Remember to send in your photos! I have a small backlog, but more is better. Today we have pictures from two regulars, the first being Mark Sturtevant. His captions are indented:
The first picture is an odd little moth that I have probably seen on many occasions, but this one got my attention because it landed near my feet and went into this odd pose by hanging upside down and curling its abdomen up while holding its wings down. It is a Geometrid moth known as the lesser grapevine looper – Eulithis diversilineata – and its posture probably makes it look more like a bit of dead leaf. [JAC: Don’t forget that mimicry can involve the evolution of behavior as well as appearance.]
Next up is a mating pair of basswood leaf miner beetles (Baliosus nervosus). These little beetles are very common, but they are small and very shy, making it hard to get a decent picture. As their name also indicates, their larvae will be found mining inside basswood leaves.
The next two pictures are not my usual fare. Last Spring I was waiting on the grounds of a local nature center, eagerly waiting for the opening day of their butterfly house. While waiting, I came across this pair of cold mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos). These pictures are the first ‘serious’ pictures taken with a ‘new’ (actually very old and used) 300mm zoom lens that I had bought for myself as a Christmas present. You have already seen some of the pictures that I had taken of the tropical butterflies at that location.
Finally, one of our giant ichneumons at work. She is Megaryhssa atrata, and here she is using her extraordinary ovipositor to drill up to several inches into wood to parasitize what is probably the larva of a large stingless wasp called a horntail (often Tremex columba). This was yet another good find on my Lucky Tree Stump.
And from Stephen Barnard in Idaho, who sensed my desperation for pictures in late November (the 22nd, to be exact):
Since you’re desperate, here are some photos from this morning.
Fog in the valley.
Desi and Lucy (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) warming up in the morning sun after the coldest night of the year so far.
A hen mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and her two suitors: