Readers’ wildlife photos

Tony Eales from Queensland sent us three insect photos, likely showing mimicry. His notes are indented.

One of my favourite finds for a while. A newly hatched Stick Insect nymph (Podacanthus sp.). When I first saw it, I was struck by how much it looked like and carried itself like a Red Spider Ant. I could tell it wasn’t but it took a minute or two to work out exactly what I was looking at. After I’d harassed it a bit by shoving a lens in its face and flashing my camera it froze and assumed that weird asterisk shape.


The putative model: a red spider ant (Leptomyrmex rufipes):

Winter is coming, and reader Snowy Owl sent some photos of its harbinger:

A seagull from reader Liz Strahle:


A muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) from reader Bonnie. I love ducks, but have to say that this isn’t one of the more aesthetic ones. . . .




  1. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Nice pictures! Really like the frosty leaves.
    I can well believe that the stick insect is mimicking a particular ant, greatly enhancing the deception with its behavior. I see here a small longhorn beetle, and a ground hunting spider that both make an extraordinary mimicry of a black carpenter ant. They only slightly resemble their model, but in their movements one just sees the carpenter ant, clear as anything.

    • Liz
      Posted December 6, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      I like the leaves also.

  2. Mark R.
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Lovely frosty leaves.

    I love stick insects, though I haven’t seen one where I live in 10 years.

    That ducks looks like a cross between a duck and a turkey. Maybe it’s the duck that the term “odd duck” was coined after. 🙂

  3. darrelle
    Posted December 6, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I love Snowy Owl’s frosted leaves photos.

    And Tony’s walking stick pictures are fascinating. I would have never guessed from the first pick that that was a walking stick.

    I’m not sure where Liz was hanging out, but it sure looks like beautiful country.

  4. Posted December 6, 2017 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I spotted a Muscovy duck a couple of days ago (probably feral domestic) and agree that it is not the most aesthetically pleasing species. I’m puzzled by the name which references a region of Russia even though the species is native to Latin America. I’ve also been seeing a lot of another strange looking duck, the surf scoter.

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