Readers’ wildlife photos

Today’s submission is from reader Mark Jones, whose captions and IDs are indented. (I’m not sure why the text is embedded in white boxes.)

A few macros of insects I’ve spotted in the garden and on lockdown walks, all near my home in West Sussex. First, a sloe bug (Dolycoris baccarum) swimming in a dandelion head. The intricate colours are pretty amazing for something so small.

A scorpionfly (Mecoptera) on some barley. Looks a bit like the Alien.

Ants (maybe Lasius flavus?) farming some aphids (looks like Aphis fabae). I saw a nondescript dark patch on a green stalk in the garden, but I couldn’t see what it was exactly (I didn’t have my glasses on!). I figured it out only when I looked at the photos on the computer.

A ladybird (maybe Coccinella septempunctata?):

A cucumber green spider (Araniella cucurbitina).

And a dandelion (Taraxacum) clock close-up, for a change from the bugs.

26 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Intriguing

    I know it might sound strange but the colors and composition on some of these remind me of heady 1970’s pulp fiction or classical recording artwork for some reason – hard to put a finger on it.

    Favorite: grasshopper.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      [ writes “grasshopper” hopefully ]
      [ posts comment ]
      [ looks at relevant picture ]

      Scorpionfly

      • Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        TBH, I thought it was a grasshopper when I took it, but closer inspection revealed the truth!

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          “… closer inspection revealed the truth!”

          And with that, Monday is off to a great start here on Why Evolution Is True – The Website!

  2. Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Mark, your photos are beautiful and inspiring!

  3. Jacques Hausser
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Nice pictures, even taken without glasses 😉
    The ladybird is not the local Coccinella septempunctata, but the invasive species Harmonia axyridis, aka the asian ladybeetle. It was introduced in Europe to fight aphids and (as usual) became a real pest. They have the bad habit to gather in autumn in the bunches of grapes, what gives an ugly taste to the wine…
    And the ants are not Lasius (Formicidae), but some Myrmicidae (recognized by their double-noded petiole).

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Many thanks, Jacques, for the corrections!

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      We have the Asian ladybugs too. By far the most common species from that family now, as native species have declined sharply.

  4. Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Fantastic pictures, Mark! And I am rather jealous of your diffused lighting and dreamy out-of focus backgrounds. Very nice work!

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Thanks Mark; I think your macros are plenty dreamy enough!

    • EdwardM
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Seconded! Exquisite.

  5. Posted June 8, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    OMG, these pictures are breath taking. The super closeup of nature and its beautiful colors. Keep posting such beautiful captures.

  6. Posted June 8, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    At first I thought that seed head of the dead dandelion was some sort of strange bug.

  7. Posted June 8, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Stunning photos! I thought of alien landscapes too..

  8. Posted June 8, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Your work is simply marvellous, Mark. I love the ladybeetle the best; it woke me up from a very warm afternoon stupor.

  9. Posted June 8, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos Mark. Whatever lens you are using has gorgeous bokeh!

  10. Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Whatever grass that scorpionfly is perched on, it’s not barley. Barley (Hordeum vulgare) has thick spikes, the spikelets sessile (or nearly so) on the axis of the inflorescence. Maybe Holcus (velvetleaf)?

  11. Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Those photos are amazing! Beautiful focus and details.

  12. Mark R.
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    These are all beautiful. A rainbow of colors and intricate insects.

  13. dtaylor
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    That sloe bug is so beautiful, I’ll use it as my screen saver for awhile. Dazzling! Such sumptuous colors. Thanks for sharing!

  14. tjeales
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    As others have said, I too am jealous of the the diffuse light, the dream-like pastel tones and wonderful bokeh in the background. A lot of it looks like natural light and some in-fill flash yes? Really outstanding. Love your work. The scorpion fly is the highlight for me

  15. Marcello S. Nicola
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    I love this feature, how can I send my own “bug photos”?

  16. Posted June 9, 2020 at 2:58 am | Permalink

    Thanks all for the kind comments. These photos are all taken in the wild and naturally lit, but the appearance of some in-fill is achieved in Lightroom. TBH, I prefer the effect I get without flash, but with a little post-processing.

    • Posted June 9, 2020 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

      Likewise: Lighten shadows in LR is great.

      It saved a lot of Kodachrome 64 slide scans for me. 🙂


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