Today’s photos come from Scott Goeppner, a Ph.D. candidate in Integrative Biology at Oklahoma State University. His narratives and captions are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.
During the spring, summer, and fall, many of the hedges and flowerpots around Oklahoma State University have flourishing insect populations. All of these photos were taken on hedges and flowerpots on OSU’s campus from August – November of 2021.
White lined sphinx moth (Hyles lineata) – An enormous moth that from a distance looks like a small hummingbird. They are common on campus but difficult to photograph because they do not like to land.
Question mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis) – Named for the white question mark shaped marking that you can see on the outer wing. These are common in Stillwater in the summer and fall.
A resh cicada (Megatibicen resh) in the middle of a sidewalk at night. Cicadas are very common on campus during the summer and early fall and they make quite a bit of noise at night.
A Common Short-tailed Cricket (Anurogryllus arboreus) located in the same area as the cicada.
A cardinal jumping spider (Phidippus cardinalis) hanging out in a flower pot and waiting to ambush some unfortunate pollinating insect. Its coloration is an example of Batesian mimicry as its red coloration resembles wasps in the family Mutillidae which have a nasty sting. This one was missing a leg on its right side, though, so I guess it’s not foolproof!
Red-shouldered stinkbug (Thyanta custator accerra) sitting in a hedge.
A paper wasp (Polistes sp.) landing on a hedge. It flew off again almost immediately.
A black caterpillar hunter (Calosoma sayi) eating a dead cicada outside of the Life Sciences West building where I work. I’m not sure if it actually killed the cicada or just happened to come across the carcass.
A bold jumping spider (Phidippus audax) who was considerate enough to sit still for a focus-stacked photo. While these spiders are quite common, they usually don’t sit still long enough to take close up focus-stacked photos. I think this one may have been suffering from cold; temperatures in Oklahoma swing from the 70s to the 40s during the fall, and this was taken on a 40-degree day. This species has bright blue chelicerae which you can just make out in the photo.