Misc_Insects

The Miscellaneous Insects page contains 75 macro portraits of Katydids, Cicadas,
Ladybugs, Mantises, Spiders and other insects, along with detailed species information.

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Bees, Flies and Dragonflies

Miscellaneous Insects:
Katydids, Cicadas, Ladybugs, Mantis, Spiders and more

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There are 4 Galleries in the the Insect Macros Collection:

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Katydid_2189


Katydid 2189

Katydid_2187


Katydid 2187

Closeup images of a Scudderia Katydid, either a Fork-tailed Bush Katydid or a Mexican Bush Katydid.

Bush Katydid males have distinctive tail plates which can be used to identify the species, but the species
of the female frequently must be identified by association with males. Katydids are superbly camouflaged,
looking just like a leaf as you can see, but this one was found outside its normal habitat, crossing concrete
in the early evening, probably hoping to avoid predators. They really stand out when they are not on foliage.

Katydid_2186M


Katydid 2186 M

Scudderia Bush Katydids resemble grasshoppers, but have longer, thinner legs, much longer antennae, and
wings that are longer than many grasshopper species. This closeup shows head, mouth part, leg and wing detail.

They produce sound via stridulation of sound-organs on the hind angles of their front wings. Their
stridulation sounds like “ka-ty-did, ka-ty-didn’t”, which is the source of their common name. They
stridulate by rubbing a scraper on one forewing against the toothed edge of the other forewing.

All of the landscape (horizontal) large version images linked from the thumbnails are 1500 pixels wide.
Portrait (vertical) images are 1200 pixels tall (1290 pixels with title bar). Images designated with an “M”
in the shot number are 5:4 aspect ratio, 1500 x 1290 with a title bar, or 1500 x 1200 without a title bar.
Some of the portrait images are also designated as “M”, and are 1500 pixels tall (plus the title bar).

Katydid_3088


Katydid 3088

The image above shows a female resting on a daisy. This one is most likely a Mexican Bush Katydid,
as it does not have the high wing arch, but that is not a perfect indicator of species. It can be identified
as a female by the ovipositor which can be seen curving up between the hairy cerci (protrusions at the
rear of the abdomen). Both Fork-tailed Bush Katydid (Scudderia furcata) and Mexican Bush Katydid
(Scudderia mexicana) live in the Los Angeles area, and the only sure way to tell is by the tail plate.

Katydid_2191


Katydid 2191

An extreme close frontal portrait of a Scudderia Bush Katydid showing the facial detail.

Normal Katydids are green, but they can be red-orange, yellow, brown or a bubblegum pink. The
odder katydids are rare and caused by erythrism, caused by a recessive gene similar to albinism.
Breeding experiments in the Audubon Butterfly and Insectarium in New Orleans have yielded a
veritable rainbow of colored Katydids, which they keep in the aptly named “Rainbow Room”.
They have yellow with pink legs, taupe, red, pink, orange, gray, tan, and of course green.

Katydid_2193M


Katydid 2193 M

A detail crop showing facial detail of a Scudderia Katydid staring directly into the lens of the camera.

Katydid_Colorful_Hideaway_5908


Katydid Colorful Hideaway 5908

A Scudderia Bush Katydid eyes the photographer from a vibrantly colorful perch inside a rose.

Scudderia Katydids eat leaves of trees and shrubs, flowers, fruit and stems, especially citrus fruit.
The Fork-tailed Bush Katydid can cause a lot of damage in a citrus orchard. They often take a single
bite from a fruit and then move on to another one, so a few can damage a lot of fruit in a short period.

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Katydid_Nymph_2443


Katydid Nymph 2443

A Scudderia Katydid nymph perched atop a daisy. The brilliant, highly-figured bronze body
drew my eye from a distance, and it obliged me by posing for a series of images while checking
the daisy for tasty morsels. This Katydid nymph was one of the most attractive insects I have seen.

Katydid_Nymph_2457c_M


Katydid Nymph 2457c M

Katydid_Nymph_2464c_M


Katydid Nymph 2464c M

Detail crops of a Scudderia Katydid nymph on a daisy (either Scudderia furcata or S. mexicana).

