Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Phidippus audax visits the house   2 comments

Trying to capture the beautiful color of the chelicerae, but it didn’t come out right in the photos.

Posted 2021-05-12 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Borderland State Park   Leave a comment

First bug walk of the season (as opposed to the vernal pool and the wetlands). I spent a lot of time (too much time) creating many, many candidate flash diffusers. Today was the first actual trial.

Plenty of insects and spiders!

Diptera:

My guess: Hexomyza schineri in Agromyzidae. However, I’m told that it could plausibly be many others that are acalypterate.

Lonchaeidae

Bibionid

Who is this? I was about to call it Bibio longipes — and then discovered that that is found only in fall. Maybe something like Bibio femoratus?

Anthomyidae, cf Anthomyia.

Another Bibio cf femorata?

Such a striking fly, probably Agromyzidae.

Male Bibionidae?

Hymenoptera:

A mutillid wasp. Pseudomethoca simillima?

Cynipid wasp

Nomada luteoloides?

Probably Andrena.

Coleoptera:

The requisite six spotted green tiger beetle:

Notiophilus cf biguttatus

False blister beetle, Asclera ruficollis, in Oedemeridae? Or Podabrus punctatus? I *think* it’s Asclera ruficollis. But Pedilus lugubris is another possibility. Okay, now I’m going with Pedilus lugubris.

EDIT: according to BugGuide, Silinae in Cantharidae is the best starting point.

“Anthonomus, I believe, either A. suturalis or A. musculus.”

Elateridae. Maybe Dolerosomus silaceus?

Tarpela micans. For some reason, I only seem to see dead ones.

Spiders:

This beautiful Lycosid. Pardosa sp.

Naphrys pulex. Except that it might be a Pseudeuophrys erratica, which I’m just learning about — introduced from Europe. Or Habronatus?

Thanatus, in Philodromidae.

Solsticus insularis? Haplodrassus cf hiemalis? Callilepis pluto? Urozelotes isn’t confirmed in BugGuide near here, but I’ve seen it suggested (https://bugguide.net/node/view/1791543) for Massachusetts, so maybe this is that?

EDIT: Zelotinae looks good, but classifying any finer is highly questionable.

Opiliones (aka Harvestman):

Some scenery:

Posted 2021-05-02 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Moose Hill boardwalk   Leave a comment

Second foray with the new Laowa 24mm macro probe lens, using its ability to explore underwater. Instead of a vernal pool, focused on the area around the boardwalk. It becomes a swamp or a pool during spring melt, but does dry up at other times of the year.

The inside of a skunk cabbage that had been submerged by the spring melt:

Is this spirogyra?

Mosquito larva:

This beetle (which looks BB8 from Star Wars) is Desmopachria, in the tribe Hyphydrini, subfamily Hydroporinae, family Dytiscidae. I’m excited because it’s the first BugGuide report of this tribe and genus in Massachusetts — my third taxon that I have a state first (Dolichurus and Podium luctuosum are the two others).

I think this spider is Erigoninae, in Linyphiidae. It had fallen in the water, but managed to successfully get out. Going down to genus or species is very difficult, but Walckenaeria communis is a good fit, for whatever that’s worth. For example, compare with https://bugguide.net/node/view/379912.

The abdomen looks shiny from that angle, but in this photo you can see the hairs:

So many tiny springtails all over the place. It turns out that these are Sminthurides malmgreni, and that makes it the first report in BugGuide/iNat of this species anywhere in the USA. There’s another report in British Columbia, though. Combined with the Desmopachria (see below), that makes my fourth taxon that’s a first for Massachusetts.

Water mite, Hydrachnidia, with a springtail photo-bombing, as springtails do.

I saw a cluster of debris, that seemed to move when there was no current. Hmm. Then I saw another one, and another. After the fourth or fifth, it finally dawned on me that I was seeing caddisfly larvae. I’m not always the sharpest guy around.

They’re gorgeous and fascinating!

Here you can see the caddisfly larva emerging from the casing:

Water skimmer. Gerris sp? Need to rule out Aquarius cf remigis.

BugGuide: “Gerris: connexival spines not prominent, metatibia <3.3 as long as metatarsomere 1″. Whatever that means!

