Category Archives: News

Memory Catcher: Kleianne’s Wish

You have to admire someone, who, although facing adversity, turns her young mind to macro photography:

Well done Kleianne, it was nice to see you and your work on the video!  Thanks to Nicole Beart of Memory Catcher for producing the video and Make-a-Wish Northern Alberta for granting Kleianne’s wish.

Updates: Workshop Calendar and more…

♦ It almost seems strange that my business plan is actually on track! As I mentioned last year, that besides the small-group macro workshops, I also hoped to be offering classes in 2014. Well, it has happened! Thanks to The Ellis Bird Farm, Olds College and MacEwan University, I now have photography classes available in a variety of locations in central Alberta. Check out Summer Workshops 2014 for the classes that are this Spring and Summer.

♦ The small-group workshops will continue, but now only by request. So if you would rather learn at a conversational level, with four people or less per group, contact me and we will arrange something! Scheduled Small Group Workshops will begin again in winter.

♦ Don’t forget to join the Alberta Macro Workshop page on Facebook! It’s open to all, whether you plan on taking a workshop or not. I will regularly add links on macro techniques and to other macro workshops, anywhere in the world.

♦ Want to be on my link list? If you have or know of a blog or website that regularly features entomology and/or macro photography, let me know and I’ll add you to the list. I am also interested in building new links with photographers who specialize in other areas of macro nature photography–fungi, mosses, lichens, water life etc.

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Pavel Krásenský Photographs Mating Strepsiptera

This is one of an amazing sequence photographed by Pavel Krásensky 

Male Strepsiptera approaching bee, by Pavel Krásenský

Male Strepsiptera approaching bee, by Pavel Krásenský

Strepsiptera or Twisted-wing parasites are a bizarre internal parasites of bees and wasps. Their life-cycle begins similar to the oil beetles (Meloidae).

From NC State University Entomology pages:

Strepsiptera share so many characteristics with beetles that some entomologists classify them as a superfamily of Coleoptera.  In fact, Strepsiptera and certain parasitic beetles (in the families Meloidaeand Rhipiphoridae) are among the very few insects that undergo hypermetamorphosis, an unusual type of holometabolous development in which the larvae change body form as they mature.  Upon emerging from their mother’s body, the young larvae, called triunguloids, have six legs and crawl around in search of a suitable host.  In species that parasitize bees or wasps, a triunguloid usually climbs to the top of a flower and waits for a pollinator.  When a host arrives, the larva jumps aboard, burrows into its body, and quickly molts into a second stage that has no distinct head, legs, antennae or other insect-like features.  These larvae grow and continue to molt inside the host’s body cavity, assimilating nutrients from the blood and non-vital tissues.  After pupating in the host, winged males emerge and fly in search of mates.  An adult female remains inside her host, managing to attract and mate with a male while only a small portion of her body protrudes from the host’s abdomen.  Embryos develop within the female’s body, and a new generation of triunguloid larvae begin their life cycle by escaping through a brood passage on the underside of her body.

See the whole sequence at Pavel’s blog, Macrophotography (use Google translate!). My Meloidae post can be seen at The Black Oil Beetle.

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Bugs with Coffee

Bug Photography

  • Alex Wild talks about the story behind one of his favorite photographs.

Bug Science

Bugs for Kids

Stuff

 

 

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The Week on Sunday #34

Finally back with another look at articles that caught my attention in the last week(s). I’ll lead off with a new series narrated by the great Sir David Attenborough:

◊ David Attenborough is hosting Micro Monsters 3D, which began on Sky TV on June 15. Check out this article at the Mail Online for more on the series, including photographs.

Edward O. Wilson with paleontologist Louise Leakey. Wilson received the National Geographic Society’s highest honor — the Hubbard Medal — at the Society’s 125th Anniversary Gala in Washington June 13. Photo by Mike Busada.

Edward O. Wilson with paleontologist Louise Leakey. Wilson received the National Geographic Society’s highest honor – the Hubbard Medal – at the Society’s 125th Anniversary Gala in Washington June 13. Photo by Mike Busada.