Katydid_Nymph_2470


Katydid Nymph 2470

A Scudderia Bush Katydid nymph with white-banded black antennae poses on a daisy,
displaying its highly-figured bronze body for the photographer while searching for food.

Scudderia Katydids (Bush Katydids) in Southern California are generally either the
Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid (Scudderia furcata) or Mexican Bush Katydid (S. mexicana).
both of which have the white-banded black antennae. Their species ranges overlap in LA.

Katydid_Nymph_2472


Katydid Nymph 2472

Above and below are comparative images of Scudderia Katydid nymphs, an older nymph above and
a younger nymph below, both perched on a rose. Katydid nymphs molt their skins several times as they
grow, their appearance changing radically, but their black, white-banded antennae remain identifiable.
The young nymph seen below (the first instar) still has its prominent egg tooth showing atop its head.

KatydidNymph_5181c


Katydid Nymph 5181c

A first instar Scudderia Katydid nymph perched on a rose, with its egg tooth displayed atop its head.

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ApacheCicada_X5564


Apache Cicada X5564

ApacheCicada_X5532


Apache Cicada X5532

An Apache Cicada clinging to a tree in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

The Apache Cicada (Diceroprocta apache) is a desert cicada which emerges from underground
in an overlapping three year cycle (some cicadas emerge each year). They shed their final nymph
exoskeletons (leaving them attached to trees), and the males begin their loud buzzing to attract a
mate. After mating, the males die. The females lay eggs in the stems of plants, then they too die.
After hatching, the larvae burrow underground to feed on the sap of plants and continue the cycle.

ApacheCicada_X5536r


Apache Cicada X5536r

The rotated version of an Apache Cicada on a tree in Abiquiu. Both versions are available.

Male Cicadas make a very loud clicking sound by contracting and expanding the tymbals,
which are ribbed sections of the exoskeleton with membranes between ribs. Contracting
the tymbals causes a click, and another click is caused by the expansion. The tymbals
are contracted and expanded rapidly, and its body serves as a resonance chamber,
amplifying the sound to as much as 120 dB (among the loudest of insect sounds).

Cicadas have separate mating and distress calls, as well as a courtship sound.

ApacheCicada_X5557c


Apache Cicada X5557c

Apache Cicadas spend three years underground as nymphs, emerging to molt in their transformation to adults. The adults, called imagos, are about 2 inches long and are one of the few insects which cool themselves by sweating.

ApacheCicada_X5560


Apache Cicada X5560

Cicadas generally emerge in the hottest period of the summer from July to August. These had just emerged in late June. Their ability to sweat allows the Cicadas to stay out during the heat of the day, clicking madly to find a mate.

ApacheCicada_HeadDetail_X5541M


Apache Cicada Head Detail X5541 M

Their ability to sweat allows the Cicadas to stay out during the heat of the day, clicking madly to find a mate.

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Apache Cicada Eye Detail X5546c M

Detail of one of the Cicada’s large compound eyes. Above the compound eye is one of the simple eyes.

ApacheCicada_X5547c_M


Apache Cicada X5547c M

A detail crop, resized down from the center of the master image, showing the
head and thorax of an Apache Cicada clinging to a tree in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Apache Cicadas suck excess sap from plants and extrude water from their pores
when the temperature rises above 100 F, cooling themselves by about 10 degrees.
Only the males make the characteristic Cicada sound while advertising for females.
Their frenzy does not last all that long, as they mate quickly and soon die, returning
the next year for another short, noisy emergence during the heat of the summer.

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7-spot_GoldenLadybug_5621


7-spot Golden Ladybug 5621

A golden 7-spot Ladybug traversing a yellow rose. The 7-spot Ladybird Beetle is the most common
species in Europe and the one originally named Lady, and is also one of the most common in the US.
Most 7-spot Ladybugs are red and black... this golden one on a yellow rose is into color coordination.

Actually, it seems that golden ladybugs are somewhat rare, and this individual and its choice of
location were unusual enough in my experience that I had to get some extreme closeups.

