Hornet, chilly September morning in Normal, Illinois. It was windy, so I had to hold the stalk still with left hand and take picture with right hand. Mister Hornet didn't seem to mind. Be sure to magnifying glass icon for a closer look. (Pentax W60)
Just a thumbnail of the hornet picture, to be the album cover for this album.
Seagull and wave. I like the sunlight coming through the water. "I'm thinkin', maybe, it's time to take off now!" Shoreline Lake Michigan. (Canon S5-IS)
Seagull: The shutter speed's high enough to hide it, but this little guy is running hell-bent for leather off stage left. Shoreline Lake Michigan, September '09. (Canon S5-IS)
EdK informs me this is a "wheel bug, not friendly". It kind of reminds me of the giant brain-sucking bug from "Starship Troopers" Wikipedia says it uses that huge proboscis to inject its victims with soft-tissue-dissolving enzymes. Apparently it will do that to your hand if you pick it up, resulting in a painful bite.
More in its life cycle here: http://scienceblogs.com/myrmecos/2010/05/answer_to_the_monday_night_mys_3.php
Some kind of moth, or butterfly. What distinguishes a moth from a butterfly? And are those eyeballs on the end of the antennae? Those little flowers are about 6mm diameter.
Spider, Jus' relaxin', waitin' for a bug...
Soybean aphid, of which we endured a swarm for more than a week in Central Illinois, 2009. They'd get in your clothes, your hair, your ears, your nostrils, your eyes... This little guy is TINY; those are the ridges of my fingerprint he's standing on.
Corn plant roots, Sep '09
Spider eating fly, Sept '09. Note the spinneret. Canon S5-IS in spot meter mode.
May 2010 in Normal, Illinois. This little guy was only an inch long, but wow could he MOVE!
Sand grass, shore lake Michigan
Ivy on brick wall, Sep '09. Pentax W60.
Winged ant, presumably on her way to form a new colony.
Rabbit X 0.5
Crows, like most corvids, are intelligent creatures. I am almost certain they are aware of their own existence. Is it possible they have a religion? Or is that a peculiarly human failing?
Turkey vulture over Mississippi at Hannibal, Missouri. I would judge the wingspan on this fellow to be in the neighborhood of six feet.
Amazing to think of such a complex structure coming from a spore.
Someone must have said; "Free pizza!"
I don't know what these three were up to. Just kids clowning around, maybe.
Adapted to a different way of making a living, but a modern descendant of the dinosaurs all the same. Alas, glass windows do kill birds, accounting for this one. It is strange to me that people worry about the comparatively smaller number of birds lost to windmills (modern ones kill fewer) or housecats (as if predation were a new idea) while our cities are covered with perfectly vertical windows. Angling the window downward solves this problem.
Thistle, North of Normal
Detail of thistle. Be sure to check out the enlarged view. Popular legend has it that thistles - and many other things in nature - contain Fibonacci number sequences. And they sort of do, but not exactly:
Some kind of tiny beetle. It looks like a ladybug, but it isn't. It was crawling around on this painted surface, apparently slurping up tiny droplets of water like the one at bottom left. I wonder what significance the small circle of spots could have.
Hornet and cola. Mmmmm! Nom nom nom. It was interesting to watch his abdomen contract as he slurped up microlitre cola gulps.
Do you suppose it was diet cola and he was being fooled? (Sugar's pretty important to an insect) Would the caffeine have any effect on him? Do hornets get the jitters?
Honeybee and tiny flowers. Japanese beetle in background.
Alas, poor Patches; I knew him well. He was my good friend and I didn't know that he'd gotten lost, probably disabled by one of the strokes he had occasionally toward the end. He was a very, very good cat. He was only 80 feet from my back door on a cold November night. If I'd known he was missing I'd have looked for him without end so he could die more comfortably.
Be vewy, vewy qwiet...
Feather in grass. No reason, I just liked them together.
Never. EVER. Put. Oil. Down. A. Storm. Drain.
A bagworm cocoon.
