Puss moth caterpillar

Puss moth caterpillar

Cerura vinula Puss moth caterpillar

70mm 

This puss moth caterpillar was climbing up one of the countless shrub like balsam poplars girding the beach in Byrum, Öland.

I shot this with the DIY macro-fisheye rig based on a CCTV lens relayed through a reversed Canon 24/2.8 STM (described earlier).

Caddisfly Larva (studio)

Caddisfly Larva (studio)

Trichoptera 30mm
 

Studio image of a nest building caddisfly larva. 

This is one of the pioneer species in a pond I've been engaged in building in the nature reserve right next to where I live.
Stacked from 119 exposures in Zerene Stacker (dead, prepared specimen).

Sony NEX-7, Canon MP-E65, two Jansjö LED-lamps

Prosena

Prosena

 

Prosena siberita, Tachinidae

Size: 8 mm

Parasitic fly perched on Laserpitium latifolium.

This species has such an elegant proboscis ("tongue")! If you're familiar with stinging flies like the tse-tse fly you might suspect P. siberita of having similarly annoying habits. However, this species is a perfectly harmless nectar feeder! Of course, if you're a beetle larva you might disagree since these flies parasitize the larvae of scarab beetles!

Stacked from 35 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D, Canon MP-E65

Juvenile Raft Spider

Juvenile Raft Spider

Dolomedes fimbriatus

8 mm

Early morning stack of this brightly colored raft spider juvenile. The sun was coming up behind the subject and the backlighting brought out the colors. It kept moving slightly so it took many failed attempts until I got a useable sequence.

Stacked from 59 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D, Sigma 180/3.5, Kenko PRO300 2X converter

Snipe fly

Snipe fly

Rhagio tringarius ♂ (ID-cred: M. Persson)

14 mm

Stacked from 54 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D + Canon MP-E65

Puss Moth Caterpillar

Puss Moth Caterpillar

Cerura vinula
Size: 75 mm

I'm always so happy to find these charming caterpillars! Their fake eye spots gets me every time even though I'm well aware of the deception. 

I used my DIY macro fisheye setup here and the front element is just a centimeter or so from the subject. So it's not surprising that the caterpillar is showing off it's typical threat display.

Canon 760D + CCTV-lens relayed through a reversed Canon 24/2.8 STM. Diffused flash (Canon 270EX).

Emus hirtus

Emus hirtus

Emus hirtus, a rove beetle with attitude
22 mm

It's difficult to comprehend that this large, furry and flexible insect is in fact a beetle. I'd say it rather gives the impression of a miniature predatory mammal!

This specimen was caught and kindly handed to me by a friend of mine. In 2017 I'll revisit this location and I truly hope I'll be able to find one myself.

Single handheld exposure with Canon 5DmkII fitted with a Canon 100/2.8 + diffused flash (Canon 270EX). Settings according to EXIF.

Sawfly on Blackthorn

Sawfly on Blackthorn

Tenthredo sp. (possibly T. arcuata)
10 mm

Early morning encounter with this wasp-mimicking sawfly, perched on a blackthorn twig (Prunus spinosa).

Stacked from 40 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D + Canon MP-E65 @1/8s, f/6.3, ISO200

Dewy Footman

Dewy Footman

Eilema sp., Lithosiini
18-20 mm

I would have ignored this drab little moth unless I really liked how the morning sun lit up the grass spike it was perched on. For me, it serves as a reminder that every now and then, the least striking of subjects can be worth some attention.

I was amused to learn the English common name for this group of moths. Apparently it refers to the the muted clothing of "footmen" – a term that has been applied to household servants, infantry soldiers etcetera. Even if the reference is a bit dated, it seems apt and somewhat humorous which makes it easy to remember!

Stacked from 56 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D, Canon MP-E65

Dinner has landed...

Dinner has landed...

...or "Game Over", depending on which one you identify with.

Xysticus bifasciatus with Dasypoda hirtipes 
(spider-ID cred: T. Holmgren)

A female crab spider with its dinner: a mining bee!

This was shot with the experimental super wide angle setup I mentioned in a previous post. I'll elaborate on this gear in a future article! 

Single mixed light exposure (natural light + diffused flash)

Canon 760D + DIY wide angle contraption + Canon 270EX. EXIF-data does not tell the full story.

Emerald Damselfly

Emerald Damselfly

Lestes sponsa
35 mm

This is one of the most common damselfly species in the late summer on my favorite location. 

The warm yellow tones suggests that this may be a female but apparently coloration is not a reliable way to sex this species – you need to look at the tip of the abdomen to be sure. Thanks Stephen for pointing this out!  

Stacked from 18 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D + Canon MP-E65

Odd little weevil

Odd little weevil

Tapeinotus sellatus
4 mm

This little weevil have the habit of making this peculiar pose when it feels threatened. Let me assure you – this is really effective camouflage! Unless I happened to be looking specifically for small weevils I definitely wouldn't have spotted this one. 

In fact – I almost didn't anyway despite looking straight at it from a short distance. I was convinced it was just some small piece of plant debris that had stuck to that leaf.  The way it folds its legs up underneath the body successfully conceals its shadow  while at the same time it erasing the contour. The awkwardly raised snout only adds to the debris-illusion.

Handheld stack made from 10 exposures, lit by diffused flash and assembled in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D, Canon MP-E65, Canon 270EX + DIY beautydish diffuser.

Toad Portrait

Toad Portrait

Bufo bufo, Common Toad
Size: ~ 80 mm

I love toads. They always seem so laid-back and content. This specimen made a habit of hopping up the stairs of our porch every night, to feed on moths attracted by the light.

This is a single shot made with my experimental DIY macro-fisheye rig that I've elaborated on in a recent post.

Canon 760D, cctv-lens, reversed Canon 24/2.8 STM, Canon 270EX + diffuser.

Chrysotoxum festivum II

Chrysotoxum festivum II

Chrysotoxum festivum ♂ 
12 mm

This is a stopped down single exposure cropped from a vertical image so the resolution isn't on par with that of a stacked image.

Canon 760D, Canon 100/2.8

Common Wasp ♂

Common Wasp ♂

Vespula vulgaris
15 mm

The long antennae means that you don't need to worry about getting stung! Only male wasps have these long antennae and since stingers are "modified" ovipositors they are absent in males. 

This one was found as it was waking up on flowering field garlic Allium oleraceum an early morning in August.

Stacked from 36 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D, Canon MP-E65 @ 0.8s, f/6.3, ISO200

Mayfly ♂

Mayfly ♂

Ephemeroptera, working on a more precise ID
8 mm

What may look like a pink helmet are actually specialized eyes, only present in male mayflies. Citing wikipedia these upward facing "turban eyes" are sensitive to UV-light and thought to help males detect females flying above them during courtship. This species lacks the long elegant tail whiskers found in most mayfly species, but I still find it to be a beautiful animal. I'm always at a loss when it comes to narrowing down the ID with these – suggestions are most welcome!

Stacked from 12 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker. 

Canon 760D, Canon MP-E65

Studio stack: Nocturnal Predator

Studio stack: Nocturnal Predator

Carabus violaceus
Size: 25 mm

Studio portrait of this relatively large and abundant species. Found this specimen dead but well preserved underneath the bark of a large tree stump. 

Stacked from 176 exposures in Zerene Stacker. 

Canon 760D, Canon MP-E65, diffused LED-spotlight, Cognisys Stackshot

Gymnosoma

Gymnosoma

Gymnosoma sp. Tachinidae
Size: 6 mm

I'm always happy to find these compact colorful parasitic flies. There are a few very similar species and I have to check with the experts if it's possible to tell which one this is from the images.

Stacked from 56 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D, Canon MP-E65 @ 1/4s, f/5.6, ISO100

Pine Beauty

Pine Beauty

Panolis flammea
Size: 18 mm
A beautiful moth that lives on pine.  Common name: pine beauty! Sometimes even non-scientific names make sense :)

Stacked from 31 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7, Minolta Bellows, Summar 12cm f/4.5.

♂ Red-thighed Epeolus

♂ Red-thighed Epeolus

♂ Epeolus cruciger (ID-cred: K. Larsson)
6.5 mm

These tiny but beautiful bees are cleptoparasites that utilize plasterer bees (Colletes) as hosts. Please see comment section for some additional photos of this bee and its host.

Stacked from 6 handheld exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D, Canon MP-E65, Canon 270EX + DIY-diffuser.