◊ Along with to explorer and filmmaker James Cameron and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, National Geographic has honored E.O Wilson with the Hubbard Medal for his lifelong commitment to the planet’s rich diversity through his research and writing. The Hubbard Medal is awarded by the National Geographic Society for distinction in explorationdiscovery, and research. The medal is named after Gardiner Greene Hubbard, first National Geographic Society president. E. O Wilson has been an inspiration for me, and I am glad to see him honored with this prestigious award.

On his first trip to Gorongosa (and Africa), scientist and author Edward O. Wilson uses an experienced nose to identify a foam grasshopper. It’s named for the smelly, poisonous foam it emits.  Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic

Wilson received the National Geographic Society’s highest honor — the Hubbard Medal — at the Society’s 125th Anniversary Gala in Washington June 13. On his first trip to Gorongosa (and Africa), scientist and author Edward O. Wilson uses an experienced nose to identify a foam grasshopper. It’s named for the smelly, poisonous foam it emits.
Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic

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The Week on Sunday #21

Welcome to another Week on Sunday!

♦  The first half of yesterday was spent at City Centre, Edmonton, recording and photographing Chinese New Year’s celebrations. However  after an excellent free lunch at the Famous Wok, I stepped out, made my way to the LRT and then sped over to spend an afternoon at the U of A’s Earth Sciences Building. I was attending the launch of a new citizen-science program by the Alberta Lepidopterists’ Guild. AltaLeps  has initiated a new citizen-science project to create a butterfly atlas for Alberta. This will be a digital continuation of the original atlas, Alberta Butterflies (1995), which was co-authored and ‘fathered’ by Dr.Charles Bird. In  this program, John Acorn gathered a select group of speakers to tell us more about why a new atlas is needed and how this citizen-science project can benefit scientific research.

AbButterflyAtlas20130216_0035

Dr. Felix Sperling, Dr. Maxim Larrivee, Dr. Charles Bird, Dr. Greg Breed, Dr. Katy Prudic and John Acorn

John Acorn introduced the meeting by telling us why an online butterfly atlas is an important project to help link scientists and butterfly enthusiasts. I particularly appreciated  John emphasizing the social aspects of butterfly watching and how data collected by butterfly enthusiasts could,  in the future, be used in ways that have not been thought of yet.

Max Larrivée, who is one of the originators of eButterfly Canada, talked about his experiences with eButterfly and how the data collected has already helped his own research, showing how climate change is pushing the range of butterflies northward. He stressed how important it was that all contributors have access to all the data that is collected.

Katy Prudic, from the University of Oregon spoke about her own research in: “Continental Co-Evolution: Using eButterfly to understand the geographic mosaic of plant-insect interactions.” Katy has been involved establishing  eButterfly in the USA.

Greg Breed, a Banting Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta, spoke on his work in Massachusetts, where he has be using multiple sources of observational data (including citizen science based data) to study changes in butterfly ranges. He particularly noted that he could not have done his research without the help of archived citizen-enthusiast observations.

Charles Bird talked about how we should not lose the information collected in the pre-digital era, where a lot of data exists in private collections. He noted that eButterfly now has the ability to upload correctly formatted data in bulk. With Max Larrivée’s help, the data of over 500 of his  butterfly observations had just been uploaded to the eButterfly.ca site!

The session was completed with Felix Sperling speaking on how data has been collected since the publication of Alberta Butterflies. He mentioned the annual butterfly walks initiated by the Xerces Society  in the 1990’s, and how similar butterfly counts became a trend in Alberta under the leadership of Barbara and Jim Beck. He also pointed out how some data collected by members of the Alberta Lepidopterists Guild has already been available online through the virtual E.H. Strickland Entomology Museum, largely thanks to the work of Gary Anweiler, a moth enthusiast and founding member of the Alberta Lepidopterists Guild. Felix noted how important it is that all the various types of data should find their way into the eButterfly/Alberta Butterfly Atlas.

It was an interesting session, that gives a new sense of purpose for Alberta butterfly watchers, photographers and naturalists, knowing that their observations have the potential to influence science for many years to come. I look forward to learning more about the progress of the Alberta Butterfly Atlas and, most of all, being able to add data and explore the information that has been collected.

♦ From butterflies to lice: a video on the co-evolution of birds and bird lice. Illinois Natural History Survey ornithologist Kevin Johnson:

 

♦ And to close…

What can amateurs contribute to the science of entomology? Read this BBC article on The bug-hunters discovering new species in their spare time,

 

Until next week…

 

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