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pauluspaolo

Bug Photos

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Hi all - been trying out my new camera (Ricoh R7 - 8mp, 7x zoom) & so far I've been very impressed with it. It has a function where it'll continue taking photos as long as the shutter button's held down - my idea being that if I hold the shutter button down for long enough, & take enough photos, then at least one of them will turn out to be at least half decent (that's my theory anyway!) :)

We have a newly established nature area on the college grounds - the intention being to attract bugs etc for the taught minibeasting sessions. We've set up a bird feeding station close to this area. I was hoping to find some blue tits (or somesuch) on the feeder, so that I could try out the aforementioned continuous shooting mode, but all I found was a greedy pigeon ...... & that flew off immediately :(!

Anyway I did find this little chap who allowed me to take the following photos before flying off. He(?) is a soldier beetle & they're often seen as mating pairs in June/July & are therefore known as "bonking beetles" apparently (you learn something new every day don't you?). They're carnivorous & feed on other small soft-bodied insects.

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Here's a cropped image of the soldier beetle - cropped from the first photo using MS Office Picture manager :)

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After he'd flown away I moved on to a subject less inclined to bu&&er off - in this case a hydrangea - quite like the contrasting colours in this one (the clear blue of the flower against the darker mottled brown background)!

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:)

Edited by pauluspaolo

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Great pics, Paul...we used to call these beetles 'bloodsuckers'...although they don't, but your 'bonking beetles' name is more apt, because that's all they ever seem to be doing whenever you spot them! I, too, was out in the gardens at work today with my new camera, and spotted these caterpillars...the first one is a Vapourer moth larva on a rose bush, but more impressive were some Eyed Hawk moth larvae that I found on some Willow.

Vapourer moth larva.

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Eyed Hawk moth larva.

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These are pretty large catepillars and are nearly ready to go underground to pupate. In the previous pic, you can see the larva has oblique stripes on its side...when you look at it from directly above, you can see how the stripes look like the veins of the leaf and give superb camouflage.

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As I said , these are pretty impressive beasts...here's one on my little finger to give an idea of size...

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Cont in next post...

Edited by Roger the Dodger

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Wow! Big green caterpillar!! I've not seen one of those before :thumbup: We had quite a congregation of female (flightless) vaporer moths around two particular door frames (wierd) at college a year or two ago - they look like flightless moths (unsurprisingly!) & I was stumped as to what they were until I asked on a wildlife forum! There must have been over a 100 of the things & the odd thing was that they just seemed to like these two doorframes - very odd!

Cool pics - way better than my efforts but I'll keep trying :thumbup:

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Talking of bugs, Gillian spotted these spiders in the hotel grounds while we were on our honeymoon in Kenya last year. The fat bodied one was high up on a wall out of reach (well it was until some kind soul poked it with a stick & it ended up half way down the wall!:blink:!) but the other, slimmer bodied one, was sitting in the middle of its web in a low bush well within easy reach of anyone. I'd put the total length of the abdomen/thorax/head down as being about 3 inches long while the leg span must have been 5 or 6 inches. I'm pretty sure that they're both the same species - no idea which one - presumably the fat bodied one had eaten more recently (a small child maybe!?) They were very impressive & amazing to see so close but I also think they're the most evil/sinster looking things I've ever seen - it's the skull marking (as can be seen on the slimmer, easier to photograph, one) that really gives me the heebie jeebies :scared:

This is the one high up on the wall - that's Gillians hand pointing to it & a standard sized light bulb in the light fitting next to it.

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Another shot of the fat bodied one.

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This is the slimmer bodied one low down in a bush by a path to the pool! Hopefully you can see the skull I mentioned earlier - creepy!

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If anyone knows what species they are I'd be very interested to hear :) :)

Edited by pauluspaolo

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Some great arachnid pics...unfortunately, I don't know much about spiders...I studied entomology at college...however, we do have a rather uncommon visitor to these shores with a similar mark, the aptly named Death's Head Hawk moth, which has a spooky skull like marking on its thorax.

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Out and about in the gardens today...the new camera's getting a real bashing! Red Admiral, and Comma butterflies on Buddleja...

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Next, some insect porn...bonking butterflies (Cabbage Whites) and sh@gging Sheild Bugs!

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Some great bug pics on here :thumbsup:

I bought a macro lens the other week and have been trying to get some insect pics. Nothing exotic from me, just a common wasp and and fly.

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Great shot of the compound eyes in your 2nd pic...reminds me of the the film 'The Fly'...however, I think the protagonist in the 1st shot is a hover fly, not a wasp. Fab pics...the macro lens is a great piece of kit :notworthy: ...on my budget, I'll just have to stick with the point and shoot. :thumbsup:

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Excellent pics, John...I had a stint working in a place that sold tropical and marine fish at a place called 'The Waterlife Studio' when I was into them in a big way...some nice specimens there. The 710 asked me to get the washing off the line last night, and when I picked up the basket, this little girl was underneath...(yes...it's a girl, and not a bug, but I think this thread is going to have to expand its parameters a little!)

