Theridion   Leave a comment

For the last few years, we’ve had plenty of little Theridion spiders nesting outside the front door. This morning, a little hanky-panky — they were busy making little Theridions. Note the distended palps on the male, indicating he has already loaded up the sperm sacs into his pedipalps for mating.

Posted 2022-05-22 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Raindrops   2 comments

Rain overnight, morning photos

Posted 2022-05-22 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Micro Caddisfly at home   Leave a comment

Tiny caddisfly, perhaps 3-4 mm, under the lights inside the house. I’m not sure the two photos are the same species.

Posted 2022-05-15 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Miscellaneous   2 comments

I almost never post non-nature photos. Here are a few closeups taken while testing the macro setup.

But first, a tick, taken at Canoe River:

Speakers:

Velcro:

Posted 2022-05-09 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Further salamander egg photos   1 comment

Made several more trips to see the evolution of the salamander eggs shown earlier. It was surprising to me to see that they became more opaque with time. Also accidentally formatted the SD card and lost a bunch of them, which is … life.

2022-04-28

Hydrachnidia:

2022-05-01

Another Hydrachnidia:

Look at the details inside the individuals:

Caddisfly larva:

2022-05-05

A bit opaque to get too much by way of details:

Posted 2022-05-09 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Borderland State Park, Northwest Trail   Leave a comment

Best guess: 3602, Pine tube moth, Argyrotaenia pinatubana

And another, probably the same species:

Rather picturesque view of a Naphrys pulex:

The Pompilid wasps are back! I note that, in the last year, they have become no easier to identify to genus or species.

Muscoidea:

Perhaps Empididae:

There were so many Cicindella sexguttata six spotted tiger beetles. Just sharing this because it looks nice:

Carabidae. Notiophilus cf biguttatus or N. aeneus.

Interesting rock. Inclusions or fossil?

Posted 2022-05-01 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Moose Hill marsh   Leave a comment

The boardwalk at Moose Hill. I took my Laowa 24mm macro probe lens to take underwater photos. I was especially hoping for amphibian egg photos. I can’t tell you how happy I am with how they turned out.

Let’s cut to the good stuff. I think this is a salamander egg clutch, probably spotted rather than blue-spotted, as spotted salamanders have larger egg clutches.

Diptera

There was plenty of other stuff to look at! This fly (at least, it seems to be a fly from the wings) was one of many similar floating on the water.

Trichoptera

There were so many caddisfly larvae in their casings. Once you see one, you start to see so many others.

Trombidiformes

Water mites, Hydrachnidia, were very common, and a complete pain to photograph. They sometimes look like pigs flying underwater:

Gerridae

At least, I think it’s Gerridae. The genus name (if I’m correct) is Aquarius.

Hymenoptera

On the way there, saw this sawfly, no reason not to take a snap, even if it wasn’t the main purpose of the walk. I’m comfortable calling it Neodiprion Lecontei, the Red-Headed Pine Sawfly. It eats conifer needles, according to Tom Murray’s book — I didn’t know there were insects out there that found conifer needles nutritious.

Collembola

As always, lots and lots of Collembola (springtails) in the marsh. They love the water. This one, in particular, was inside a skunk cabbage. I didn’t realize there were other bugs besides the springtail until I looked at the photo.

The landscape

The marsh generally looked like this:

Posted 2022-04-24 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Metacomet’s Rock   Leave a comment

Started at the trailhead on Lakeview St. and walked to Mansfield St., past Metacomet’s Rock (still like the name better than King Philip’s Rock).

The first part of the walk was a fairly short grass meadow, followed by wet marshy areas, and woodlands.

I have a slight problem with designing and making way too many flash diffusers for macro photography. This was the initial test for the latest version, which is probably Mark X.

The results were mixed. When it worked, it was absolutely amazing. Best diffusion I’ve worked with. However, it was bulky and made it difficult to get photos in tight spaces, and insects are almost always in tight spaces.

Hymenoptera

The meadow area had paper wasps, Polistes. Very active, tough to get photos of, but pretty friendly and chill. Hey, check out the flash diffusion in this photo.

Polistes fuscatus

I think this is Lasioglossum in Halictidae. Perhaps sub-genus Dialictus?

Diptera

Perhaps fungus gnats, Sciaroidea, but tough to go any further. Mycetophilidae? Sciaridae? I don’t know.

Just like the rove beetles, the fungus gnats seemed interested in the beetle larvae holes in the dead wood.

And another

Spiders

Dolomedes tenebrosus, in Pisauridae. A male. Note that the W pattern on the abdomen isn’t all white.

Schizocosa, in Lycosidae.

And Schizocosa again:

And another Schozocosa:

Leucauge venusta:

Linyphiidae. Probably Neriene radiata.

Coleoptera

This is Histeridae, aka the clown beetles, for good reason. I think it’s Platysoma leconti, in particular.

Such a cute little weevil. I think it’s Lechriops. Alternatively, Conotrachelus?

Staphylinidae, aka Rove beetles. For some reason, I think this one was especially interested in the holes in the dead wood that beetle grubs had tunneled out of. Not sure why, what in them was so interesting.

Very tough to pin down. Maybe Cafius cf. aguayoi, but that seems less common. Maybe Homaeotarsus?

A dark horse candidate is Atheta coriaria, perhaps classified as Dalotia coriaria. That’s been introduced and sold for pest control purposes, has it established in the wild?

Here’s one of them poking its head into a beetle grub hole.

Fungi and Slime molds

Some fungus.

A polypore fungus.

Closeup of fungus

I think this is a slime mold. Perhaps something like Metatrichia? Lindbladia? Neither of these really fits perfectly.

EDIT: “ascomycete” was a suggestion. Another was “probably pyrenomycetous fungi. Maybe Rosellinia sp”

Other

Posted 2022-04-23 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Backyard Pond   Leave a comment

The pond in the backyard is almost completely dried up. There is skunk cabbage growing all over the soil. I dragged some of the remaining water, soil and leaf matter. A fairly wide range of creatures, for few of which I have a firm identification.

Some of these (some of the ostracods, the “newborn”) may be cladocerans. And the putative fairy shrimp in the first one may actually be a baby amphipod.

In this one short video, I think we have a fairy shrimp (the larger red one); a copepod (the other longish one); and an ostracod (small, round, doesn’t stand out in its color).

I think this is a copepod; you can see why it’s also known as a Cyclops. Most copepods have only one eye.

I saw several of these worms. I don’t know their identification. Notice the movement of fluid near the hind part. Diptera larvae has been suggested as the identification (as has Oligochaetes).

A closeup. Watch how it moves:

I don’t know what this is. My best guess is a newborn fairy shrimp. Notice the gel enveloping it.

Noticed several of these transparent worms. Nematodes seems the most likely identification.

Posted 2022-04-16 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Canoe River powerline cut   Leave a comment

Early season bug walk. A lot of bees and very little of anything else. ID was tricky; I’m going by what I was told!

A couple of notes:

(1) a good web site: https://sites.tufts.edu/pollinators/2021/03/cellophane-bees-spring/

(2) “<There’s a> distinctive “S” shaped recurrent vein in <…> Colletes.”

A mantis ootheca, I believe:

I’m not sure if the bees belonged to just one species or to more. They all seemed like Andrena, to me, but so very very difficult to have any confidence in the ID.

A better view of the wing venation. Colletes inaequalis. “S vein” helps identify it.

“male Andrena, note the parallel eye margins (Colletes inner eye margins converge)”

Andrena:

Not bugs:

Posted 2022-04-03 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized