I am running dangerously low on photos, and worry that I will have to cancel this feature or make it more sporadic. If you have good wildlife (or “street”) photos, please send them in pronto. If you’re an American, you have a long weekend coming up to peruse your photos.
All photographers’ words and captions are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.
We have a potpourri today, the first coming from reader Jonathan Storm.
I found this dead grasshopper on an eastern hemlock in the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina. It was killed by an entomopathogenic fungus last summer or fall. These fungi are parasites that infect and eventually kill their insect host. Last summer, a fungal spore landed on this grasshopper and worked its way into the body cavity. The fungus then grew and spread until it killed the grasshopper. Several fruiting bodies of the fungus later grew out of the grasshopper and released their spores into the breeze. Some of these spores will then infect a new insect host and the cycle continues.
A gorgeous Cyclops moth (Antheraea polyphemus) from reader Smith Powell, photographed by Jennifer Lawson:
My granddaughter, Jennifer Lawson, photographed this moth on 02 May 2021 in the family yard in Arlington, Texas. I think this is the prettiest photograph that I have seen of Antheraea polyphemus.
As I’m not a biologist, I had no idea what it was, but I was quickly able to identify it as the Cyclops moth. Indeed, several websites so identify it and note that it is named for the race of one-eyed Cyclops famously described in the Odyssey. The sites even say that Cyclops means one-eyed.
But, it doesn’t! Besides, this moth has two eyespots. Cyclops means “round eye”. And this photograph shows the eyespots as very round or spherical.
Jennifer’s father, Clint, told me, “ We used to tell our baseball umpires ‘if you had another eye you’d be a cyclops ‘“.
And a pair of Great Tits from reader Pyers:
A Great Tit (Parus major) saying hello from the nest box in my garden:
And have a female Great Tit. the even more cute partner of the one I sent you the other day 🙂