Rhino-beetle

Rhino-beetle

Oryctes nasicornis, European rhinoceros beetle, 32 mm

Article describing the experimental wide-angle setup used for this: 

http://makrofokus.se/blogg/2016/9/22/diy-makro-fisheye.html

Cuddly Cuckoo Wasps

Cuddly Cuckoo Wasps

Holopyga generosa
Size: 7 mm

It's raining today so I'm finally breaking my long summer hiatus!

Sleeping cuckoo wasps are always a pleasure to find during early morning sessions. I think of these as loners as you typically just encounter solitary specimens but apparently there are exceptions!

Stacked from 19 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 760D, Canon MP-E65 @ 0.3s, f/5.6, ISO100

Camouflage!

Camouflage!

Aegomorphus clavipes
15 mm

Early morning stack of this well camouflaged long horn beetle on a birch.

Stacked from 55 natural light exposures in Zerene stacker.

Canon 760D, Canon 100mm f/2.8 @ 0.4s, f/7.1 , ISO200

8-spotted Jewel II

8-spotted Jewel II

Buprestis octoguttata Eight spotted jewel beetle
11 mm

A dorsal view of this elegant jewel beetle perched on a pine twig. It's the same specimen I posted a lateral portrait of a few weeks ago.

43 natural light exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker. 

Canon 5DmkII, Sigma 180/3.5 + Kenko 2X PRO300 converter.

Studio stack: Bibio ♂

Studio stack: Bibio ♂

Bibio marci, March fly, Bibionidae
10 mm

This is a a lateral portrait of a male march fly. Male bibionids have very large, hairy and peculiar eyes. Female march flies look quite different (much smaller eyes). 

233 exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker (dead, prepared specimen).

Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 10X 0.28.

8-spotted jewel

8-spotted jewel

Buprestis octoguttata Eight spotted jewel beetle
11 mm 

Early morning stack of this metallic jewel beetle. Shot an early morning in August 2015.

Stacked from 26+1 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker. 

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 3.9X, f/5.6, 1.6s, ISO200 + one (last) exposure at f/11, 6s.

Studio stack: Phoretic Mite

Studio stack: Phoretic Mite

Uropoda cf. orbicularis (Uropodidae) on Aphodius prodromus
Size≈ 0.7 mm

Like I mentioned in my previous post the little dung beetle came with an interesting bonus species. The round reddish formation is the second larval stage of a Uropoda mite. These deutonymphs attach themselves to insects such as this dung beetle via a stalk like structure called a pedicel.

Here you can see the ventral side of the mite larva. Though it's very "streamlined" in this stage, it's possible to make out legs and palps if you look closely.

This is not a parasitic relationship, but strictly phoretic. In other words, the mites does not feed on the insects they attach themselves to, but only use them for dispersal/transportation.

This was shot in the studio and stacked from 89 exposures of a dead and cleaned subject.

Sony NEX-7, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 10X 0.28, morfanon tube lens, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Cognisys Stackshot.

Lesser glow worm (larva)

Lesser glow worm (larva)

Phosphaenus hemipterus
10 mm

This is the larva of the lesser glow worm. My first encounter with this species! 

In spite of its name, it's a beetle. In contrary to its larger relative the "Common glow worm" (Lampyris noctiluca) this, slightly smaller species does not produce a bioluminescent glow in order to attract a mate but only if it feels threatened.

This is two handheld exposures manually pieced together in Photoshop for a slight increase in depth of field.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 (@ 3.3X), Canon 270 EX + DIY beautydish diffuser.

Long hover ♂

Long hover ♂

Sphaerophoria scripta, long hoverfly
7 mm

This time of year this is one of the most common insects at my favorite location. As such, they are easily overlooked but they make nice subjects.

Stacked from 37 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.2X, f/7.1, 1/8s, ISO200

Curculio

Curculio

Curculio cf. venosus
Size: 7-8 mm

Early morning stack of this long snouted weevil on a tiny acorn. I'm not 100%  it's C. venosus – partly because this specimen seems to have been through some rough times with lots of its dorsal hairs appear to have been rubbed off and some kind of mud has adhered to its elytra and legs.

