Readers’ wildlife photographs

We have some diverse photos today. First are photos of moose and pronghorn taken by Stephen Barnard in Idaho. His notes are indented:

I had some visitors this morning [Sept. 12]. Moose (Alces alces) — a tautonym:



An apparently very healthy young male moose (Alces alces) in my yard this afternoon [Sept. 20], with his mom (second photo).


A herd of pronghorns (Antilocapra americana) encountered on my way to Stanley, Idaho.


From Montreal, Anne-Marie Cournoyer sent two photos of the “cross spider“, Araneus diadematus, with different prey items:



Reader jsp sent a photo of a praying mantis hanging out near his friend’s hummingbird feeder, apparently to snag the bees that feed there. He notes that “The PM is getting fat (‘is getting’???) on honey bees at the feeder. Others mentioned that the hummingbirds themselves are in danger. WTF?”



  1. jaxkayaker
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I find tautonymic trinomials for subspecies amusing, e.g. Caretta caretta caretta, Iguana iguana iguana.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Very good.
    The mantis looks like the Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina). It is a very pregnant female, in any case.

  3. rickflick
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I envy Stephen Barnard more every time we get a glimpse into his world.

  4. busterggi
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    If only I’d been able to take some photos of the monkey that ate my hummingbird feeder years ago.

  5. Stephen Barnard
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Praying mantises are known to prey on hummingbirds.

  6. Art
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Any spider that eats yellow jackets is a good spider.

  7. Karen Bartelt
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Great photos. You can google a very tragic picture of a hummingbird being eviscerated by a preying mantis. If I see one around my feeders, it gets relocated.

  8. Christopher
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Such great pics, as always. I’m gonna have to make a point to go somewhere that moose live. They are an animal that if they were only known from fossils, we’d hardly be able to believe they looked that way.

    and the spider pics! I can’t ever get arachnids to hold still long enough for a good photo. Nice shots.

    but as for the pronghorn, like the bighorn sheep we saw a few days ago, I’m curious as to the evolutionary explanation for the white butts. Anyone care to hazard a guess? I understand why primates have vibrant butts, to signal when they’re feeling a bit randy, but what’s the point of the buns blanche? I’m guessing predator/prey situation but not sure beyond that generality.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted September 21, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

      Mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and I think many species of African antelope also have white butts. It seems to be a common feature of ungulates that travel in herds, even not closely related ones. (Moose don’t have them, but they don’t herd).

      The white butts are most conspicuous when the herds are fleeing. My guess is that it’s a signal of individual fitness to discourage pursuit by predators.

      • Christopher
        Posted September 21, 2016 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        So perhaps it is used along with pronking to avoid predation, either as an honest signal or deceptive one. And of course Odocoileus virginianus have the white tail that is very conspicuous when fleeing, and they make a point, or so it seems, to flash that white tail as they bound away. I do wonder if maybe it makes an animal appear to be faster than they are, or the bouncing up and down while running away is somehow confusing and more difficult to track or chase…?

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted September 21, 2016 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          Good point about the Whitetail deer. I didn’t include them because I don’t see them regularly.

          I think the herding thing is key.

      • Christopher
        Posted September 21, 2016 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        and you did bring up an important point that I forgot to ponder; that of herding vs. non-herding. I’d have to do a check on those herd species that are white-rumped vs non-white. there are several herd animals that lack white butts, but are the white-rumped ones within related groups, or preyed upon by a certain type of predator, or at least a predator with a certain type of hunting style? So many questions! I could live a thousand years and never get bored with nature!

  9. Eli
    Posted September 21, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    As always, gorgeous pictures. Thanks. But, um, at the risk of d*g shaming, could we have a picture of Deets, soon? I love Hili and all the other cats but I adore d*gs, too, and especially BCs and especially Deets.

    • Posted September 22, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      Your wish has been granted by Professor Ceiling Cat. See today’s (Thursday’s) wildlife photos.

      • Eli
        Posted September 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        OMCC (oh, my ceiling cat)! Prayers to the Catholic deity of my youth never resulted in such quick action. Well, they never resulted in any action…. Thank you Professor Ceiling Cat.

  10. Zetopan
    Posted September 25, 2016 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Preying mantises can also attack and eat small mammals.


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