Readers’ wildlife photographs

Reader Mark Sturtevant sent some photos of arthropods; his notes are indented:

Here is another batch of pictures. These were largely taken during the winter, when I had very little invertebrate companionship except for the occasional creepy crawly. Obviously I was experimenting on photography against white backgrounds. Some of these were taken with an ancient 50mm manual Canon Fd lens that I got essentially for free (it was in a bunch of other camera gear that I bought through Craigslist). The lens was reverse mounted onto extension tubes.

The first three pictures are of a male dimorphic jumping spider (Maevia inclemens). They are so-named because the males come in two color morphs, this being the prettier one. This little cutie was hanging out on a lampshade in our house for a few days, and so I decided it needed its picture taken. Jumping spiders can be rather difficult to manage since they see very well and react to most any movement. But this little guy hopped right into my hand and obligingly worked with me through the whole process of taking pictures at our kitchen table. I was very pleased with it so I gave it a fruit fly, as shown in the last picture.




Next is a female dimorphic jumping spider which showed up at work, and so I brought it home. Was she as cooperative as the male? No. She was a complete pain in the tuchas, true to the nature of their family.


Next up is a big Muscid fly, species unknown but I am thinking genus Morellia. I put this one inside a cage on white paper, and to get it to stay in one place I made sure it was hungry and I laid down some sugar.


Finally we have an elegant critter known as the parson spider (Herpyllus ecclesiasticus). The name of these common ground spiders refers to their white markings which resembles the cravat once worn by the clergy.


And Stephen Barnard sent some flies:

Mating drone flies (species unknown). Not a good photo technically, but it was unusual to see.

Additional photo included at no extra charge. 🙂 [JAC: I suspect that this, like many drone flies, is a bee mimic.] The Forest Service website says this about drone flies:

“The diverse group of flower flies and hover flies (family Syrphidae) includes many successful bee mimics. Drone flies (members of the genera Eristalis) masquerade as bees with various body forms and striping patterns that are almost perfect matches to many common bee species. Often very effective pollinators due to their hairy bodies, flies have keystone roles in many of ecosystems where they occur. Flies are also the dominant (and in some cases only) pollinators of key crops and foods like coffee, chocolate, tea, bananas, and mangoes.”



  1. Jim Knight
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos…!

  2. SA Gould
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    In the first pix, is that an *eye* on it’s back?

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      They have a pair of dorso-lateral eyes. This is why they are hard to sneak up on.

  3. Posted August 1, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Wonderful photos…………

  4. Stephen Barnard
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Love the spider photos, especially the first one.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Thank you.
      And dang it, it is ‘tuckus‘. I just cannot curse in Yiddish.

      • Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink

        I put it in the proper transliteration given the gutteral: “tuchas” 🙂

  5. Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Great photos!

  6. Posted August 1, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Great photos, thanks!

  7. rickflick
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    “I was very pleased with it so I gave it a fruit fly”

    I’m sure on WEIT fruitflies have some honorary status. Serving them as snacks to cooperative spiders suggests they could be named official arachnid snack food.

    Nice shots. Sometimes I wish I had eyes in the back of my head.

  8. Posted August 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Very nice pictures! And nice of you to reward your models.

  9. Posted August 1, 2016 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    These are ALL gorgeous! Thanks!

    Thanks also to all the other daily wildlife contributors whom I don’t always get to thank for their great work.

  10. LG
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    Great photos. Thanks

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