Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we continue (and conclude) Lou Jost’s photographs of orthopterans (grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets), all photographed at the Tambopata Research Center in Peru. His notes are indented:

At the Tambopata Research Center we got up around 4:30 am most days, and evenings after dinner there were often talks, so we had little time to explore the forest at night. But one night before bed I couldn’t resist exploring for an hour. In that hour I found so many things that I only managed to advance about 20 meters from the lodge. But most of the Orthopterans don’t merit individual captions since I know nothing at all about them!


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This is probably just a more advanced nymph of the same species shown in the previous picture.

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JAC: the pose of the following insect probably serves to hide it, but I’m not sure; and note the prominent white marks on the thorax and legs that seem to make it more conspicuous.

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JAC: Could this be a form of mimicry too, with the brown coloration hiding the head?

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11 Comments

  1. Posted October 21, 2016 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Excellent photos, Lou. What equipment are you using?

    • Posted October 21, 2016 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      These were taken with a Panasonic FZ300 bridge camera with a Raynox close-up lens. I used the built-in flash but I made a flash diffuser out of the side of a translucent plastic jug, and this is attached to the Raynox. Otherwise the long lens would shade the subject, and even if it didn’t, the flash light would be harsh and contrasty.

      This is my equipment for long or risky journeys. Much better to use a larger camera, and an external flash. But that is not always easy to bring along. And this Panasonic bridge camera does everything– it is also the camera I used to take the other images Jerry recently featured from this trip, including photographs of a far-away eagle attacking the macaws, and videos of the peccaries and macaws on the salt lick. When I have to travel light this camera is my choice.

      • Posted October 25, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

        Thanks very much Lou.

        I redcently switched from a ful-sized DSLR (APS-C sensor) to a mirco 4/3 system for reasons of size & weight and I LOVE it.

  2. darrelle
    Posted October 21, 2016 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I always enjoy your photos Lou. My daughter wants to do what you do. I wouldn’t mind either.

    The exceedingly long antennae of some insects has always fascinated me. For example in the 5th & 7th pictures here. What are they used for, what advantages do the extreme length confer that exceeds the liabilities that seem likely? More fragile, more expensive, reduces mobility.

    • Posted October 21, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Thanks, I hope your daughter finds a way, because it really is fun!

      About the long antennae–maybe earlier warning about approaching spiders and snakes?

  3. Christopher
    Posted October 21, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Another great batch of pics. I particularly like the sixth one (or 3rd from the bottom)with its big brown eyes that look too big for its head and like they were glued on as an afterthought. To have eyes like that makes me think it’s hyper-vigilant and must be a tasty treat for local predators.

  4. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted October 21, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Very cool! As always. That last one is especially handsome. Do you go out ‘bugging’ at night because of the heat?

    • Posted October 21, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Thanks Mark. No, it wasn’t because of the heat. I was out all day too, and I wore a winter jacket the whole time. We were freezing. The lodge gave us hot water bottles to sleep with!!!! And I was still cold!

      It’s at night that the katydids and most other bugs come out. Not so many bird predators then.

  5. rickflick
    Posted October 21, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Wonderful shots. Thanks Lou.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted October 21, 2016 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    This is my favorite batch of orthopterans you’ve submitted.

    That “hour glass” white mark on the thorax of the katydid is striking. Just like the black-widow’s marking. Strange.

    That last one looks reptilian with its serrated thorax. And I think the one above it is a cricket.

    • Posted October 21, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that one with the white hourglass was quite a surprise; I didn’t expect to see such a dramatic and seemingly pointless pattern on its thorax.

      Yes, that’s a cricket, and so is the green one that is two shots above it!


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