I hope you enjoy taking a closer look at some of the things I find interesting.
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- South America (171)
- Amphibians (10)
- Frogs and Toads (10)
- Arachnids (41)
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- Insects (215)
- Ants, Bees, Wasps and Relatives (44)
- Barklice (1)
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- True Bugs (57)
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- Reptiles (13)
- Velvet Worms (3)
- Amphibians (10)
Author Archives: Troy Bartlett
I spotted these turtle ants (Cephalotes sp.) crawling around on vegetation, occasionally stopping to solicit honeydew from scale insects. I’ve been somewhat enamored with these ants ever since seeing some of Alex Wild’s photos, particularÂ the specializedÂ nest guarding soldiers. Sadly, despite watching the workers, I’ve yet to successfully find a nest for an opportunity to photograph one.
I’ll have to satisfy myself with the foragers for now.
Here’s another one taking honeydew from a scale insect.
I probably wouldn’t have noticed these scale insects were it not for the ants that would occasionally stop to feed from them.
Its difficult to see in the first photo, but each one has 20 or so waxy threads spiraling away from the body. It’s not clear to me where exactly they’re coming from. The threads are a bit easier to see in the next few photos.
I wonder if the spirals don’t help the ants to locate the scale.
The scales excrete honeydew from a small orange tube (to the left above, right below).
This attractive male jumping spider has some interesting hooks on his chelicerae. Take a closer look at this crop from the image above.
He really has a lot going on colorwise as well. I imagine those banded front legs might be used in some sort of courtship ritual. One has to wonder if and when those hooks come into play though.
Because they are gregarious, one rarely sees a lone barklouse. I was surprised to find this one by itself on a leaf. There might have been a group nearby, but I didn’t find them.
Elsewhere in the park though, I did find an aggregation.
What looks a bit like peanut brittle is presumably an egg mass. I found this on lichen covered bark at the base of a tree. Overall it was about 25mm long, which would make each of the embedded eggs less than 2mm long.
Each egg appears to be elliptical, with a sort of knob at the exposed end.
I don’t have a clue what is responsible for this, so I’d love to see comments from anyone that might have an idea. I’ve been through the “Eggs and Egg Cases” chapter of Tracks & Sign of InsectsÂ a few times already, but I haven’t spotted any likely suspects.
This attractive little beetle was resting when I found it. Looking at it here, it almost appears to be nature’s idea of a gaudy holiday light display. Just imagine each of those elytral punctures as a tiny LED, and then imagine them programmed so that the dorsal patterns shift down the eltytra, one puncture at a time. Jokes aside, it actually blends in pretty well with the browning foliage.
This is a leaf-mining leaf beetle, so called because the larvae feed between the surfaces of leaves, creating mines. Adults feed on foliage, and it may be responsible for some of the leaf damage visible here, though I didn’t actually see it eating.