Monday, July 27, 2015

Sand Critters

Having spent most of my summer devoted to atlasing in my breeding bird block, I decided I needed a change of pace focused on something other than birds. Thus this afternoon I ventured out on a decompression mission to simply soak in the afternoon sun and leisurely photograph interesting insects along the way.

Sandy Stream Tiger Beetle
My route took me west toward the Wisconsin River in Sauk County. At my first stop I encountered a fellow nature enthusiast who tipped me off to be on the lookout for a tiger beetle I had not seen before, the Sandy Stream Tiger Beetle. While he had reported the individuals he found to be rather ninja in their movements, the pair I eventually came across tolerated my repeated approach and circling for the 20+ minutes I spent admiring them.

I didn't realize until today the ravenous manner in which tiger beetles spread their mandible to clench their partner while shagging. Yikes.

Given the lateness of the day, the beetles were not as numerous, but I still managed to find Bronzed Tiger Beetles "in the act."

Of all the tiger beetles I've encountered, Punctured Tiger Beetle strikes me as being the most ninja-like. I find sneaking up on this species to be rather challenging despite them being the most numerous tiger beetle species I've seen. The particular individual I was able to capture today actually advanced toward me after I had several failed attempts trying to photograph his friends. Perhaps he had been stripped of his ninja powers when his antenna went gimpy. Note the bent right antenna.

Where there are tiger beetles one inevitably finds robberflies. I've been quite successful with my incidental photography of various robberflies this summer. Though from my lack of posts on this blog or at my Flickr site, one would never know. The two species I observed today were Stichopogon trifasciatus and Efferia albibarbis (if I identified them correctly). Both are common species in Wisconsin.

Stichopogon trifasciatus
Efferia albibarbis
Finally where there is sand one is bound to find a Sand Wasp furiously digging in the sand as this one was doing.


Seagull Steve said...

Wow. Your macro powers are a force to be reckoned with, awesome photos/creatures I know nothing about.

one of many said...

Thanks Number 7!