Sunday, April 22, 2018

HumBug: Safer to Look Like Crap

Posted By on Sun, Apr 22, 2018 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge California darner doing a little dung fly dining. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • California darner doing a little dung fly dining.

First day out with my new Canon 6D Mark II today and so far I'm happy. I used my Sigma 150/600-millimeter lens and, after a slow start, managed to find a few subjects. I watched as a smallish dragonfly searched among the willows looking for someplace to dine on its catch. As soon as it did, I took several shots. I was able to identify it was a California darner (Rhionaeschna californica) and even what it was eating. Lunch was a golden dung fly. Mmmm.
click to enlarge Female anise swallowtail. Note: Characteristic "swallowtails" are missing, most likely lost to a bird. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Female anise swallowtail. Note: Characteristic "swallowtails" are missing, most likely lost to a bird.
There were several anise swallowtails ovipositing (laying eggs) on the wild anise or fennel which grows along this stretch of the Van Duzen River. The eggs will soon hatch into tiny caterpillars that resemble bird poop. It is believed this gives them some protection from predation. Again, mmmm.
click to enlarge Anise swallowtail larva camouflaged as bird poop. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Anise swallowtail larva camouflaged as bird poop.

As they outgrow that disguise they turn green with black and yellow markings which act as camouflage of a different sort.
click to enlarge Full sized anise swallowtail larva. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Full sized anise swallowtail larva.

A little while back, I encountered what looked like a tiny dried leather sack stuck to one of the dry fennel stalks. It was identified on Facebook as an anise swallowtail larva, most likely infected with nuclear polyhedrosis virus, which infects insects, mainly butterfly and moth caterpillars, and is about 100 percent fatal. I'll take sniffles and a runny nose any day.
click to enlarge Anise Swallowtail destroyed by virus. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Anise Swallowtail destroyed by virus.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

more from the author

Latest in HumBug Online

© 2018 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation