Readers’ wildlife photos

June 2, 2022 • 8:00 am

We’re suffering from a dearth of photos, and though I’ve intended to make this feature more sporadic, it is close to being on its last legs. If you have GOOD photos, please send them in. Thanks.  And let’s thank all the readers who go to the trouble to create these posts!

Today’s batch comes from regular Mark Sturtevant, who, fortunately, will always have photos. His captions and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Let’s start with some Hemipterans. The first three pictures are of an ambush bug (Phymata pennsylvanica). These are predatory insects that lurk in flowers to nab visiting pollinators. Although only about a quarter inch long, they are quite capable of taking a large bee. The pictures are focus-stacked from a few dozen pictures, taken with the help of the Helicon Fb tube and then merged with Zerene Stacker software.

Next up is a flat planthopper from the genus Cixius

And the last of the Hemipterans is my favorite planthopper, Apache degeeri. They are found by meandering down forest trails and carefully inspecting the underside of leaves. Here’s one of at least three species of Derbids that I find this way. They are reluctant to jump away, so careful handling produced this quick hand-held focus stack from a few pictures. 

Next up is the well camouflaged northern marbled grasshopper (Spharagemon marmoratum), which favors ground cover with lichens into which it disappears. The third picture is an adult. 

The unsavory looking flies in the next picture are a mating pair of bee-mimicking robber flies (Laphria sp.) These are common on the ground cover in the woods over much of the summer. 

The final picture is another suspicious looking fly. This is the scaly bee fly (Lepidophora lepidocera). They are nectar feeders as adults, but the larvae are parasites of wasps. 

Thank you for looking!

8 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Gorgeous…and inspiration for this scientist/artist: that flat planthopper would make a lovely mosaic…

  2. Great photographs.
    I see the ‘ambush bugs’ have a kind if mantis-like claws, good example of convergent evolution?

  3. That ambush bug looks like a Star Wars creature. All the photos were excellent, of course, and thanks for the introduction of the scaly bee fly. Looks like a blood sucker, but not!

  4. Just extraordinary and some real gems in there. The ambush bug is quite remarkable. I’ve not seen anything quite like it here in Australia. Thanks for these photos

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