7-spot_GoldenLadybug_5615c


7-spot Golden Ladybug 5615c

A detail crop showing a golden 7-spot Ladybird Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) on a yellow rose.

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Hibernating Ladybugs X2512c

Detail of a group of Ladybugs hibernating on a rock in Muir Woods, north of San Francisco in Mill Valley.
These are Convergent Ladybird Beetles (Hippodamia convergens), one of the most common ladybugs.
They can be identified by a white bordered pronotum behind the head with two white converging dashes.

Diapause, the insect version of hibernation, is a response to adverse environmental conditions such as
on a cold morning like this one. Insects enter diapause to conserve their resources at low temperatures.
Diapause is different than hibernation in that once initiated only certain other stimuli can bring the insect
out of diapause. Ladybugs gather together in large groups to engage in diapause, which also brings the
males and females together, facilitating reproduction when the insects eventually come out of diapause.

Hibernating_Ladybugs_X2514c_16x9


Hibernating Ladybugs X2514c 16x9

A 1600 x 900 resized detail crop of Convergent Ladybugs grouped in diapause on a cold morning in Muir Woods.

Aphids form the major part of the diet of these ladybugs, and they are often used for the control of Aphids.
Aphids (or plant lice) are small sap-sucking insects which do major damage to plants in temperate regions.
Images showing an Aphid infestation on Kalanchoe (a succulent) are displayed near the bottom of this page.

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Hibernating Ladybugs X2516c M

A 1200 x 1600 resized detail crop of Convergent Ladybugs in diapause on a
rail, on a cold morning in Muir Woods, north of San Francisco in Mill Valley, CA.
Note that the spots on some of the ladybugs are faint, or have not yet appeared.

For more images of Northern California, visit the San Francisco-Muir Woods page.

Ladybug_1517


Ladybug 1517

A Ladybug (Convergent Ladybird Beetle) searches a leaf for prey at Sepulveda Wildlife Refuge.

Ladybird Beetles (Coccinelids, or Ladybugs) are predatory insects, primarily eating aphids and other
scale insects, including larvae and pupae. Some species feed on mites, mealybugs, fungus or plants.
Ladybird Beetles were originally named for the Virgin Mary in medieval Europe. Their colors are a
warning of toxicity to insect-eating birds and other predators. They can secrete a foul substance
from their leg joints when threatened, and their blood contains foul tasting alkaloid toxins.

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Mantis

The order Mantodea contains over 2400 species of mantises and about 430 genera in 15 families.
Most mantises live in tropical regions. There are 20 species in North America, 3 of which are shown here.
The name Mantis derives from the ancient Greek for prophet. Most mantises are exclusively predatory, those
which are not exclusively predators are mostly predatory. Insects form their primary prey, but the larger mantids
will eat lizards, frogs, small birds, snakes, fish and small mammals. They eat anything small enough to catch.

Mantis_0079


Mantis 0079

Mantis_0085


Mantis 0085

A female Arizona Mantis (Stagmomantis limbata) on a rose at Descanso Gardens in La Canada/Flintridge.
The Bordered Mantis or Arizona Mantis ranges from Texas to Southern California, north into Colorado and Utah.
They can be distinguished from the California Mantis (further below) by the lack of dark markings on top of the body.
Female Mantises can be distinguished by males most easily by counting the segments at the rear of the abdomen.
When counting their abdomen segments from below, the males have eight segments and the females have six.

Mantis_6246M


Mantis 6246 M

Mantis_6252c_M


Mantis 6252c M

A Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) atop Yarrow and another below a leaf in Huntsville, Alabama.
The Carolina Mantis on Yarrow (left) is a female. The sex of the one under the leaf cannot be identified as
the abdomen is not fully exposed. The Carolina Mantis is able to vary its color with each molt to match
the environment in which it lives (brown, gray or green), until the final molt from nymph to adult. They
are the most common Mantis found across North America, and can be identified by the dark spot
atop their thorax over the rear legs (barely visible at left). They use a sit and wait hunting tactic.

Mantis_X4855


Mantis X4855

A female California Mantis (Stagmomantis californica) posing under a leaf. Females generally have
a more bulbous lower abdomen, but the only certain way of identifying the female is to count segments.
The California Mantis can be identified by the dark markings atop the prothorax (longest thorax segment).
A relatively uncommon mantid, the California Mantis lives in the Southwestern USA, ranging from Texas to
California in the south and to southern Oregon, Nevada and Utah in the north. They are ambush predators.

Note the long tarsus (walking appendage) extending beyond the foreleg with its femoral and tibial spines.

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Mantis X4858 M

Mantis_X4861M


Mantis X4861 M

A series of closeup images and detail crops of a female California Mantis hanging below a leaf.

Mantises are sometimes called “Praying Mantis” or “Preying Mantis” due to their habit of folding their forelimbs
or because of their predatory character, but there is only one true Praying Mantis (the European Mantis religiosa).
The European Mantis (Mantis religiosa) was introduced to North America in 1899 on a shipment of nursery plants
and spread throughout the northeastern US and Canada to the Pacific Northwest. They can be identified by the
large dark area on the underside of the coxa (the leg segment closest to the shoulder... think dark armpits).
They are one of the most well-known and widespread of the Mantises, and their common name has been
adopted to describe the entire group of Mantises. Mantis religiosa is the state insect of Connecticut.

Mantis_X4858c_M


Mantis X4858c M

A detail crop of the head, forelegs and prothorax segment of a California Mantis hanging under a leaf,
slightly resized down from the master image. Note the protruding eyes, the complex mouthparts, the dark
markings on the dorsal side of the prothorax segment, the femoral and tibial spines and the tip of the tarsus.
The thorny femoral and tibial spines grasp prey. The mantid uses the tarsus on its forelegs when walking.
The mouthparts of a mantid are the labrum (upper jaw), labium (lower jaw), the mandibles and maxilla.
The mandibles aid in cutting and tearing the food, and the maxilla are used to manipulate the food.
The neck of the mantis can rotate the head 180 degrees in either direction, unlike any other insect.

Mantis_X4860


Mantis X4860

Mantis_X4861


Mantis X4861

Detail of the head and thorax of a female California Mantis (Stagmomantis californica) under a leaf.
Notice that the dark pseudo-pupil in the compound eyes always seem to be looking at the camera.
Ommatidia (eye units) being observed head-on absorb light, while those at the sides reflect light.

Mantis_X4860c


Mantis X4860c

A detail crop of the head, prothorax and forelegs of a female California Mantis.

The mantis has two large compound eyes and three simple eyes between the compound eyes.
The simple eyes are only for light detection, but the compound eyes are widely spaced on the sides
of the head for wide-angle binocular vision. The compound eyes have 10,000 ommatidia (eye units),
and give the mantises a unique ability among invertebrates... the ability to see in three dimensions.

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Mantis_X4881


Mantis X4881

A male California Mantis (Stagmomantis californica) atop a leaf at Descanso Gardens.

The number of abdominal segments identify the male and the dark prothorax markings
identify the species. Adult California Mantises are about two inches long, and like most
mantises they are carnivorous, eating any other insect small enough to catch and large
enough to grab its attention, including mantises. Females often eat males after mating.

Mantis_X4881c


Mantis X4881c

A detail crop of a California Mantis, showing the dark prothorax segment markings, the flexible neck,
the large compound eye with its pseudo-pupil, the segmented antenna, and the complex mouthparts.
The mouthparts include the Labrum (upper jaw), the labium (lower jaw) formed from two fused maxilla,
the mandibles (the larger diameter appendages which are used to help cut, tear and chew the food),
and the maxilla (the longer, more curved appendages which are used to help manipulate the food).

Mantis_X4886


Mantis X4886

A curious male California Mantis tilts its head for a better view of the camera while perched atop a leaf.

Mantis_X6194


Mantis X6194

A male California Mantis (Stagmomantis californica) perched atop a rose at Huntington Gardens.

