Readers’ wildlife photos

November 4, 2021 • 8:00 am

Today we have insect and spider photos from reader Emilio D’Alise. His notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.

All of these were taken in Monument, Colorado, where we maintained multiple flowerbeds with diverse annual and perennial flowers. This allowed for many successful Bug Safaris. Here’s a small sample from one hour worth of ‘hunting’ on a July day of 2015.

Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia): The first fellow (likely a fellow because of the small size, but it could also be a gal) was on an unopened bud of a Stella D’Oro plant, and quickly scampered out of sight. The next specimen was inside one of the flowers and just sat there, posing for me.

Flower Fly or Hoverflies are fairly numerous and it can be a bit of an effort identifying a particular specimen. My guess for the following is Toxomerus insignis, part of a large genus of hoverflies.

Common Green Bottle Fly (Lucilla sericata): Despite an apparent color mismatch, the description fits: “light metallic yellow-green or coppery green overall.” I’m not a big fan of houseflies (although they too can be fascinating at the macro level), but the flies I come across in flower gardens are interesting and, dare I say, beautiful.

Ladybugs (Coccinellidae) are varied and widespread, and I’ve yet to be completely sure about identifying individuals. For instance, the first photo looks to me as a Coccinella septempunctata or seven-spot ladybug. The next two photos show it encountering what I think is a Harmonia axyridis or Asian ladybeetle . . . but I could be wrong. I thought they were going to fight, but it looked like one kissed the forehead of the other and then went on its way.

Beetles can be tough to identify (the insects, not the members of the band), as exemplified by this handsome fellow which, despite previous and current efforts, I still can’t identify. I have some candidates, but nothing I’ve seen quite matches it. At best as I can guess, it’s a type of Click Beetle.

Now, this guy (or gal) looks fierce, and, in fact, when I’m near a bug I don’t know, I’m always weary . . . but I needn’t have worried as I’m not a cricket. That’s right; it’s a Steel-blue Cricket Hunter (Chlorion aerarium).

Lastly, swallowtails are some of my favorite butterflies. They can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between the Easter and Western Swallowtails, and the Canadian Swallowtail is often misidentified as one of those two . . . but this one was easy; it’s a Two-tailed Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio multicaudata). I first spotted it on the Yarrow, then the daisies, then some other flowers, but it never stopped long enough for me to snap a photo. I followed it from the backyard to the front yard where it gave me exactly two half-second opportunities to snap these two photos.

22 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Beautiful photos, especially (for me) the spiders, and to a lesser extent, the butterfly.

    Regarding the ladybugs: Isn’t the Coccinella genus the one that also includes those bugs they use to make red food dye?

    1. Thank you. I don’t photograph many spiders because I don’t see many.

      I think so about ancient(?) dyes, but not these days (red food dye is from petroleum products, I think).

  2. Your mystery beetle doesn’t make my click-beetle-detector click. Perhaps there are some oddballs among that group that I don’t know though. (Plus, Brandon Woo’s suggestion looks perfect.) Thanks for the gorgeous pics!

  3. The mystery beetle is a member of the family Carabidae [or, “carabids” for short].
    You can see this in the left front leg of the beetle where it is silhouetted agains the flower.
    See the notch on the inside near the end of the lower leg, just before the foot?
    You have to look really closely at this scale!
    That notch is for cleaning the antennae of the beetle.
    And all carabids — but no other beetles — have this nifty device.
    [I know something about this as some carabids have been named for me.]

  4. These colorful photos brightened my day (where it’s grey and rainy). Exceptional snaps that make me miss Summer! Thanks. 🙂

    1. Thank you. All those are from the flowerbeds we had in Colorado. My SmugMug libraries has many, many flowers and bugs combinations resulting from countless bug safaris in my then yard.

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