Reader Mark Sturtevant sent some nice insect photos; his captions are indented.
I have a new crop of pictures here taken last summer. I hope you enjoy them.
The first two pictures feature female Eastern amberwing dragonflies (Perithemis tenera) These are very small—and I think adorable—dragonflies with heads that look like they could go into a cartoon. Males are beautifully highlighted by solid amber wings, but like many Odonates the males are more shy about being approached. I have several close-up pictures of females as they are pretty tolerant of me, but I have so far failed to get acceptable pictures of a male.
Next is the rather weird long-tailed dance fly, Rhamphomyia longicauda. These insects have an interesting mating behavior which I would really like to see. Males entice females to mate by catching a small insect and presenting it to her as a ‘nuptial gift’. Males prefer to choose females with a lot of eggs, and I have read that females sometimes inflate their abdomen with air to entice males to choose them.
Here’s a remarkably plain and rather worn-out looking butterfly: the hackberry emperor (Astrocampa celtis).
This is the two-spotted treehopper (Enchenopa binotata). It is perhaps trying to blend in with the thorns of a wild rose.
And finally, I had been getting my feet wet last summer because I had previously neglected to take pictures of the many insects that inhabit the water surface. In truth, I had been avoiding that because I really hate hanging over or standing in water with my camera. But this water strider (Aquarius remigis) was in only a few inches of water, and I took the chance. These very familiar predatory insects are famous for skating around on the water surface tension, and they use the water much like how a spider uses its web to catch insects. If an insect falls into the water, its struggles will send out little waves that are detected by the water strider. If hungry, the strider will zip over and make a meal of it. The adults of this species are almost always wingless, but other species can have wings.