Most of the mantises are ambush hunters, which means they sit and wait for prey to pass by, then grab
the prey. This mantis reached out and caught a flying insect a few seconds after this shot was taken...
(the image below shows the insect impaled between the femoral and tibial spines). Brutal efficiency.
Some ground and bark mantis species actively pursue prey, but most wait for prey to come to them.

Mantis_X6198


Mantis X6198

A male California Mantis moments after catching a flying insect while perched atop a rose.
The insect was caught in the air and impaled by the femoral and tibial spines on the foreleg.
Once caught, if the prey resists the mantis will chew off the head first, otherwise it eats it alive.

Mantis_X6198c_M


Mantis X6198c M

A detail crop of a California Mantis moments after catching a flying insect between the spines of its foreleg.
The mantid reached out with its raptorial foreleg with truly remarkable speed to snatch the insect out of the air.

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Green_Lynx_Spider_6794


Green Lynx Spider 6794

The Green Lynx Spider (Peucetia viridans) is a hunting spider which is usually found on green plants,
thus the camouflage, but they also visit flowers to ambush pollinators. Like many of the other lynx spiders,
they have spiny bristles on their clear or yellow-to-green, black-spotted legs to protect them from struggling
prey. This is the largest of the North American lynx spiders and they are very similar to Peucetia longipalpis,
which has a shorter, more rounded dome-shaped abdomen and shorter legs compared to its body length.
They are 1/2” long, and their eight eyes form a hexagonal shape with a reddish-brown area in the center.
Aside from the spitting spiders (Scytodidae), the Green Lynx is the only spider which can spit venom.

JumpingSpider_inRose_1730M


Jumping Spider in Rose 1730 M

An iridescent gold Jumping Spider (Sassacus vitis) perched on a rose. Vitis is Latin for grapevine.

The Grapevine Jumping Spider has scales which flash green or gold depending on the light angle to
mimic certain beetles (or possibly water droplets) to deter predators. S. vitis are quite similar to the
Jumping Spider Sassacus papenhoei, which has an iridescent green body. Both spiders are about
0.2” long, with short legs and 8 eyes. The central two eyes are larger, with direct and movable retina
and a longer focal length than their other eyes but with a narrower field of view. The other eyes have
indirect retina (facing away from the incoming light) and have a wider field of view. The lateral front
eyes are used to estimate the range, direction, movement and nature of prey. The posterior eyes
are wide angle motion detectors, and are also adapted for use in lower light. The combined use
of their eyes gives Jumping Spiders one of the highest visual acuities of all of the invertebrates.
Experiments have shown that the primary eyes can see in color, with sensitivity up to ultraviolet.

JumpingSpider_inRose_1739M


Jumping Spider in Rose 1739 M

JumpingSpider_inRose_1737M


Jumping Spider in Rose 1737 M

An iridescent gold Jumping Spider (Sassacus vitis) patrolling a rose and enjoying the garden view.
Sassacus vitis has short white marks on the sides at the rear of the abdomen as seen above right.
The front legs of the jumping spiders are thicker and more powerful, and are used for tackling prey.

JumpingSpider_4162


Jumping Spider 4162

An iridescent gold Grapevine Jumping Spider (Sassacus vitis) examines the large black eye of the lens.

The spiders eyes are arranged around the cephalothorax, with four in front and two on either side of the
front half of the upper cephalothorax (head/body). The two central forward-facing eyes are larger, and
have movable retinas. The central primaries along with the outer front-facing eyes give the spiders
detailed 3D vision, facilitating the jumping attacks. These spiders use their rear legs for jumping.
An internal hydraulic system powers the rear legs, and they jump several times their body length.
When jumping, the spiders fasten a safety thread just before jumping, and push off with both of
their rear sets of legs (other jumping spiders use either the 3rd or 4th pair of legs for jumping).

Orbweaver_Spider_0634


Orbweaver Spider 0634

A female Banded Argiope (Argiope trifasciata) or Banded Garden Spider, one of the Orbweaver spiders.
They build large orb-shaped webs generally close to the ground and hang upside down. They usually eat and
rebuild their web every day except during the molting and egg-laying periods. The abdomen is oval and it is
pointed at the rear. Both the abdomen and legs are banded. Their front legs are longer than the rear legs.
Males are much smaller than females. This is the most common garden spider found in the western US.

