Readers’ wildlife photos

September 10, 2014 • 6:31 am

Reader “Gorebug”  sent us a bunch of nice arthropod photos, including bees, dragonflies, and other cool stuff.

I purchased my macro lens with the justification that I’d use it for photographing coins, but had a pleasant bit of summer weather here in Calgary resulted in lots of insects around one evening so I dashed out to try my hand at some living subjects in the front yard.

First the odonates: Posed on a Catmint (Nepeta) flowerhead is a Sympetrum internum (cherry-faced meadow hawk) and judging by the coloration, it would be a juvenile. This species turns a dark red as it matures.
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While not as pleasing a picture, I was able to shoot this Sympetrum danae (Black Meadowhawk) munching on some dinner. After a couple more chews, the morsel was all gone.
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These next two look most like Lestes disjunctus to my untrained eye. The second one seems to be carrying some sort of parasite on its underbelly.
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Next up is Bombus (perplexus?) coming in for a landing after a rainy afternoon.
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Bumblebees are much more difficult to shoot as don’t sit still nearly as well as the dragon- and damsel-flies.
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Bombus huntii (?)
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These next two were photographed while visiting my folks in Vernon, BC.
A honeybee (genus Apis).
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And another Bombus:
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Lastly, back home in Calgary, I found these fellow Hymenoptera milking some aphids.
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27 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

    1. Very fine images, Gorebug! The little red jobs on the underside of the second spreadwing’s thorax are water mites. Two probably don’t present the host with much of a problem, but I’ve seen some dragons and damsels so heavily infested with mites that it was difficult to see how they could fly, what with all that extra weight.

      1. Yes, if you have some short primes a reversing ring will provide an affordable entry to higher magnification.

        If you’ve longer primes, extension rings can also be an affordable start (~$20).

        However both reversing rings and the cheaper extensions will not be usable by all DSLR’s. Plus using them on moving objects under changing lighting conditions will prove a handful.

        You can get off-brand extension rings in the $60+ range that will let you keep the AF & AE functionality of your camera intact resulting in a much more pleasurable user experience.

  1. Thanks for your comments!

    Merilee, indeed we are in the midst of a summer blizzard right now. Pictures I’d take today would be far more depressing.

    Thankfully I snapped these early in August during the brief window things were pleasant here.

  2. In the picture of ants tending aphids, I think there is an aphid on the left that has been parasitized, likely by one of the tiny wasps that use aphids as hosts. It is the one with a lighter color, and not all of its feet are on the stem.
    That aphid is a dry husk, with a wasp pupa is likely inside it.

    1. That aphid is a dry husk, with a wasp pupa is likely inside it.

      Hmmm, not quite cannibal, but very vampiric. Are they Catholic wasps?

  3. Why is it that the wildlife shots on this site, which I assume are not usually taken by professional photographers, are compositionally better and have better light than the shots I get from commercial fee-lancers on a regular basis? Any of y’all want a job as a videographer in Boca Raton, FL? All kidding aside Gorebug, that’s some nice shootin’.

    1. The weather here moved from 27 centigrade on Sunday to zero with 10 cm of snow on Monday.
      How quickly can I book a ticket to boca raton?

  4. When I lived in Southern Illinois I had very large flowered “Southern Belle” hybiscus. flowers would open in the morning and close after mid day. The flowers would stay on the bush and fall off the next day. I found that bumble bees would overnight in the folded flowers, and cut a round hole in the side to escape in the morning.

  5. Really nice stuff, gorebug. Thanks! (May I request some spiders?)

    Also, what kind of macro lens and setup. I’m looking to get something, but know nothing about it. TIA for any tips!

    1. Hey mark,

      This actually started after spotting a neat coral spider in my garden. Afterwards I decided I should’ve taken a picture of it – I’ve all the gear. Unfortunately the next afternoon it was nowhere to be found but I resolved to not let those opportunities slide away.

      For these shots I used a Nikon DSLR (D7000) along with a Tokina 100MM macro lens, plus an external flash with a 6″x8″ flash softbox mounted.

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