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"...mysterious and little known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit. Splendor awaits in minute proportions.”
E.O. Wilson (Biophilia)
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DISCLAIMERI am a photographer, not an entomologist. I do my best to have professionals assist in identifying the subjects of my photographs. However, positive identifications can not always be done unless the specimen is dead and viewed under a microscope. If you do find an error, or have doubts about the identification provided, please let me know in the comments or by email.
Category Archives: Mating
Well, it is finally here.
In November of 2012, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada and the Entomological Society of Alberta kicked off with a great plenary symposium on Arthropod Biodiversity. The speakers were uniformly excellent, featuring Dr. Daniel Rubinoff on The evolution of extraordinary biodiversity in Hawaii’s endemic insects, followed by Dr. Jeremy Kerr on Detecting and predicting global impacts on butterflies in Canada and then closing with a most delightful talk by Dr. Wayne Maddison on “Jumping Spider Melodies“. Even before I had finished packing up the equipment, I was approached by the fly-guy, Morgan Jackson, saying that his tweets had resulted in requests for some way to access a recording of the talk on Jumping Spiders. With Dr. Maddison’s permission, and with his Power Point slides, I stitched together the following video. Final permissions from Dr.Damian Elias came in last week, so the video is now ready for viewing. Although the video quality is not great, the content is fascinating!
From the printed introduction to the lecture:
The beautiful diversity of jumping spiders holds patterns that are replicated across phylogeny. In the genus Habronattus, multiple evolutionary origins of Y sex chromosomes are associated with distaltoward the end chiasmata, supporting a proposed constraint hypothesis. In the family as a whole, large-scale evolutionary radiations have occurred in different continental regions independently, yielding similar spectra of body forms and ecologies in each region.
(Any errors in the following reconstruction are my own: please notify me of any problems in the comments)
Please see the supplementary videos and charts…. Continue reading
This pair of hover flies (Syrphidae,
possibly Allograpta obliqua Genus Sphaerophoria¹) stand out strongly against a black background. In the days of film, when many cameras only had a flash sync. speed of 1/60 sec., and you were shooting with low ISO film, almost all backgrounds would be black, unless your subject was positioned very near the background. In this case, the flies were resting on a stem in front of a very cluttered background on a shaded grassy verge beside a stream. Using a handheld camera with a 180mm macro lens, rapid light fall-off from a strong flash overpowered the daylight ensuring that the subject was correctly exposed while the background remained dark. (ISO 400, 1/200 sec. @f13)
What else makes this image work? The eyes of both flies are at the intersection of thirds–the (simplified) golden rule guideline of design.
¹Edited on the 18 December, 2011. ID by Martin Hauser at BugGuide.
The cabbage white (Pieris rapae) is often held in disdain–an old world butterfly that plagues farmers and gardeners who dare to grow cabbage or broccoli. But seen up close they are more than just a pest, more than just a ‘white’ butterfly. The pale yellow-green underwings, peppered with tiny spots, have a delicate beauty all of their own.
And who can’t appreciate those speckled grey-green eyes?
N.B – Coincidentaly, Blackbird out at BugBlog has also posted on P. rapae today. Visit Small white or small ultraviolet butterfly? for more info. on the science of what female cabbage whites find attractive in a mate. A cool photograph of a bilateral gynandromorph is also featured.
(Photographed in the garden on golden ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Dart’s Gold’)