Female common toad (Bufo bufo)

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Edited by Roger the Dodger

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I was halfway through an edit to that last post when we had a power cut, so now I'll have to do it in a new one...just noticed in that 2nd pic something I've never seen in in 50 years of interest in insects/reptiles/amphibians...she has nails...or fingertips! Never noticed that before! I wonder if frogs are the same? (Cue loads of frog pics from members...and I don't mean Kermit!)

Edited by Roger the Dodger

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Caterpillars087.jpg

That toad looks alot like my toad...

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Our Hummingbird Hawk Moth from a few years ago:

Bug 3.jpg

And a garden spider:

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And the 2009 plague of tadpoles....we've never had so many before or since:

Tadpoles 20090510 4.jpg

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Fabulous pics, Paul...your toad was obviously happy to pose...mine kept turning away from the camera...that's why, in the end, I had to hold it!

Spotted a few more interesting insects today while tending the gardens...

A very large (1.5" long...compare to the Buddleja flower) hover fly, mimicking a hornet...

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...and an undamaged Peacock butterfly...

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Finally, some Willow sawfly larvae...

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Spotted this one looking a little unwell:

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Quick tip...to distinguish a wasp from a fly...look DMP's pic above (Great pic BTW!)...it's a queen wasp...it has large antennae. Now look at this pic of a hover fly pretending to be a wasp/hornet...no antennae, plus it has large compound eyes...true wasps/bees do have compound eyes, but they're not so obvious.

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Edited by Roger the Dodger

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We were away at out holiday home on the east coast (near Filey/Reighton) this weekend :) This is a great area for wildlife & we saw these two critters - one small & easy to catch the other could only be seen from a distance.

The first is, I think, a small frog - I say "I think" because it was hopping across a road/path we use to access the beach & I thought only frogs hopped (?); however having examined the photo I'm begining to think that it may be a toad as the skin is wrinky/warty & not smooth. Anyone care to offer an opinion? As you can see it was tiny & smaller than the end of one of my fingers. We went to the house last month & there were 100's of these frog/toads - all the same size. We also saw a newt but, needless to say, I didn't have my camera on me :(! This time round we only saw 2 of the frog/toads.

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The other critter wasn't a bug but a bird - a Cormorant I think (it could be a Shag I suppose) sitting quite happily on a post by a small lake/pond. We watched it for about 15mins but didn't see it fishing (unfortunately) & it seemed quite happy to just sit there even though we weren't that far from it :)

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Edited by pauluspaolo

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Nothing much today...found a female speckled bush cricket while I was pruning some roses. You can always tell a female cricket from a male because she has that sword-like ovipositor at the rear end. She uses this to make a slit in a plant stem to lay her eggs. You can also tell a grasshopper from a cricket by the antennae...crickets have long thin ones, and grasshoppers have short ones.

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Strange fact about crickets...their 'ears' are on their front legs...if you glance at the pic above, look at the 'knee joint' between the antennae...just below the knee joint is a pale dimple...that's its ear!

Edited by Roger the Dodger

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Quick tip...to distinguish a wasp from a fly...look DMP's pic above

:D

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Surprisingly taken with my phone :o

Edited by BondandBigM

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I snapped these a couple of years ago, raiding the bird feeders. I imagine there were some bugs hitching a ride. It was near darkness and I didn't have time to fit a flash, so not much detail, and I didn't see the need for macro lens. :D

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Later,

William

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You have the biggest bug(ger)s I've seen yet, Will...reminds me of the old kiddies song...

If you go down to the woods today...you're sure of a big surprise.

If you go down to the woods today...you better go in disguise.

For ev'ry bear that ever there was...will gather there for certain, because,

Today's the day the Teddy bears have their picnic!

I wish we had critters like that in our garden...all we have are foxes, hedgehogs, and next doors bloody cat! (though, happily, not since I got an anti-cat, lazer sighted, ultrasonic sound blaster, which scares the $hit out of it! :lol: :lol: :lol: )

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Remember this chap...Eyed Hawk moth larva about 60mm (just over 2.5" long)?

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Well, I watched them (there were three of them) for another week or so, then one day, one of them started crawling down the tree to pupate. I put it in a pot of soft peat so I could record what happened next. It burrowed down and formed a chamber in the peat and then started to contract.

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Over the next few days, it shortened in length and changed colour...

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Finally, its larval skin split to reveal the pupa. In this pic, this has only just happened, and the pupa (chrysalis) is still pale and soft. You can see the old skin to the left, at the tail end.

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The next morning, the shell of the pupa had darkened and now the entire contents will be broken down and re-arranged into a beautiful moth that will emerge next year. This is quite a large pupa at around 35mm (1.5")

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Found something else while doing my rounds in the gardens today...a crab spider munching a hover fly. These chaps usually hide in a flower the same colour as their body, so this one was rather conspicuous in a blue cornflower...they're called crab spiders because they move sideways like a crab...

Bugpics019.jpg

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Some great bug pics on here :thumbsup:

I bought a macro lens the other week and have been trying to get some insect pics. Nothing exotic from me, just a common wasp and and fly.

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Looks like you have a bug in your computer! :whistle:

Mike

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