Shot in mid July 2015 and stacked from 28 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7, Canon MP-E65 @ 1/4s, f/7.1, ISO100

Female Macropis

Female Macropis

Macropis europaea
9 mm

Early morning stack of this female Macropis bee. 

Stacked from 27 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7 + Canon MP-E65 @ f/6.3, 1/8s, ISO100

Studio stack: Another Temnostoma

Studio stack: Another Temnostoma

Temnostoma bombylans
14 mm

In my previous post I showed a Temnostoma vespiforme that had hatched from a piece of birch wood I had brought into my terrarium a few weeks ago. I later found another, smaller Temnostoma species dead in my terrarium. It turned out to be T. bombylans and this is a studio portrait of a female specimen. In many cases a portrait like this is enough to be able to determine the sex of a hoverfly – females generally have a  wider separation between the eyes whereas in males the eyes tend to connect above the antennae.

Shot in the studio and stacked from 107 exposures of a dead/prepared specimen in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5X, morfanon tube lens.

Studio stack: Temnostoma

Studio stack: Temnostoma

Temnostoma vespiforme, Syrphidae
Size: 17 mm

This relatively large wasp-like hoverfly hatched in my terrarium a few weeks ago. A month earlier I had brought in a nice piece of moss covered birch wood from the woods and apparently it contained a couple of Syrphid pupae.

I considered releasing it outside after shooting a few handheld flash shots of it, but it's been unseasonably cold and it wouldn't have lasted long so I figured I could just as well keep it and make this studio portrait of it once it expired.

This is a dead and prepared specimen stacked from 183 exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5X/0.14, morfanon tube lens, Nikon PB-6 bellows.

Metellina ♂

Metellina ♂

Metellina segmentata ♂
Size: 5 mm (body)

A fully grown male specimen of this species which I assume to be M. mengei due to the fact that it was found in September 2015. 

Stacked from 20 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7, Sigma 180/3.5 + Kenko PRO 300 2X teleconverter.

Hippodamia septemmaculata

Hippodamia septemmaculata

Hippodamia septemmaculata
5 mm

Rummaging through my archives I stumbled upon this ladybird that I didn't quite recognize. When I shot it I assumed it was a variant of H. tredecimpunctata (which I've seen several times on this location) but I'm glad I had a second look.

Stacked from 44 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 3.7X, f/4.5 (+ a few @f/7.1), 0.6s

Grumpy?

Grumpy?

Tipulidae, larva
24 mm

This image shows the peculiar rear end of a crane fly larva. So what may appear like a face is in fact... well, the opposite, or the "spiracular area" to be precise. Crane fly larvae breathe through the posterior spiracles and most species have various protrusions ("lobes") surrounding the spiracular area.

Single shot @ 5X made with Sony NEX-7 and Zeiss Luminar 25mm f/3.5 + diffused flash (Meike MK-300).

Studio stack: Dancing fleas?

Studio stack: Dancing fleas?

Bird fleas, Ceratophyllus gallinae
Size: 2 mm

This is a studio stack of two (dead) bird fleas placed on a microscope slide. I didn't actually position them like this. I placed them on the slide encapsulated in drops of alcohol. However the drops got stuck together and as the alcohol evaporated the fleas  were drawn closer to each other and eventually ended up in this configuration. I liked the symmetry so I decided to shoot them as they were :)

I collected these fleas while helping a friend emptying the bird houses at a local golf course (a procedure repeated each year in March). Please see the comment section for more images and info!

Stacked from 21 exposures in Zerene Stacker (lit with two LED-lights).

Sony NEX-7, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5X/0.14 + Apo-Gerogon 210/9.

Tanbark Borer on Oak

Tanbark Borer on Oak

Phymatodes testaceus, longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae)
Size: 16 mm

Stacked from 35 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7, Sigma 180/3.5 @ 1/4s, f/8, ISO100

Studio stack: Osmia

Studio stack: Osmia

Osmia bicornis ♀, Megachilidae

Females of this species have two peculiar horns/protrusions above their mandibles.

This is a studio stack of a dead, cleaned specimen found in my livingroom window.

Stacked from 121 exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7 with reversed Canon 40/2.8 @ 1.3s, f/4.5, ISO100. This is the so called "nonaC 40/2.8" I've described in this post.