Orbweaver_Spider_6488M


Orbweaver Spider 6488 M

The male Silver Argiope (Argiope argentata), or Silver Garden Spider. Males are 1/3 the size of females,
and are not as spectacular in appearance. This male is a little over 1/8” in size (about 4 mm), and is hanging
in typical head-down position with the abdomen tipped away from the web. Silver Argiopes weave a distinctive
X-shaped zig-zag pattern in their web, which acts to stabilize the web and create a visual signal to prevent birds
from flying into the web. The X-shaped pattern reflects ultraviolet light, and may also attract insects to the web.

The fourth set of legs on all spiders that create webs are specialized for manipulating silk from the spinnerets
using specialized hairs on the fourth set of legs. These legs are used to reel out the thread from the spinnerets
when the spider is descending on a silk line or preparing to lay silk threads to create or repair a web. The 3rd
pair of legs, which are generally shorter than the other legs and laterally directed, are not very effective when
walking, but are quite effective when on a web or when climbing a vertical thread, when they are used for
gathering up the loose thread. When walking upside down on a horizontal thread, the third set of legs
move twice as fast as the other legs. In placing thread, the 3rd and 4th sets of legs work together.

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Orbweaver_Spider_2498c


Orbweaver Spider 2498c

A Cross Orbweaver female hanging in her web at Descanso Gardens in La Canada/Flintridge.
This spider was in deep shadow in the late afternoon, and I used a Maglite to illuminate her body.

One of the most abundant of the Orbweaver spiders is the Cross Orbweaver (Araneus diadematus).
Also called the European Garden spider, the Diadem spider, and the Cross spider, Araneus diadematus
was originally native to Europe, but was introduced to North America and has spread throughout the continent.
Cross Orbweavers are fairly large spiders. Females are usually 0.5” to 0.8” and are much larger than males.
They are quite common in gardens and yards in urban areas, and are not dangerous to humans or pets.

Orbweaver_Spider_1005


Orbweaver Spider 1005

A Cross Orbweaver female climbing her web, again in heavy shadow and lit by a Maglite.

Cross Orbweaver spiders have been the stars of several interesting research experiments.
Arabella, a Cross Orbweaver, was on the Skylab 3 space station in 1973 for three months
to determine how a near zero-gravity environment would affect web construction. Arabella
required practice to become used to the micro-gravity, but eventually got the “hang” of it.
There have also been numerous experiments on the effects of drugs on web-building.

Orbweaver_Spider_1016


Orbweaver Spider 1016

Orbweaver_Spider_1017


Orbweaver Spider 1017

A Cross Orbweaver female climbs a support thread holding her web in the Camellia Forest at Descanso Gardens.

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Orbweaver Spider 2505 M

Orbweaver_Spider_2509M


Orbweaver Spider 2509 M

A Cross Orbweaver female hangs in the typical head-down position in her web at Descanso Gardens.

Cross Orbweaver webs are generally built several feet off the ground using whatever framework is available.
The orb part of the web is usually a foot or two in diameter, but tether lines can be six feet or more in length,
depending on where the web is located. They can be attached to buildings, shrubs, fences, trees, etc. The
spider either resides in the center of the web as shown above, or on a retreat at the periphery of the web.
If the spider is at the edge of the web, a signal thread is often connected to the center of the web to alert
the spider to the presence of prey. The spider usually eats the web at night and rebuilds it the next day.

Orbweaver_Spider_withPrey_4104M


Orbweaver Spider with Prey 4104 M

An extreme closeup of a Spotted Orbweaver, or Hentz Orbweaver (Neoscona crucifera) and its prey.
The Spotted Orbweaver has eight eyes, with the median eyes grouped in the center of the cephalothorax.
You can see the chelicera with their wicked fangs closing on the prey and the palps used both to manipulate
the prey and for sensory purposes. Legs are relatively thick and spiny with prominent bands and clawed ends.
The Spotted Orbweaver spiders often build their webs on buildings. This one was near the light in my garage.

