 pictures. He’s presented some of them on his Scientific American photo website, Compound Eye, and I post a couple here with his permission (and his captions from Myrmecos):

Winner of the Silly Antenna award: the Arthropterus ant-nest beetle (Victoria).
Hygropoda dolomedes showing the fang-bearing chelicerae that define the Chelicerata, a taxonomic group including arachnids and horseshoe crabs. Cape Tribulation, Queensland, Australia
The worst enemies of ants are often other ants. Here, a Rhytidoponera victoriae scout (at left) has discovered an Amblyopone ferruginea worker and attempts to wrestle it back to her nest. If successful, she will kill the Amblyopone and feed her to the larvae. Amblyopone is too specialized as an underground predator to be good at general fighting, so is at a disadvantage here. Diamond Creek, Victoria, Australia

And have a gander at this marvelous case of mimicry (the spider, colored similarly to the ant, is on the left).

Amyciaea albomaculata is a stealthy crab spider that preys on weaver ants by charming the social insects into thinking she is one of them (Cape Tribulation, Queensland).

13 thoughts on “Cool insect photos by Alex Wild

  1. Don’t you just love evolution? God, why can’t Christians just enjoy nature’s infinite bounty? No your Jesus-God did not invent anything.

  2. Wow, I live in Victoria and I’ve never seen or heard of that amazing beetle. Are they really antennae, they look like they come out of the bottom of the head to me, or doesn’t that matter? I wonder what it does with them.

  3. I’d seen that green spider once; I wish there were more of them around just so I have some more variety in spiders.

  4. I spent hours going through that site when you first referenced it last week, Jerry. His photo’s are awesome and I can use them to print mini-posters for my kids. There were some amazing ant-mimicking spiders on his photography website (www.alexanderwild.com) such as the Aphantochilus rogersi and the Sarinda jumping spider that mimic not only color, but body shape as well. The Sphecotypus niger uses it’s startling mimicry as a defense mechanism rather than for predation. I found it amazing that it’s front legs actually pretend at the antennae of the Pachycondyla villosa it mimics.

    I love his pictures because they really bring you up close and personal with his subjects. Something you might otherwise step on with indifference suddenly becomes a magnificent beast that you could spend long moments studying its every facet in awe. I spend a great deal of time each summer keeping these things out of my house and now I think I’m going to put one on my wall!

  5. There’s also a jumping ant that mimics weaver ants (green tree ants, to north-Aussies) in shape and colour, but greatly exceeds them in size – it’s the biggest salticid I’ve ever seen in the flesh, though I didn’t realise it was a spider until I lost sight of it. I was pruning back some ant-ridden foliage from the front of the house when it appeared very close to my face, and I nearly fell off the roof…

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