Bagworm emerging from cocoon. These creatures disguise their cocoons with parts of the plant on which they feed.
Bagworm emerging from its cocoon. This one is spinning around in midair, suspended on a single thread.
Wheel bug devouring a hornet
wheel bug devouring a hornet
Ash Borer described in a display at a rest stop on an Illinois highway. Taking a driving break, I read the display with interest but didn't think much about it at the time. It showed how to identify the damage done to the trees. See the following photos in the series for when it became more relevant to me...
Tree with borer damage. Note the crown dieback, and the epicormic shoots. Wonder if it'll have bark splits, sinuous wood channels, and d-shaped exit holes? Let's take a closer look in the next few pictures.
Here's another view of the tree. Note the gas station in the background. It'll become relevant in a moment.
Close-up view of the trunk. Yep, split bark, also known as fissures surrounding the epicormic shoots.
Split bark here. Oh look: two exit holes!
Another view of fissures and epicormic shoots
Sinuous channels carved into the wood where the borers grew to bug-hood
An exit hole. Success, from the borer's point of view. Tree is dying though.
Another exit hole.
Notice the crown dieback and epicormic shoots. And the gas station in the background.
The whole row of trees has crown dieback and epicormic shoots. How could that be related to the gas station in the background?
Aha! The gas station sells firewood. Wonder where it's from? Anyway it is in close proximity to the ash trees with the borer damage. The wood has some kind of seal on it that could mean it was inspected - how closely or by whom we don't know. The slogan here in Illinois is: "DON'T MOVE FIREWOOD!"
1.25mm bug captured by son and girlfriend, imprisoned in Carbonite... uh, I mean, transparent tape. Placed on stereoscopic dissection scope with light beneath stage, and photographed with Lenovo tablet through eyepiece. Nearly transparent to the eye, so I enhanced the contrast of this picture using Gimp.
Was found in a book. My son looked it up and says it's a book louse. http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/booklice
I've had this microscope since about 1966. It was a gift from my dad, and i still cherish and use it today.
Where the hell did that squirrel go?
Look out hawk; your squirrel tormentor is behind you
Squirrel confronts hawk
Freaked out by tormenting squirrel, Hawk's feathers are literally ruffled.
Squirrel charges hawk; it jumps in the air to avoid being hit by pissed-off squirrel. After three such charges the hawk gave up and flew away.
it was a windy day. These 2 (?) bird skeletons fell out of a nest in parking garage. From the looks of them it was quite a while ago. Why did they die together, in the nest?
The two bird skeletons (see previous picture) , lifted from the ground and photographed on a plain background.
Thousands of crows spend the winter in our campus. Here are several hundred of them. Walking under those trees is nervous work.
Then the squirrel looked up from her fallen friend, saw our stopped car, and hurried on to safety.
Bunny has been sitting on this spot for over a week. I believe little bunnies are in the offing, just in time for my cat to find them. I'm not happy about this, because my cat is too old to be eating baby bunnies - it could make him very sick.
The aforementioned bunny in context
Skeptical Bunny isn't buying any of this.
I believe this to be skeptical bunny from the previous frame. How transient are the lives of even the cute and furry.
Little spider hunting on the wilds of my garage door. At his scale, vertical and horizontal mean nothing.
Bluejay fledgeling on the ground, with his parents circling around. Parents drove off some crows that were harassing it. Fly, little fellow!
Little Robin here was thirty feet away and fifteen feet up in a tree, but it kept a sharp eye on my every move. That, gentle reader, is vigilance.
This is a good-sized rat. I found her freshly dead in the courtyard of the building where I work, having attracted the attention of three crows. But likely she fell prey to a raptor who was then driven off by the crows. Ultimately the prize was denied to both applicants because I put her in the trash. Now the question is: will her pups survive?
Little spider about to go over a 5 mm cliff.
Sporty little fellow, isn't he?
To his natural prey, he's a terrifying monster. Of course his natural prey would look like a speck to us. To you and I, he's just a cute 'lil spider. He was about three millimeters stem to stern.
