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Archive for the ‘Bugs’ Category

Yesterday my friend and photography mentor Cindy Dyer and I were photographing flowers in different parts of her garden when she excitedly called out to me that she had spotted a ladybug inside one of the irises. I rushed over and spotted a tiny Multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis) feverishly crawling around inside of a beautiful yellow bearded iris.

I had a mental picture of composing an image in which the viewer would looking from the outside into the interior of the flower.  That meant that I could not get too close to the ladybug. It also meant that the ladybug had to cooperate by crawling into the right part of the frame. I watched and waited and eventually was able to capture the kind of artsy image that I had imagined.

ladybug in iris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I love ladybugs and was thrilled to spot this one on Monday at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. When I posted this photo on Facebook, one viewer noted that this is a Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia axyridis), a non-native species that has become the most common species in the United States since it was deliberately introduced into the country in 1916 in an attempt to control the spread of aphids.

How can you tell a native ladybug from the Asian ladybug? Several sources on-line note that the Asian ladybug has a white marking behind its head in the openings of what looks like a black M, as you can see on the ladybug in my photo. If you are interested in learning more about the differences, check out this fascinating article at thespruce.com, The Differences Between Ladybugs and Asian Lady Beetles.

Whether native or not, this ladybug in my eyes is beautiful. If you want to see something really cool, click on the photo and check out the details on the ladybug’s front foot. I never knew that ladybugs have two tiny toes.

 

ladybug

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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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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