Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Mark Sturtevant sent some insect and spider photos a while back, and I just found them. His notes are indented.

The first picture is of ants (I am thinking Formica sp.), tending their colony of poplar aphids (Chaitophorus populicola). It is very common to see poplar saplings growing near water, and there one can usually find colonies of these aphids – always closely guarded by ants who will drink the honeydew that they secrete.

Next is a simple but handsome click beetle which looks to be Ampedus nigricollis.

The pictures that follow are what I call “Love Story, with Jumping Spiders”. Those of a certain age will know the name reference. When out with the camera one day, I chanced upon a nice female jumping spider (Phidippus clarus) feeding on a caterpillar. But she had an ardent admirer who wanted to risk everything to be with her, despite the dangers. The following pictures tell their story which does not end well, but it could have been worse.

“Mmmmm, caterpillar. I have all that I need”.

“What is that?”

“He keeps waving”.

“Go away!”

“Why doesn’t she wave back?”

In jumping spider world, not waving back is not a good sign. The male crept forward, waving to the female. When he got close she pounced at him, but had she not had her fangs full she might have murdered him. Rebuffed, he slunk away but soon caught a grasshopper.

*Sigh * “Guess its grasshopper tonight. And loneliness”.

The next two pictures are of Calochromus perfacetus, one of the species of net-winged beetles that are regularly seen in my favorite field.

Finally, we have… we have… an inordinate fondness for weevils. I caught a lucky break in identifying this species since there are so many weevils that look like this. But the Bug Guide web sight can be searched for specific details, and a search there for ‘weevil, thistle’ produced a good candidate, Larinus planus, and its preferred host the Canadian thistle (Cirsium arvense).


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Prime factorization of 226822 :

    The Prime Factorization is:
    2 x 19 x 47 x 127

    In Exponential Form:
    2^1 x 19^1 x 47^1 x 127^1

    … like the ants too

    • George
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      You have way too much time on your hands.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        I just type it in Google – its super easy. There’s a few sites that do it with a minimum of garbage, like ads for whatever you searched for the other day.

        BTW – 2018 is 2 X 1009

        …. if anyone is wondering, and I don’t think they are, 226822 was the subject line of the email, instead of “Readers’ Wildlife Photos”.

        …. but it is true, especially lately, I have way too much time on my hands.

        And my feet

        And my skin

        (^^^^ name that comedian. Because I can’t … skip Henderson or something…)

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    That weevils scene:

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Are those fireflies?

    … I always wonder about them, but never manage to collect them together and put them in the proverbial Mason jar…

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      They belong to a different beetle family. Their similarity is a case of mimicry, possibly Mullerian mimicry where different bad-tasting species evolve to resemble each other.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        How interesting! Thanks! I love that!

        BTW I … well, I’m in a very cold area – I planted some grass seed right up against the foundation of the building here – and the other day, I saw ants carrying the seeds around.

        It’s freezing out! They were a little slow.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          There is a consortium of small brown ant species that are referred to as ‘Winter ants’ for just that reason. They are active all year long, including the dead of winter.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted February 5, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

            These are black and tiny. Like tiny carpenter ants. They are there – I now know – year round.

  4. rickflick
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Splendid shots. The lighting is bright and clean – which makes the creatures look enormously civilized.

  5. Posted February 5, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Great bug pics, Mark. And funny commentary too.

  6. Posted February 5, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Always entertaining and informative and, of course, great photos.

  7. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Great pics Mark, as always!

    And not too many creepy beetle legs in sight. 🙂

  8. Mark R.
    Posted February 5, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Great photos and thanks for the funny photo-story with a happy ending.

  9. Posted February 5, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Great pics! I have a fondness for jumping spiders and that was a nice little story.

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