When it’s too hot to take photographs outside, I can always go down to my basement to photograph camel crickets (“sprickets” to many). I know, lucky me. But if you have a moist basement, you probably have them, too. The ones below are the introduced species (I think), Diestrammena asynamora, from Asia. They drive me nuts. So much so that I wasted time collecting ways to get rid of them (see my page, “Getting rid of camel crickets“, if you’re interested). The list is not 100% effective, as photographs attest, but at least I don’t have thousands of them anymore.
Category Archives: Photography
After agonizing over the identification of hornworm larvae for years, I’ve developed two tricks that I’d like to share. Tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta) caterpillars have stripes (seven of them), so remember that by thinking of Lucky Strikes cigarettes. Horn is usually red or red-tipped, like a cigarette. Also, tobacco gives you dark teeth and lungs … and tobacco hornworms have black shadows on their stripes. Tomato hornworms (Manduca quinquemaculata) have eight chevrons (Vs), which you can remember by thinking of V8 juice, which is primarily tomato juice. Here’s the graphic you can share with friends who might have it wrong:
If you can, please spread the word … most of the tens of thousands of tobacco hornworm photographs on the internet are misidentified as tomato hornworms. Even Wikipedia page for tomato hornworm shows tobacco hornworm larvae (I’m working on it …). The problem is that tobacco hornworm eats tomatoes, and people with fancy cameras grow a lot of tomatoes.
Photograph of tomato hornworm from Amanda Hill.
When I first saw these two damselflies from afar I assumed they were mating (en flagrante delicto), but upon closer examination, they weren’t (more en flagrante delicio). Damselfly on the left is probably in the genus Enallagma, but I’m happy to be corrected if you disagree. I’m also unsure of what who the dinner is. Photographed at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Tinicum, Pennsylvania.
Below are some photographs of Eastern boxelder bugs (Boisea trivittata) I took recently at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum, Pennsylvania. These true bugs are fun to watch — richly colored, morphologically variable (they go through numerous instars), and often shockingly gregarious. They move a lot, too, so rather annoying to get a decent photograph.
Here are some photographs of a nursery web spider (Pisaurina mira) along with approximately 75 newly hatched spiderlings. She guards the hatchlings until they are older. The adult was a thing of beauty, especially when viewed large so you can see the hairs. There was a red milkweed beetle head on a nearby leaf, and the plant itself was devoid of anything but spiders. Hunting spiders like this one probably don’t help monarch populations.
I’ve never seen them do it, but apparently the adults are completely comfortable on water, and can even submerge themselves if threatened. They’re related to fishing spiders, so that’s not a complete surprise.
Photographed at Natural Lands Trust’s Hildacy Farm Preserve in Media, Pennsylvania. I can’t find any information on whether this species is native to North America, other than finding it listed on invasive.org. The species also is distributed in western Europe.