There are several species in the genus Neoscona commonly called the Spotted Orbweaver, including the
Western Spotted Orbweaver (Neoscona oaxacensis) which also lives in the southwestern US. The other
spotted orbweavers have more colorful abdomens or legs and are easily distinguished from the Hentz.

Sac_Spider_0578


Sac Spider 0578

The Yellow Sac Spider or Long-legged Sac Spider (Cheiracanthium mildei) in one of its common
environments... on the wall of a house. These are about 1/2 inch long and generally all one color. They
can be yellow, pale green, or tan like this one. Yellow Sac Spiders probably account for more spider bites
than any other spider, and they are active hunters at night. The bites can be quite nasty, but are not fatal.
Some people have extremely adverse reactions to the bites, and sometimes necrotized tissue results.

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Anemone_withAnt_4691M


Anemone with Ant 4691 M

CamelliaJaponica_Macro_withAnt_HS2493M


Camellia Japonica Macro with Ant HS2493 M

An ant peeks over the edge of an Anemone flower (left) and another examines the anthers on the stamens
of a Camellia Japonica flower at Descanso Gardens in La Canada/Flintridge near Pasadena, California.

When taking macro photographs in gardens, small insects often add to the composition. In most images
 in this section the insects are the primary subjects, but in these cases they are secondary to the flower.

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Brewer’s Lupine with Carpenter Ant 4014c

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Shield Bug on Rose 0158

A giant Carpenter Ant (Campanotus laevigatus) explores a Brewer’s Lupine on the Mirror Lake Trail in Yosemite.
There are nearly 1100 species of Carpenter Ants in the genus Campanotus. These large ants (up to an inch long)
forage individually for dead insects, honeydew from aphids (see below), and plant secretions. They live in moist,
decaying wood such as hollow logs and often build extensive systems of tunnels underground or in trees to food
sources such as aphid colonies. They do not eat wood, but hollow out bark or rotting structural wood for nests.

Above right is probably a Red-Cross Shield Bug (Elasmostethus cruciatus), in the family Acanthosomatidae.
The only indicator that this may be a different species is the antennae, which are three segments ending in a club
Images I have seen of the Red-Cross Shield Bug have five segmented straight antennae. Bugs can be tricky to ID.
It may also be in the related genus Elasmucha. Shield Bugs are also often called stink bugs because of the odor
produced from glands in the thorax when they are handled, these insects are mostly plant feeders, although a few
shield bugs are predators. They are sometimes called parent bugs because they guard egg clutches and young.

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Aphids 7617

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Aphids 7620

An infestation of Aphids, probably the Oleander Aphid (Aphis nerii) on Kalanchoe in Southern California.

Aphids, or plant lice, are among the most destructive insect pests on cultivated plants in temperate regions.
They are small, soft-bodied sap-sucking insects. Oleander aphids can either be winged or wingless, and all
adults are female, as the species is parthenogenetic (reproducing asexually). Oleander aphids are yellow
with black legs, and as can be seen in these three images, their nymphs resemble the wingless adults.
Oleander aphids have stalks known as cornicles on the rear of the abdomen, resembling small legs.

Aphids_7643


Aphids 7643

A large colony of aphids (probably Oleander Aphids) infesting a Kalanchoe in Southern California.

Oleander aphids deposite fully formed nymphs rather than eggs. Many of the very tiny individuals
in these images are first instar nymphs. Nymphs progress through five instar stages, and as in all
insects in the order Sternorrhyncha, adults are produced from the final nymph instar (there is no
pupal stage). All aphid nymphs are clones of the adult which deposited them. Aphids secrete a
sugary substance called honeydew which is sought out by other insects, especially ants. Aphid
predators include Ladybird Beetles, parasitic wasps, syrphid flies and other predatory insects.
Winged aphids appear when the host plant is worn out or the colony becomes overcrowded.

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Earwig X0182

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Earwig X0192

A male Earwig, found on my hallway wall one day, offered an interesting photographic opportunity.
He seemed to be as interested in the camera as I was in him, taking a good long look at the lens.

