Readers’ wildlife photos (and video)

We have a new contributor today, Christian Allesandro Perez, who takes terrific photos and videos that you can see only on his flickr site and his website, alephrocco.  He’s lately been in Costa Rica, but today gives us photos from Australia. Please give him a warm welcome to inspire him to keep contributing here!  Christian’s notes and IDs are indented:

Unless you have a preference for organisms for the neotropics, I think I’ll start with some arthropods from my first weeks in Australia.

Green lacewing (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) ovipositing. Lacewing eggs are like no other. They look like small elliptical neon green pellets (~1.5 mm long) attached to a stem by long wire-like filaments for protection against scavenging insects. Although I see them frequently, this night was the first time I watched a lacewing oviposit. Both the lacewing and her eggs shone brilliantly from the light of my head torch, not to mention the classic galaxy-like neuropteran eyeshine.
Aquatic spiders such as the Giant Water Spider (Pisauridae: Megadolomedes australianus) are covered in hydrophobic hairs, allowing them to sit on top of and move along the water’s surface. In Peru, I found my first Pisaurid in a stream, and when I approached the spider, it hopped along the water’s surface to safety with a fast jellyfish-like motion. I have not observed that behavior again in any aquatic spiders. Megadolomedes can attain a legspan of more than 18 cm, but this individual had a legspan of around 13 to 15 cm (5-6 inches).
An elephant weevil (Curculionidae: Orthorhinus cylindrirostris) during take-off in a superman pose. This weevil feeds on a variety of woody plants including grapevine, and they are major pests for wine companies.
Centipedes are often hard to photograph, especially during the day. As soon as I flip a rock they usually bolt immediately. This centipede (Scolopendridae: Cormocephalus cf. aurantiipes~15 cm longscurried on top of a rock, and I cupped my hands over it. Sensing that it was now in a dark safe space, the centipede let me snap a few quick photos.
Lifting a rock and finding gold… well golden abdomens; a colony of Dolichoderus cf. doriae, a mimic of the bull ant Myrmecia fulvipes. [JAC: the species below is also an ant]
Hangingfly (Mecoptera: Bittacidae: Harpobittacus australis) with its beak ready to pierce the exoskeleton of an unsuspecting prey and inject a tissue-dissolving enzyme to liquify its interior.
This red and gray Hercules robber fly (Asilidae: Neoaratus hercules) landed on a tree a few meters in front of me, happily cannibalizing a more regular-sized robber fly.
I spotted this large wasp flying around a bush, constantly entering from different angles. After waiting for several minutes, the wasp finally emerged with a huntsman spider, scurrying across the ground in search of its burrow. It was an orange spider wasp (Pompilidae: Cryptocheilus bicolor) parasitizing a Huntsman spider (Sparassidae).  Below is a short video:

23 Comments

  1. colnago80
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Re D.N. Wilson

    Relative to the claim of Wilson’s that Darwin’s work led to Hitler, it should be pointed out that, in Mein Kampf, Hitler specifically rejected common descent.

  2. Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Wonderful work Chr*st*an!! Hope we get to see more from you. Informative behavioral shots of arthropods are hard to come by.

  3. Charles Sawicki
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Great pictures and commentary!

  4. claudia baker
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Wow, beautiful shots. Especially the lacewing.

  5. Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Fabulous! I really hope to see more of your stuff. I would have a hard time choosing between Costa Rica and Australia, and here you have done both.

  6. Debbie Coplan
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Lovely, lovely photos. I especially like the Giant Water Spider. A beauty of a spider-

  7. Posted October 27, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos!

  8. Jacques Hausser
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Quite impressive photos! My vote goes to the lacewing.

  9. rickflick
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Great imaging Christian. The tracking of the wasp in the video is smooth as silk.

  10. Terry Sheldon
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the terrific photos and commentary! Love the elephant weevil “posing” for you!

  11. John Conoboy
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Nice photos. Insects can be a real challenge.

  12. Jenny Haniver
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    These are superb photos (and video), all of them. The composition of the photo of the giant waters spider made me feel as if I were sinking into a corner of a Hieronymus Bosch painting.

  13. Posted October 27, 2017 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful pics

  14. Heather Hastie
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Great pics! The lacewing was my favourite too. I gazed at that for ages!

  15. Mark R.
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Whoa! These are immensely incredible! I was only familiar with a couple of these arthopods. The golden-abdomen ants were something else. I love insect metallics.

  16. Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Whoa! is right, nice photographs for sure. Really liked the superman pose elephant weevil,
    thanks Christian.

  17. Petra Sierwald
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Great spider image. Just a note in regard to the water spider observed in Peru. Those are most likely members of the genus Trechalea, belonging to the family Trechaleidae. The water hunting spiders of different families have often a similar habitus and color pattern, but those similarities evolved independently (are convergent).

  18. Posted October 28, 2017 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Wonderful! You must have a lot of courage, knowledge, or both to cup your hand over a centipede. I’d be afraid it might take offense.

  19. Posted October 28, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I didn’t even know these existed. Thanks for the awesome pics!

  20. Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    Hope to see more when you get to the Northern Territory. Keep away from crocs and water buffaloes

  21. cruzrad
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful photos. Thanks!

  22. Andrea Kenner
    Posted October 28, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Gorgeous photos!


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