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Archive for the ‘Bugs’ Category

Milkweed plants provide a wonderful habitat for all kinds of creatures, including this Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) that I spotted earlier this week at Green Spring Gardens. These  bugs go through a fascinating series of physical transformations as they move though different nymph phases. A little over six years ago, I studied these bugs  pretty closely and documented their stages of development in a posting that I called Life phases of the large milkweed beetle. Be sure to check it out for more information and fascinating photos of these colorful little bugs.

I really like the combination of colors in this simple shot, colors that remind me a little of Christmas. However, I doubt that anyone would choose to feature this image on their annual Christmas card. 🙂

Large Milkweed Bug

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Insect identification is really tough for me. When I saw this insect crawling about on the top of what I believe is a Shasta daisy, I was pretty sure that it was a beetle. Beyond that, I really had no idea what it was. A quick search on the internet made me conclude that it was a kind of scarab beetle.

I posted a photo on the website bugguide.net and asked for help. Responders provided a couple of possibilities and it looks most likely that this is an Oriental Beetle (Exomala orientalis) or (Anomala orientalis). In some ways it’s not that important to identify my subject, but it is something that I strive to do as much as I can and I usually end up learning a lot in the process of figuring out what I have shot.

I took quite a few shots of this beetle and especially like this one, because the beetle raised its head momentarily and I was able to get a look at its cool forked antennae. I also like the way I was able to capture some of the drops of water on the petals of the daisy.

In case any viewer is worried that I have given up on dragonflies, I can reassure you that I still have shots of lots of beautiful dragonflies to be posted and am always seeking more. I just figured that I would mix things up a little and provide a little glimpse at the world through my macro lens.

Oriental Beetle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love ladybugs but don’t see them very often.  I was therefore pretty happy on Monday when I spotted this one crawling around in the vegetation at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetlands Refuge. So often a ladybug will keep its head so close to the vegetation that it’s hard to see it, but this one cooperated by raising its head, almost like it was posing for me.

ladybug

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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While exploring Meadowood Recreation Area in Lorton, VA last month with fellow photographer Walter Sanford, I observed this Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus americanus) perched in the vegetation at the edge of a small pond. The bug’s size and its pose remind me of a tree frog—it’s over 2 inches (5 cm) long.
I have since learned that these bugs are nicknamed “toe-biters” and am happy that I didn’t get too close to it.
Giant Water Bug
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Late in the summer, there is a great abundance of flying and crawling insects—they are everywhere. I enjoy photographing many of them and generally I will try to identify my subjects when I post their photos.

In this case, however, I didn’t get a close enough view or a sharp enough shot of this cool-looking insect for me to be confident in any identification. (Alas, the photo is clear enough for me to realize that I need to clean my camera’s sensor, for I can see a bunch of stops in the beautiful background of what is often called “sensor dust.”)

Still, I really like the insect’s pose at the top of the vegetation, a pose that somehow brings to mind the “King of the World” moment in the movie Titanic.

bug

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As we move deeper into spring, I am increasingly walking around with my macro lens on my camera and I view anything that moves (and some that don’t) as a potential subject. I recently captured some images of a shield bug that I spotted on a rotten bug. Most often people refer to these insects as “stink bugs,” but I figured I’d attract more readers with the word “shield” than with the word “stink.” There are a lot of different kinds of shield/stink bugs and I have not been able to identify the species of my little bug.

The bug was quite active and I remembered again how difficult it is to stop action when using a macro lens at close range. I am pretty happy with the shots I was able to get. The first one gives a good view of the shield shape and shows how well camouflaged this species is for the environment. The second images shows some of the details of the back and I can’t help but love the simple, smooth background. The final image shows the bug resting for a moment, having successfully made it to the top of an obstacle.

After a winter with few macro subjects to photograph, I am relearning a few techniques and rekindling my excitement for insects and other macro subjects. I’m pretty confident that you’ll be seeing a lot of macro shots in the upcoming weeks and months.

stink bugstink bug

stink bug

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s difficult not to feel a bit like a voyeur when you spot a pair of ladybugs mating. They consummate the act in public view and their bold coloration makes them almost impossible to miss. Still, there is just something loveable about ladybugs and I doubt that many readers will find these images objectionable.

ladybug1A_love_blogladybug2_love_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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