Earwigs are in the order Dermaptera, and there are about 2000 species in 12 families. Males have
the characteristic pincer-shaped cerci at the rear of their abdomen as shown above. Females have
straighter cerci which are not as broad at the base, and look more like a needle-nosed pliers. This
is most likely the Common Earwig (Forficula auricularia), often found in homes in North America.
They are not at all dangerous, but they do look pretty scary and they are considered to be a pest.

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Earwig X0182c

A detail crop (resized down from the master image) showing the segmented antenna and compound eye
of a male Earwig, as well as the complex mouthparts. The actual size of the head is about 2 mm across.

Earwig_X0192c


Earwig X0192c

A detail crop looking down on the head of an Earwig, showing detail of the compound eye and mouthparts.
As in the image above, this is resized down from the master image, and you should open the large version
to get a better view of the head. This would have made a good alien monster for a 1950’s “B” horror flick.

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The Banner below leads to the Insect Macros Collection where images can be selected.

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There are 4 Galleries in the the Insect Macros Collection:

Bees & Wasps                    Butterflies
Insects C, D, F              Insects K to S

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Black_Ground_Beetle_3784c


Black Ground Beetle 3784c

The Common Black Ground Beetle (Pterostichus melanarius) generally eats grubs, worms, maggots and
other soft-bodied insects. Primarily carnivorous, they feed on many insects which can be harmful to gardens.
There are several similar species, all of which share a common name. They are typically a half inch long or so,
with an all black body and legs, segmented antennae, and a series of longitudinal lines on their abdomen.
Sometimes called the Carabid Beetle, they have been shown to be able to learn spatial information in a
maze, and the location of a water source in an open field. Their foraging activity has also been studied.

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Black Ground Beetle 3785

A popular subject for scientific study, the Common Black Ground Beetle (Pterostichus melanarius) or
 Carabid Beetle is a member of the Woodland Ground Beetles, a large genus with over 1100 species.
There are over 180 species of Pterostichus in North America, many very similar, and the differences
can sometimes make an identification difficult. This ID is a fairly close guess, but not at all certain.

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Black Ground Beetle 3788

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Black Ground Beetle 3795

A Common Black Ground Beetle or Carabid Beetle in the genus Pterostichus (Pterostichus melanarius ?).

Black Ground Beetles prefer moist woods, fields and gardens where they live under leaves, logs and stones.
In most species of ground beetle, the ridged elytra (wing covers) are fused, rendering them incapable of flight.
They can emit a noxious or caustic secretion from the lower rear of the abdomen, and when I was young these
Carabids were the ones we called “stink bugs”, not the shield bugs which produce a far less unpleasant odor.
When one of these fellows sticks its butt up in your direction, you should probably avoid getting too close to it.

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Black Ground Beetle 5579

A close detail shot of a Common Black Ground Beetle or Carabid Beetle in the genus Pterostichus.
Note the broader elytra (wing covers), plus the elytra markings are not as prominent on this individual.

As they are predators of invertebrates which are often home and garden pests, ground beetles are
considered to be beneficial organisms, but many folks are predisposed to squash beetles due to
experiences with cockroaches. During the early 19th century, many ground beetles were subjects
of entomological collection and study, and even Charles Darwin was a collector in his early 20’s.

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Coral Sands Ground Beetle X2415c

The Coral Sands Ground Beetle is not as famous as the unique Coral Pink Sand Dunes Tiger Beetle
 (Cicindela albissima), whose thorax and central elytra (wing cover) are bronze, and outer elytra is a
light tan. The Tiger Beetle is found nowhere else in the world, but it can be an elusive creature. I had
to make do with a Ground Beetle who was exploring the salmon-colored sands of the Utah state park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes, which can be seen on the Utah Scenic page in the Southwest Scenic section.

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The Banner below leads to the Insect Macros Collection where images can be selected.

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There are 4 Galleries in the the Insect Macros Collection:

Bees & Wasps                    Butterflies
Insects C, D, F              Insects K to S

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Click the Display Composite above to visit the Bees, Flies and Dragonflies page.

Butterflies


Click the Display Composite above to visit the Butterflies section.

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