Sunday, October 6, 2019

HumBug: Hello, Handsome

Posted By on Sun, Oct 6, 2019 at 4:54 PM

While moving firewood, I happened on a small beetle with an interesting pronatum. Its orange thorax was flared outward. A quick look up in Pacific Northwest Insects showed me it was a handsome fungus beetleā€ (Aphorista lactus). I've never seen the words "handsome" and "fungus" in the same sentence before. No accounting for taste, I guess.
click to enlarge Handsome fungus beetle. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Handsome fungus beetle.
A quick walk down to the river emphasized that the seasons are indeed changing. Most flowering plants are done for the year but the occasional late bloomer still provides sustenance for the insects that are still around.

click to enlarge Variegated meadowhawk in fall colors. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Variegated meadowhawk in fall colors.
Fall colors are in vogue with the insect world. Starting around this time of year the variegated meadowhawk dragonflies are more subdued grays and less the flashy red and orange plaids of their summer brothers. I wonder if individual's colors change or if they are different throughout their whole lives.
click to enlarge Hover fly approaches one of the last Queen Anne's lace of the year. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Hover fly approaches one of the last Queen Anne's lace of the year.
I was delighted to see the return of one of my favorite dragonflies. The pale-faced clubskimmer (Brechmorhoga mendax). You can find them gliding low over the smooth, shallow flats and riffles in the river in the sunny spots, or occasionally resting in nearby bushes. Their black and gray coloration blends in well as they hang in the shadows rather than sunning themselves as most other species do. According to many sources, this is a Southwest species. I guess they never got the memo.
click to enlarge Pale-faced clubskimmer. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Pale-faced clubskimmer.
A flash of the brilliant red color only found on the American rubyspot damselfly caught my eye only to disappear when it landed and closed its wings. Even when the wings are open, the camera can't seem to capture the real color exactly. I suspect the red patches on the wings reflect not only red, but blue light and even into ultraviolet range, which is largely filtered out by the filters and lenses I use.
click to enlarge American rubyspot hides the brilliance of its wings. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • American rubyspot hides the brilliance of its wings.
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