Readers’ wildlife photos

September 7, 2017 • 7:30 am

We have a passel of photos, scanned from slides, from reader Tom Gula; his notes are indented:

I’ve attached some more wildlife shots of scanned slides. Most are again from Brazil, but I included some U.S. animals this time, mostly from my home state of New Jersey. Once again perhaps some of your knowledgeable readers will provide more information about species identification.
One of the photos posted on June 16 was a spiny caterpillar I found in a remnant of Atlantic coastal rain forest in Pernambuco, Brazil back in 1978. A reader identified it as the larva of an Io moth, genus Automeris. This is an adult Io moth seen in the same location. The spines of the caterpillars are known to cause painful stings, as documented in this video (not mine) taken in Costa Rica.
An unidentified species of praying mantis, a dead leaf mimic probably in the genusAcanthops. The photo was also taken in Pernambuco, Brazil (the Tapacurá Ecological Station), in 1977.
Another insect captured in the Pernambuco forest in 1978, the head of a Neotropical stick grasshopper (also known as a jumping stick) in the family Proscopiidae.
A caterpillar with a false eyespot I found at the Tapacurá Ecological Station in 1978, not sure of the species. The larva of a swallowtail butterfly?
An unidentified clear-winged moth, also from Pernambuco, photographed in 1979.
While walking down a dirt road near the Iguazu Falls (on the Argentina side) in 1980 I came upon the decaying corpse of an unlucky dead rabbit. There are at least a half dozen species of butterflies feeding on the nutrients, particularly salts, sugars, and proteins, in the decomposing body. At least three of the butterflies are the “88 butterfly” in the genus Diaethria, with a black and white striped wing pattern that resembles the number 88.
 The last four photos were taken in the U.S. Here’s an unidentified species of cryptic caterpillar I noticed on the bark of a tree in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 1977.
While walking through New Jersey’s Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in 1977 I noticed some movement on a thistle plant, and saw this large Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) feeding on a captured bumblebee.
Also from the New Jersey Great Swamp in 1977, another predator, an unidentified crab spider, waiting for some unsuspecting flying insect to land on these Queen Anne’s lace flowers.
And finally, I photographed this near threatened Pine Barrens tree frog (Hyla andersonii) in 1987 in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Although locally common in some parts of the N.J. pinelands, its populations are threatened by continuing habitat loss. The species has an interesting disjunct distribution (see the map below, from Wikipedia), found only in southern New Jersey, parts of North and South Carolina, and parts of Alabama and the Florida panhandle.

13 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. I’ve only ever seen flies and maggots on decaying animals. Never anything as beautiful as butterflies. That’s fascinating.

  2. Thanks for sharing the gorgeous photos Tom. I especially love Io moths which I know from Costa Rica.

    The images are particularly lovely given that they are scans. My scanned slides are often disappointing. Where do you get your photos scanned? I have several 1000 slides to scan but have not been too happy with the first batches from Scan Cafe.

    1. I never used a slide scanning service. I scanned the slide myself (slowly, very slowly)with a dedicated slide scanner I bought years ago, a Minolta (that shows its age). Using a Mac, Vuescan scanner software still supports this old scanner. I’m sure newer film scanners, including flatbed scanners that can handle 35 mm color slides, give even better results (although color reproduction with Kodachrome is difficult). Just Google “film scanners” for loads of information.

  3. These are amazing photos, for me, especially, the butterflies feeding on the rabbit carcass. I would certainly like to know more about that. I know that some stingless bees feed on rotting meat, but had no idea that there were carnivorous butterflies.

  4. This is a great set of pictures. Thanks Tom for showing these.

    I’m reminded that there are many great wildlife reserves and parks across the US and other countries where you can walk and look and find some wonderful sights.

  5. Thanks for the gorgeous Arthropods and frog. Ribbit! I wonder what is special about pine trees that these frogs enjoy. Seems like their soft skin would be agitated by prickly pine needles.

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