The Bugs of Summer

The Bugs of Summer WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

(Not to be confused with the “Boys of Summer” for you baseball fans)

I have this collection of macro photos of insects and spiders (hey, they make great subjects!) This post was “planned” (lurking on my editorial calendar), waiting for the right moment in which to create the post.

The WordPress weekly photo challenge theme was Details, highlighting the fun of macro photography, and lo and behold, my collection of bugs now sees the light of day!

Scared of bugs, you say? Naaah, not of these guys! While not cute or cuddly, they each have a certain character.

Please let me introduce each of them to you.

The first image is of the praying mantis I discovered languishing on my windsurf board. He was very patient while I photographed him.

Mantis praying for wind, as it sits on my windsurf board

Mantises are distributed worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats. They have triangular heads with bulging eyes supported on flexible necks. All mantis’ have forelegs that are greatly enlarged and adapted for catching and gripping prey.

Crazy fact: sometimes the females decapitate the males just before or during mating.

Here is a large, (at least ½ inch long) Sierra Nevada Carpenter ant. He kept trying to crawl onto my shoe, and while shooting him, I nearly stepped on him!

Sierra Carpenter Ant

They scuttle over the granite rocks and live in nests made in old logs and stumps. Ants are beneficial and eat destructive forest beetles.

Crazy fact: The queens have been known to have lived as many as 27 years. Simple worker ants can live for several years.

caterpillar stage of Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly

We all know why caterpillars cross the road like this one in the photo…to go become a Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly! The dark, blue-black butterflies can be seen along the American River Bike Trail, IF their caterpillar selves were lucky enough to cross without being squished by cyclists’ tires.

pipevine swallowtail butterfly

image courtesy of National Fish & Wildlife Service

Crazy fact: Pipevine Swallowtails can have a wingspan to up to three and a half inches.

Summer is just not the same without a friendly spider or two.

Orbweaver spider

This 2-inch, cross orb-weaver spider’s legs are specialized for spinning orb webs. The webs are built by the larger females who hang head down in the center of the web or remain hidden in nearby foliage, with one claw hooked to a signal line connected to the main orb waiting for a disturbance to signal the arrival of prey. (Wikipedia)

This little gem was found hanging right outside our trailer front window. Doesn’t she look irritated? (Tell me if you see a face here).

Crazy fact: They are known to recycle their webs by disassembling and eating them.

Unless you live in the sub-tropics, you may not have seen this exciting specimen. He was found hiding in my husband’s rolled up sail last winter in Baja, Mexico

whip spider

Whip spiders are quite unusual looking arachnids, with their first pair of legs very thin and elongated to several times the length of their body, resembling whips. These long appendages are used like feelers and resemble antennae. They are nocturnal and fairly large; this guy was about 4 inches wide and scuttled sideways, making both my hubby and I jump!

Crazy fact(s): whip spiders do not possess silk glands or venom glands. They subdue their prey by means of raptorial pincers. Eeek!

For more information on unusual spiders, check out this website.

Since we are still in Baja, Mexico, where winter has summer-like temperatures, I would like to introduce you to this feller, a desert scorpion. They like to hide in woodpiles, so be careful if you are preparing to build a fire.

desert scorpion

Most scorpions’ venom is NOT lethal to humans. Its function is primarily to subdue prey.

Crazy fact: Scorpions glow a vibrant blue-green, lighting up like beacons against the darkness under ultraviolet (UV) light. No one knows why scorpions glow. Some have suggested that it’s accidental – the two chemicals responsible for the glow could be by-products of normal chemical reactions.
The Green Shield Bug is a cute little critter that also was very patient as I took his picture.

green beetle

Beetles are among largest family of the insect kingdom. These beetles have a hard shell that, in this case, looks like a bright green leaf. He was right at home on the white rug of our friend’s Baja home.

Crazy fact: This beetle is close cousin to the stink bug, so be careful how you handle it!

If you haven’t had enough of bug close-ups yet, please check out a fellow blogger at ChosenPerspectives!


I took these photos with my Samsung Galaxy phone and edited them with PicMonkey. If you are interested in more photo tips for blogging, please check out my affordable e-book, Better Blogging with Photography.

I hope you enjoyed meeting the bugs of summer. What are your favorite bugs? Thanks for reading!

 

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34 thoughts on “The Bugs of Summer

  1. I’m pretty good with most bugs… being outdoors, a long-time tomboy, I don’t fear many of them… however! Praying mantis’ have always freaked me out, and I adore spiders (really! Every fellow female thinks I’m nuts) but that whip spider looks lethal.

    Aside from those, I loathe centipedes and earwigs.

    Great post, Terri! 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks, Nikki, I think they can change color to their surroundings. This one was in the delta and the grass in very wheat colored this time of year. I have seen green ones at home where there a green plants around. Thanks for stopping by!!

      Like

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