Morning Stretch II

Morning Stretch II

Machimus atricapillus ♀, Asilidae  
15 mm

The previous post featured a slender robberfly in its typical stretched out pose. And here is another species displaying one of its most characteristic morning pose! For some reason Machimus-species seem to prefer this head-down-abdomen-up sleeping position.

The fly remained very still and gave me the ability of  trying out several different angles rendering various backgrounds and lightings. 

This was stacked from 23 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker. 

Sony NEX-7, Sigma 180/3.5 + Kenko PRO300 2X converter. 
According to the exif, the aperture was f/13 but this is slightly misleading – the nominal aperture is f/6.3. The reason for this discrepancy is the teleconverter which prompts the camera to report some kind of effective aperture (but it's not even that, since magnification is not considered, so I consider it to be a pseudo-effective-aperture-value)

Morning Stretch

Morning Stretch

Leptogaster cylindrica ♂, Asilidae, Slender robberfly
14 mm

This slender robberfly displays the characteristic resting pose of this species. Robberflies are typically very robust but this genus (Leptogaster) has this delicate appearence. Slender robberflies seem perfectly adapted to vertical perches such as grass and I don't recall ever seeing one on a horizontal surface.

Shot in July 2015 and stacked from 13 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7, Sigma 180/3.5 @ 1/4s, f/7.1, ISO100

On a Burnt Pine Trunk

On a Burnt Pine Trunk

Choerades gilvus
Size: 17 mm

This robberfly was found on the bark of a large burnt pine tree an early morning in October 2015. It's from one of my visits to a huge forest fire area in central Sweden (I've mentioned it before in my stream).

I'm fascinated by the metallic flake shimmer of the burnt bark.

Stacked from 27 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Sigma 180/3.5.

Female Fallbeetle on Thrift

Female Fallbeetle on Thrift

Cryptocephalus sericeus
7 mm

Thrift flowers (Armeria maritima) definitely seem to be a favorite among this species.

Early morning stack from 38 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 0.6s, f/5.6, ISO100

Stag Beetle on Ice

Stag Beetle on Ice

Lucanus cervus , Lucanidae, Stag beetle
Size: 42 mm

Ok, here's the story of how Swedish roadkill became a 4 ton ice sculpture in Canada: Last summer I was contacted by a PR-agency working to promote an exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. They were specifically  looking for an up close portrait of a stag beetle since these would be featured in the exhibition. I was on vacation and didn't have access to my library so I wasn't sure I would be able to provide them with it. This was in August which means stag beetles, while relatively common at the location, were well past their peak (early-mid July) so I had little hope of actually finding one. Coincidentally I stumbled across a squashed specimen on a road just hours later. It looked pretty bad from above but the underside of the front portion was intact, so I cobbled together a simple studio setup on the porch, got to work and sent over the image you see here. They decided to go ahead with it and we made a licensing agreement. 

It all went along quickly and smoothly and I must confess I'd forgotten about it when, yesterday, I got an email from the agency who just wanted to let me know that the stag beetle had been turned into a 9000 lbs ice sculpture! I think the sculpture is way cooler than the image (pun or not). See comment section on flickr for images! I want to give kudos to clients who're able to take full advantage of the "unlimited use" clause!

Stacked from 35 images in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Sigma 180/3.5, Kenko PRO300 2X.

Leaf-Cutter Bee

Leaf-Cutter Bee

Megachile willughbiella
Size: 8-9 mm

Early morning portrait of a dew covered leaf-cutter bee resting on a grass spike.

Stacked from 47 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7, Canon MP-E65 @ 0.4s, f/6.3, ISO100

Gaurotes on Chamomile

Gaurotes on Chamomile

Gaurotes virginea
10 mm

Early morning stack of this relatively small longhorn beetle on a closed chamomile (Matricaria recutita) flower.

Stacked from 66 natural light eexposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7, Canon MP-E65 @ 0.4s, f/6.3, ISO100

Jumping spider

Jumping spider

Dendryphantes rudis female
5mm

A 5 mm long Dendryphantes rudis female has caught a tiny spider for dinner.

Handheld focus stack from 16 exposures.

Sony NEX-7, Carl Zeiss Luminar 63 mm f/4.5, Meike-MK-300 + DIY diffuser