Monday, November 28, 2011

Spiny Flower Spider

I've been watching this little spider for at least a week now. He's always on the same flower, usually hanging off the side, waiting for someone to slip into his web...or just land on his flower.

Flat Cat ?

I'm not really sure what this is. It seems to have six thoracic legs like a caterpillar, but I'm not so sure it's a caterpillar.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


...carrying or munching on something. Love that raspberry eye! Click on the photo to take a closer look.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Rose Bug

Saw these little green aphids on the rose bush.


This was taken with my new, highly sophisticated strobe difuser...a small opaque plastic bottle over a Canon 580EXII

Mantid - Pregnant Female?

The last adult mantid we found that was this color turned out to be a pregnant female. I'll keep a close eye on this one to see if she is indeed pregnant. Hopefully we can catch her in the act of laying eggs!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Chameleon and Fly

I couldn't resist a close-up of the chameleon munching away on the fly.

More Stuff from the Garden

Here are a couple of more shots we took today. By the way, I usually use a Canon 60mm macro, but these were taken with a Canon 24-70...the spider with an extension tube.

Remember the Assassin Bug Nymph that we found molting last Friday? This is what he turns into after a while.


Diane and I took a walk around the garden today and she found our first chameleon. And he snatched a fly right in front of us! Here's a taste while I take a look at the other shots.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Still One More Nymph

Just when I was sure that all of the Mantid Nymphs had molted to Adults, I found this guy on the far edges of the flower patch. And surprisingly, he is still green, which leads me to believe that he's quite young and perhaps weeks away from his final molt to adulthood. I'll keep an eye on him!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Teaser Revealed - Assassin Bug Nymph Molt to Adulthood

We've been watching these "Decorator Bugs" for the last couple of weeks and now know that they are Assassin Bugs, an incredibly clever and resourceful little bug. It turns out that what we've been observing is the nymph stage of the assassin bugs' development cycle. According to, Assassin bugs, like other Hemipterans, undergo incomplete metamorphosis with three stages – egg, nymph, and adult. The female lays clusters of eggs on plants. Wingless nymphs hatch from the eggs (that's what we've been watching), and molt several times to reach adulthood in about two months. Last night Diane and I caught one of the nymphs molting into adulthood. My strobe batteries died so these photos were taken with a tripod...shot at f14 for 10 seconds.

Our good friend Nick Hobgood over at C-O-N-G-O points out that these are the perfect candy corn colored treats for Halloween! But be careful, when threatened, assassin bugs can inflict a painful bite!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Couple of Bugs

Nothing too exciting, just a jumping spider and a cute little red bug. Is this an assassin bug?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mantid Update

I just went out to see the mantids and could find no adults and only two nymphs. The eggs are still in place.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ruby Eyes

These "Decorator Bugs" are amazingly well-camouflaged. If not for the ruby eye and antenna, there's no way I would have known this was a bug. Sorry for the dark photo, but these guys slink back into protection pretty quickly when I approach.

Flower for Friends

This is for Katy Hobgood over at C-O-N-G-O. She and her co-bugger apparently have an affinity for such things. Check their stuff out here!

Decorator Bugs

I'm calling these decorator bugs because they seem to have camouflaged themselves with detritus and other bug parts. We saw about eight of them, but they are quick and elusive...and the freakin' mosquitoes were lovin' me! I'll get more photos soon. In the meantime, if you know what they are, please let me know.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mantid - Feast and Flies

This is the one you should enlarge and look at the details. I've been focused on the pregnant female and subsequent egg-laying activities and have deferred posting this the last couple of days. I caught one of the mantid nymphs eating a beetle while being swarmed by opportunistic flies. More after the crying baby gets out of the tub!

OK, Baby under control. If you think the flies are small (given that the mantid nymph is about 2 cm, they can't be much bigger than a millimeter) then check out the even smaller bug on one of the flies (circled on the bottom photo)!

Mantid - Laying Eggs

Yesterday I found an adult female that appeared to be pregnant on a sisal plant not far from the spiny purple flowers where the mantids live. This morning I went out to check on her and she was just finishing laying her eggs deep inside the sisal plant! I didn't want to disturb her too much, but here are a few photos. The egg sack, known as an oothica, is about 4cm long.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mantid - Pregnant

Just this morning I commented that I could only find two adult Mantids. This afternoon, however, I spotted one on a nearby sisal plant...and she is now green and pregnant!!! This is very exciting news. Now I need to research their egg-laying process.

Mantids - Only Two

I went out this morning to visit the Mantids and could only find two adults. Yesterday there were five adults and I can usually find all five very easily. Each of the mantids, whether nymphs or adults, tend not to move around much, mostly staying on one flower. I'm not sure if they are 1) just hiding from me, 2) have mated and possibly been eaten by those ungrateful females, or 3) simply flown off to start a new colony. I suppose they could have been eaten by something else, but these mantids seem fairly formidable and I find it unlikely that three would get devoured overnight.

The remaining two adults have distinctive markings. In fact, the design on their wings is actually a mirror image of the other. I'll keep an eye on these two and the remaining nymphs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ant and Aphids

The mosquitoes were relentless this evening so I only had the fortitude for a few shots. But I got a good one of an ant hanging out with the aphids.

Another Cutie of a Cricket

I went out on a bug safari last night and came back disappointed, mostly in my photographs. Here's the only shot that made the cut, another cute cricket.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Love on the Fly

I love the little beards on these flies. Looks like they need a Harley...and a hotel.

Portrait - Dragonfly

Click on the third photo for more detail!

Ant vs the Aphids

There is no doubt who wins this battle. The ant was in no hurry at all. Eat an Aphid, get a drink of water. Repeat as necessary.

Just Keep Eating

Water Droplet - Mantid

Check out the water droplet just below the mantid's head!
Caught the reflection of a nearby flower.
This individual just molted to an adult last night.
I can now count 6 adults and about 8 nymphs.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tree of Pain

There was a monkey in our backyard this afternoon, but he was out of range for a decent photo. But the tree itself is worthy of a photo...the tree of pain. Good luck little monkey!