Stay back, incomprehensibly gigantic creature! I'll try to bite you with my microscopic fangs!
A thoughtful moment for tiny lil' spider.
A defensive posture. It would be analogous to me threatening an aircraft carrier with my bare hands.
The appearance of pupils in this little fellow's eyes is an artifact of using a ringlight to take the picture. But it does make him even cuter - almost playful - to a tetrapod weighing 10^8 times more. Alien as we are to each other - separated by hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary divergence - we still have in common many critical genes that regulate cellular metabolism. Somewhere back in deep time we shared an ancestor.
(The crow is lying face down with its head curled under its body. I have never seen a deceased bird in this position before.)
A dead lawn near my home, after the drought of 2012. It had been a pampered mono-culture. The "neglected" lawns on either side came through just fine. I read somewhere that pampered lawns don't develop good root systems, and this may be an example of that phenomenon.
Hunting spider I found in a hallway. Helps keep our college relatively insect-free.
He's built for speed! Note the racing stripes.
This little plant is about three inches wide. It lives on a heavily-traveled footpath on campus, and probably gets stepped on fifty times a day.
Prairie grass seed. This is just a decorative planting in downtown Normal but it's stunning to imagine what the prairie must have looked like this time of year as the sun fell on the grass...
Murder at Milner Library
Hanging spiderwebs in my basement. To enter a world of alien horror, you only need a magnifying glass.
A skunk lives here, I think.
A milkweed bug, I'm told. A difficult exposure problem in hard sunlight on a white vinyl window frame.
Hole in a tree on Normal Avenue. When last I looked into this hole, it was full of water but there was no grass clippings or debris in it. Now it's got a little carpet. I think for the comfort of whatever critter lives deeper in and probably, higher up.
Found this little fellow wandering around on the sidewalk. He seemed disoriented, and in any case there's nothing on the sidewalk that would be of interest to a bumblebee. I hope he hadn't gotten a dose of insecticide.
Isopodia 'been gettin' freaky for 300 million years
"Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'"
- Edgar Allen Poe
Found her guarding her egg sac, but had to remove it from the object that was to be moved into a desolate dry basement. Carefully lifted the sac with a stick, and placed it in the bush. Her babies will have much more to eat when they emerge.
31 July 2013, saw this little fellow on Normal Avenue on the way to work. C'mon, people, slow down. It's a residential street.
I wonder if this poor beetle was in pursuit of the tiny bug in front of it, when it became hopelessly stuck on the foam mounting tape behind the room sign? But even in death, he's a pretty little bug.
I noticed a bat house up in a tree in a neighbor's yard. Took picture, met neighbors John and Bethany, nice people who like wildlife. Hence bat house.
John told story: One of his neighbors asked what the box was. "It's a bat house," he said. Neighbor was puzzled; "How do you get the bats out after they go in there, and what do you do with them?"
If you've never thought of bat houses before, here's the idea: "An individual bat can eat up to 2,000 mosquito-size insects nightly"...
Bug in late Fall asks; "Will you still love me when I'm old and speckled brown?"
(If memory serves, these little bugs are green in the Spring.)
Bug in walnut veneer, take 4
Turn the veneer over, see the bug's fibrous cocoon...
I took several pictures of the insect that had ensconced its transformative stage into the space under the veneer.
Bug in walnut veneer, take 3
On my way to lunch, spotted this little Japanese beetle having his...
Found this little fellow on the back porch this evening, bravely fending off the interest of my elderly cat...
An ant battle, perhaps?
Close-up of possible ant battle
The Fate Of Two Trees
Rode through a cloud of these little bugs on the way home. They're really tiny; the fabric you see here is my twill shirt. Each of the furrows in that fabric is about 0.5mm across, which makes this bug just a bit under 3mm total. Anyone know what it is?
Cleaned out the gutters this evening. We have an amorous maple tree next to the house.
If you want to photograph an ant, do it on a chilly day; they move a lot slower. This one, a carpenter ant about 10mm in length, surprised me by crawling out of a concrete structure.