Readers’ wildlife photographs

Today we’re catching up with the backlog of photos I have from Mark Sturtevant. Be sure to keep your own wildlife photos coming in; I prefer to get between 4 and 10 photos, and please give IDs, including Latin binomials. Thanks!

Mark’s notes are indented:

Here is another installment of arthropods that I have photographed over this summer.

The first is one of our most familiar jumping spiders, the ‘bold jumper’, or Phidipus audax. This very pregnant girl was found on what I have dubbed my ‘magic tree stump’, since it is where I have made several very good finds. The caterpillar she is carrying appears to be for the eight-spotted forester moth (Alypia octomaculata).


Next is another jumping spider. I occasionally see these, and was curious to learn what they were. It turns out that it is probably one of many subspecies of Phidipus audax, and that not all of them have green chelicerae. I was rather surprised to learn that.


Next is this dragonfly, and my d*g it is the hairiest odonate I have ever seen. I would frequently see this species patrolling meadows as this one was, but I could never get a picture since they would not land. After once again not getting a picture of this mystery dragonfly, I was later chased out of the woods by an approaching rain shower. On my way to the car I checked the meadow where I had earlier seen one on patrol, and saw it perched, maybe retiring as I was because of rising winds and increasing rain. So at last I got a picture. It is probably the common baskettail (Epitheca cynosura), but I cannot entirely rule out the very similar slender baskettail (E. costalis). They are really hard to tell apart, differing in tiny details like the amount of pigment at the base of the wings (and the pigment is variable), and the height of the tooth that projects downward from the cerci at the end of the abdomen.


Although it is kind of random, readers in the Midwest and also Eastern U.S. might want to check out this web site developed by the Ohio DNR. It contains a lovely series of online field guides to various animal groups in Ohio, and it was from their field guide on dragonflies and damselflies that I easily narrowed down identifying the above dragonfly.

Next, ever have a loudly buzzing and rather scratchy insect land on the back of your neck? For most people you can at least swat it away, with some chance of not getting stung if it was a bee or wasp. But I can’t do that since I might want to take its picture. Anyway, I took a chance and grabbed this large insect that had landed on my neck, and was rewarded by this beautiful metallic wood borer (Dicerca sp.).


Finally we have this rather odd looking ant, with a strangely small head and remarkably long legs. It turns out to be a male black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus).



  1. George
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    A different perspective on nature this morning. Fairly large earthquake (preliminary 5.6) near Pawnee, OK. People in St. Louis felt it. Occurred around 7:02 am local time (CDT).

    That is the heart of fracking country but I do not know if fracking can induce such a large quake. I don’t think it is the New Madrid fault.

  2. Posted September 3, 2016 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Great Photography

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Great pictures, Mark! How do you manage to capture pictures, especially of the borer, that had landed on your neck and you had handled, to stay still enough for the photos?

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Sorry for the late reply. I was out all day ‘bugging’ with the camera. Then we went out for dinner.
      This wood borer was very active, running non-stop and trying to fly. So I had to stage the picture on my dining room table, on tree bark held in a dinner plate. It was a non-stop battle. Snapping pictures of an insect on the run, chasing after it as it flew to the window… It was hard.

  4. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 3, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Excellent Mark, and I enjoy the stories that go along with your pics.

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