“Aquarius: hind tibia at least 4 times as long as metatarsomere 1; connexival spines prominent; pronotum dull; antennomere 1 more than 0.9 as long as antennomeres 2+3; adults winged or wingless”

Underwater plant, smooth and silky.

Salamander eggs. Note the gel completely surrounding the egg mass. Probably Ambystoma genus, Spotted Salamander egg clutch. Note that Jefferson salamanders do not come this far East, and blue-spotted salamander egg clutches are not this big.

A water beetle with distinctive markings. Haliplus, in Haliplidae (crawling water beetles).

another view, more of the dorsal pattern:

I’m including this information here, so I can search for it later. How to distinguish Gladicosa gulosa from Schizocosa:

This species in the particular is tough to distinguish from Schizocosa, but generally speaking, the stripe on the prosoma fans out slightly right around the eyes of Schizocosa. In Gladicosa, the PLEs visibly “cinch” the stripe in.
To illustrate:
https://bugguide.net/node/view/1950185/bgimage

https://bugguide.net/node/view/1795131/bgimage

Also: “You’ll also notice the overall shape of the prosoma in Schizocosa is rounder.”

Posted 2021-04-04 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Moose Hill vernal pool   Leave a comment

I don’t think I’m a big gadget guy, but I recently bought the rather extraordinary Laowa 24 mm probe lens.  This macro lens also happens to be waterproof, and allows me to sit on the edge of a vernal pond, dip the end of the probe into the water, and record what I see.

The single vernal pool had already dried up and split into multiple pools.  For some reason, one of them was utterly packed with Fairy Shrimp, while the other didn’t seem to have any.  It may be relevant that the one that *didn’t* have fairy shrimp, had plenty of frogs!

This photo gives you a good idea of how closely the fairy shrimp were packed:

Some more photos of their unearthly beauty:

Not a very good photo of a beautiful spider, Pirata in Lycosidae (wolf spiders), walking on water:

A friend has a copy of TopazAI denoise software, which uses AI to deblur. This is the output, so much better! Note that the foreground is improved without the background getting worse.

Bright red water mites (Hydrachnidia) were everywhere:

Look at the feathery legs!

According to BugGuide: “I think this is most likely Helochares maculicollis, but the angle isn’t great, so Hydrobius fuscipes and Cymbiodyta bifidus are possibilities”

Probably a water beetle larvae, probably Dytiscidae.

Phantom midge larva, I think, but I don’t have the expertise to rule out mosquito larva.

I have no idea what’s going on with this fly. Is it two flies mating? Doesn’t seem so from other angles. (EDIT: Ochthera tuberculata, in Ephydridae).

Mayfly larva?

Is this a Copepod?

I think this is an Ostracod:

Another Ostracod, I think:

The 24mm lens allows us to get into the creature’s world, rather than just photograph them. I think this is a wood frog, Lithobates sylvaticus:

Ice and leaf. The ice will melt, the leaf is dead, but they’re going out so elegantly, and the new will begin again soon.

Posted 2021-03-20 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Massapoag Trail   Leave a comment

Snowy day. Didn’t feel like driving, so explored a part of the Massapoag Trail I really should have spent more time in until now, from Lake Massapoag onwards.

Low light, and the nature of snowy woods, means that a lot of the photos worked best in black and white.

Posted 2021-02-19 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Snowflakes   Leave a comment

Posted 2021-02-19 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Fox   Leave a comment

A fox in the backyard; a cardinal photo, taken while trying out a new lens.

Posted 2021-02-18 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Borderland State Park   Leave a comment

Posted 2021-01-30 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Devil’s Brook   Leave a comment

Posted 2021-01-02 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Devil’s Brook on Christmas   4 comments

Lots and lots of rain, which means that Devil’s Brook was absolutely gushing. The stream photos depend very sensitively on the time of exposure: if you take a very short exposure, the action is frozen. If you take a long exposure, all the action is smoothed away and you get a tranquil effect. The problem, of course, is that this stream did not seem tranquil — it was frisky and energetic. I tried to explore exposure times that demonstrated this.

Several droplet photos, but the light was not great and I can’t get the noise reduction right. I’ll keep working on that, but I suspect these photos aren’t going to be much better even under smarter processing.

Posted 2020-12-25 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized