Robber and noctuid eggs

Robber and noctuid eggs

Machimus (Tolmerus) atricapillus
Size: 15 mm

This grass spike was almost completely covered in noctuid (moth) eggs. I don't think this robber fly took much notice though.

Stacked from 10 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

A few additional shots in the first comment on flickr, including one showing the setup.

Canon 5DmkII, Schneider-Kreuznach Apo-Componon 90/4,5 (reversed), Nikon PB-6 bellows.

 

Studio stack: Neomida

Studio stack: Neomida

♂ Neomida haemorrhoidalis, Tenebrionidae

Size: 6 mm

Studio portrait of this horned little darkling beetle (dead/prepared specimen). It's not very common here in Sweden. Found in an old bracket fungus growing on a dead birch.

Females lack the protruding hornes above the eyes.

Stacked from 274 exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Sony NEX-7, Nikon PB-6 bellows, morfanon tube lens, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 10/0.28

 

Sympecma

Sympecma

Winter Damselfly, Sympecma fusca

Early morning stack shot in May 2014 during a macro workshop I held.

Some tricky direct sunlight hitting the subject from behind/left. Obviously this would have been easy to diffuse/shade but I wanted to capture how the sun highlighted the fine hairs on head and thorax and the well defined leg shadow on the grass.

23 natural light exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.2X, 0.4s, f/6.3, ISO200

 

Egg laying Jewel Beetle

Egg laying Jewel Beetle

Agrilus sp., Buprestidae (I'm leaning towards A. suvorovi)
Size: 9 mm

A bluish variety of the Agrilus from the previous post. At least I think it's the same species – they seemed quite variable in coloration, ranging all the way from bronze to green and blue.

This female specimen has deposited eggs on a beaver felled Aspen log and is now in the process of "brushing". This means covering them with some kind of secretion. She does this by repeatedly brushing the tip of her abdomen over the the eggs whilst excreting some fluid. See the comment section for a youtube clip showing this process!

This is a single handheld (mixed light) exposure, manually patched with a few pixels from a consecutive frame in order to get the entire eye in focus.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon 270EX, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.7X (cropped), 1/100s, f/7.1, ISO400

BTW, I've been playing with a new DIY-diffuser design the past season – most of the hand held shots from 2014 posted so far has been with this diffuser. Expect som more info on it soon!

Watch this in action on youtube:  youtu.be/yhY1APtcsWk

More on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qRUwfG

 

Mating Jewel Beetles

Mating Jewel Beetles

Agrilus sp., Buprestidae
7-8 mm

A mating jewel beetle couple on beaver felled aspen (Populus tremula).

Stacked from 10 handheld mixed light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon 270EX with DIY diffuser, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.2X, 1/8s, f/6,3, ISO400

More on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/pUM2Vm

Studio stack: Ceruchus eye, 20X

Studio stack: Ceruchus eye, 20X

Ceruchus chrysomelinus ♂ (Lucanidae)
Size: 16 mm (field of view: 1.5 mm)

This is a 20X view of the eye of this stag beetle. I found the pitted texture surrounding the eye to be particularly interesting. This species is very rare here in Sweden (I'm yet to find one in the field). This specimen was borrowed from Stanislav's collection (collected by him in the eastern part of the Czech Republic). It's been featured at lower magnification in a couple of earlier posts.

Stacked from 156 exposures in Zerene Stacker. Shot at ≈20X and slightly cropped.

Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Apo-Gerogon 210/9 (acting as tube lens), Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 20/0.42 microscope objective

 

Large Mayfly

Large Mayfly

Ephemera vulgata ♂ (ID-cred: C. Raper) Ephemeridae
Size: 19 mm

These spend 2-3 years as larvae but very short time as adults (a few days). They do not feed as adults (and lack functioning mouthparts) but are completely focused on reproduction. In essence, they finish off their life as flying genitals.

Stacked from 25 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 1X (slightly cropped), 1/20s, f/5.6, ISO200

Here I've experimented with a polarizer as well (since the sun was causing some troublesome highlights). Not something I typically do but perhaps worth considering from time to time.

 

Studio stack: Ostoma

Studio stack: Ostoma

Ostoma ferruginea, Trogossitidae
Size 9 mm

A different take on the species from the last post. This dead/prepared specimen was borrowed from a friend's collection.

This is was shot in the studio with darkfield style lighting (light coming from behind). See the comment section on flickr for more info!

Stacked from 160 exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5X 0,14, morfanon tube lens.

 

Studio stack: Xylotrechus

Studio stack: Xylotrechus

Xylotrechus rusticus, Aspen zebra beetle, Cerambycidae (long horned beetles)
Size: 17 mm

Studio portrait of this very common long horned beetle. In the comment section on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qFXU8N you'll find some field shots as well as a youtube-clip featuring this beetle. 

This species is not as colorful as some of its close relatives but it's beautifully shaped and I'm always pleased to find it. Funny how some species becomes "favorites" despite the fact that you can't put your finger on exactly what makes them special... In this case there might simply be some pavlovian explanation behind it – these guys show up my favorite time of year (June) when everything is pleasant: sun is shining, birds are singing and everything is growing, breeding, living...

This portrait shows a dead/prepared specimen, shot under studio conditions and stacked from 120 exposures in Zerene Stacker.

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

 

Ostoma parking lot

Ostoma parking lot

Ostoma ferruginea, Trogossitidae
Size 8-10 mm

These flattened beetles are closely associated with brown-rot fungi (such as Fomitopsis pinicola or Antrodia xantha) and you find them in rotting wood. These were found underneath the bark and/or inside the wood of a large rotting spruce.

This wide angle close-up was shot in 2013 as part of a book project I've mentioned here: https://flic.kr/p/geivZ3

More shots in the comment section on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qHh32b

Single handheld natural light exposure . Canon 5DmkII, Nikon Nikkor 28/2.8 AI-s, Nikon K1 extension tube | 0.5s, f/16, ISO200

Drilling for hosts II

Drilling for hosts II

Echthrus sp. (probably), Cryptinae, Ichneumonidae 
ID-cred: I. Österblad & G. Várkonyi
Size: 8 mm

These wasps find their hosts using echo-localization. They rapidly tap their antennae like drumsticks against the wood surface and the echoing vibrations are then picked up by their slightly enlarged front legs (tibia).

Found and shot at the same location as the previous post. Beavers have been working hard here – hundreds of felled trees (mainly aspens) are providing excellent breeding sites for a large variety of insects.

I found many other interesting species on the very same log (see in the comment section on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qqgMZu

Stacked from 6 handheld mixed light (natural light + diffused flash) exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, diffused Canon 270EX, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.4X, 1/60, f/10, ISO400

Brown Hawker Encounter

Brown Hawker Encounter

Aeshna grandis (on my son's finger)
Size: 70 mm

This dragonfly seemed a bit lethargic when we first found it close to the ground by the path. At first we thought something was wrong with it but soon we realized it was probably just cold – after a couple of minutes sitting on my sons finger it seemed to came to and eventually flew away.

Single exposure made with Sony NEX-7, Sony E 18-55 OSS + short extension tube. Natural light + diffused pop-up flash.

I'm adding another couple of shots from this encounter (made with the same gear) in the comment section on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qHwRu4

   Cyanopterus sp. (Ipobracon)    Braconidae (ID-cred: D. Quicke)    Size: 7 mm   Found this brightly colored little braconid on a huge beaver felled aspen. I suppose it's targeting wood boring beetle larvae with its ovipositor. Braconids are typically parasitoids, meaning they eventually kill their hosts (unlike true parasites). Because of this, some braconid species are regularly used as biological pest control agents (in particular those targeting aphids).  Single mixed light shot (diffused flash + natural light). Canon 5DmkII, Canon 270EX, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.4X, 1/40s, f/9, ISO400

Cyanopterus sp. (Ipobracon) Braconidae (ID-cred: D. Quicke)

Size: 7 mm

Found this brightly colored little braconid on a huge beaver felled aspen. I suppose it's targeting wood boring beetle larvae with its ovipositor. Braconids are typically parasitoids, meaning they eventually kill their hosts (unlike true parasites). Because of this, some braconid species are regularly used as biological pest control agents (in particular those targeting aphids).

Single mixed light shot (diffused flash + natural light). Canon 5DmkII, Canon 270EX, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.4X, 1/40s, f/9, ISO400

Mite covered ensign fly

Mite covered ensign fly

Nemopoda speiseri (Sepsidae) with phoretic mites (ID-cred: P. Beuk)
Size: 6 mm

This little fly was found on a very decayed moose carcass. Almost nothing remained except for the hoofs and a few other bones. Still you could find a few carrion associated bugs, such as this one even though you had to look really closely in the crevices around the hoofs to find any soft tissue left.

I'm adding a few more shots from the carcass in the comment-section on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qEVhf1

Thes wings of this specimen seem malformed. It was able to fly but only for shorter distances.

Single mixed light exposure (direct sun and diffused flash). Canon 5DmkII, Canon 270EX, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.7X (and cropped), 1/125s, f/13, ISO400

Earthworm in the studio II

Earthworm in the studio II

Lumbricidae (Unknown species)
Size ≈ 40 mm

This is a studio portrait of a relatively small earthworm.

Stacked in Zerene Stacker from 40 exposures. 

Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Reversed Apo-Componon 60/4

https://flic.kr/p/pFsYoq

 

 ♂♂  Machimus atricapillus (Tolmerus atricapillus)  Size: 14 mm  A male robberfly feeding on a defeated rival.   This is a handheld mixed light stack shot in August 2014.  16 exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.   Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65, Canon 270EX + DIY beautydish diffuser | 1/100s, f/6.3, ISO100.   https://flic.kr/p/qjiRvZ    

♂♂ Machimus atricapillus (Tolmerus atricapillus)
Size: 14 mm

A male robberfly feeding on a defeated rival. 

This is a handheld mixed light stack shot in August 2014.

16 exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker. 

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65, Canon 270EX + DIY beautydish diffuser | 1/100s, f/6.3, ISO100.

https://flic.kr/p/qjiRvZ

 

World's most photographed beetle?

World's most photographed beetle?

Coccinella septempunctata
Size: 8 mm

Certainly not the most exotic coleopteran out there, but I kind of like the mood in this one.

Early morning stack shot back in June. It was a rather windy morning but the light was nice – not too even, not too harsh.

21 frames stacked in Zerene Stacker. Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 1/6s, f/6,3, ISO200

More info: https://flic.kr/p/qvw4Eb

 

Hornet Robberfly

Hornet Robberfly

Asilus crabroniformis
28 mm

Arguably the largest and most impressive fly species of northern Europe.

They seem to constantly be on the hunt for prey and they don't hesitate to attack even large insects such as dragonflies.

This summer I caught one in order to measure it's size. While handling it I was quite surprised when it actually managed to puncture the skin on my finger with its proboscis (not a pleasant feeling)! I've never experienced a robber using it's proboscis in defence before.

This is a late evening stack from 18 natural light exposures.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 1.0X, 1/5s, f/5.0, ISO250

More info: https://flic.kr/p/qudUcM

 

Ruby Whiteface

Ruby Whiteface

Leucorrhinia rubicunda
Size: 35 mm

Early morning stack of this Ruby Whiteface, shot in June 2014.

Stacked from 19 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Apo-Componon 90/4,5.

https://flic.kr/p/qbjVb9

Hornet Robberfly II

Hornet Robberfly II

Asilus crabroniformis
28 mm

This is the large robberfly featured in the previous post from a different perspective and in a more active pose.

This stack was shot in the evening and is rendered from 31 natural light exposures combined in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 1.0X, 1/5s, f/8.0, ISO400

More info: http://flic.kr/p/quJdn3

 

 

Ruby Whiteface II

Ruby Whiteface II

Leucorrhinia rubicunda
Size: 35 mm

Wide angle close-up of the dragonfly from the last post.

Shot 05:33 a summer morning at my favorite spot, with a Sony NEX-7 and the cheap but well performing little kit-zoom (18-55 mm 3,5-5,6 OSS @ 19 mm, 1/30s, f/11, ISO400 )

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnhallmen/16055023751/

Studio stack: Long-jawed orb weaver

Studio stack: Long-jawed orb weaver

Studio stack: Pachygnatha clercki ♂, Tetragnathidae
Size: 6 mm (inlcuding chelicerae)

Posting this studio stacked image taken in early 2012 to celebrate that my book "Bugs Up Close" is now available in English from Amazon and elsewhere: www.amazon.com/Bugs-Up-Close-Magnified-Incredible/dp/1629...

I haven't seen the English print version yet, but can only hope the print/production quality is on par with the Swedish, Finnish and Danish editions.

**

This little spider was found in the winter while searching for hibernating bugs (two years ago). I shot it in the field as documented in this video clip from the occasion: youtu.be/EpbCngGAIkA. I brought the specimen with me for ID. It was preserved in the freezer for a few months.

Stacked from 301 images in Zerene Stacker. Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 10/0,28, morfanon tube lens.

More info: https://flic.kr/p/q7pyXP

 

Frost Survivor

Frost Survivor

Anthomyiidae (I think)

Size: 6 mm

 

Found this fly slowly treading over this frosty stalk just as the sun was coming over the tree line. Minutes later all the frost was gone. I'm guessing the fly had spent the night in a slighly more sheltered place and emerged at the first sight of sunlight.

 

19 natural light exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.

 

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.4X, 1/5s, f/5.6, ISO200

Phantom Midge Larva

Phantom Midge Larva

Phantom Midge Larva

Chaoboridae

Size: 6-7 mm

 

My son and I caught this larva (along with various other aquatic bugs) in a nearby puddle in the woods the other day. We brought them with us home for closer study! I've posted some more shots from the occasion on the blog »

 

The mosquito larvae ended up as much appreciated dinner for the fishes in our aquarium – but first I had to snap a few shots of them.

 

Canon 5DmkII + Canon MP-E65 + Canon 270EX.

 

Single handheld shot at 3.7X, 1/100s, f/11, ISO200

Cardinal Beetle Larva

Cardinal Beetle Larva

Pyrochroa coccinea larva

 

Size: 25 mm

 

Natural light stacks of this cardinal beetle larva found underneath the bark of an old willow (Salix caprea).

 

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65

Sign of spring?

Sign of spring?

Melting frost crystals on a dry grass leaf from last year.

 

As the sun rises above the tree line the frost crystals melt in a matter of minutes. The dry grass in the background takes on a distinctly golden tone. 

 

Stacked from 37 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

 

Canon 5DmkII + reversed Pentacon 50/1.8 on Olympus telescopic extension tube.

 

This image was shot as a part of a project where this 50mm lens is sent around the world to 50 different photographers.

Frost

Frost

Grass leaf covered in frost. Nights and early mornings are still cold here in Stockholm, Sweden (April 2014)! 

 

37 natural light exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker

 

Canon 5DmkII + Canon MP-E65

Great minds think alike...

Great minds think alike...

...instinctive behavior seldom differ?

 

In any case, this was a well chosen place to spend the night: it was one of very few places spared from severe frost.

A tick Ixodes ricinus and a small spider (juvenile Tetragnatha sp.perhaps?)

Body length: 3,5 mm

 

Early morning stack shot during just a few days ago. There was not much life around visible except from these two.

 

43 natural light exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 5X (slightly cropped), 1/5s, f/5.0, ISO200

Hazel ♂|♀

Hazel ♂|♀

 

Corylus avellana

 

Hazel flowers are monoecious – the pollen is transferred by wind from the long hanging male catkins to the tiny (a few mm) pinkish females. They flower very early in the spring – these were shot now (April 2nd) and they are both well past their prime.

 

Stacked from 20 and 42 frames respectively.

 

Canon 5DmkII + Canon MP-E65

Vestigial Legs

Vestigial Legs

 

Issoria lathonia, Nymphalidae

Body length: 17 mm

 

A closer (2.2X) view of the butterfly featured in the last couple of posts!

 

In this image you can clearly see the vestigial front leg in its typical folded up state (with its knee just below the eye)! These guys are practically four-legged.

 

50 exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.

 

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65@ 2.2X, 1/20s, f/5.6, ISO200

Dewy Wings

Dewy Wings

 

Issoria lathonia, Nymphalidae

Body length: 17 mm

 

This shows a portion of the wings (where the fore and hind wings overlaps) of the Queen of Spain Fritillary from the past two posts.

 

19 exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.

 

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 3.3x (and cropped), 1/13s, f/5.6

Queen of Spain Fritillary II

Queen of Spain Fritillary II

 

Issoria lathonia, Nymphalidae

Body length: 17 mm

 

Normally I wouldn't post two such similar images but in this case I thought it was interesting to note how the light changed in just 10 minutes. Here, the sun has come up more and it's now shining on the meadow in the background. In this time, while I was busy with another subject, the butterfly had moved to a slightly higher position but still remained on the same plant.

 

25 exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.

 

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 1X, 1/80s, f/5.6

Flat bug family

Flat bug family

Aneurus avenius Aradidae, male + larvae

ID-cred: CC Coulianos

Size: 5 mm (adult specimen)

 

You typically find these peculiar, almost two-dimensional, bugs under bark. I'm somewhat puzzled by they "bullseye" pattern on the back of the larvae – any theories?

 

Single exposure, Canon 5DmkII + Canon MP-E65 + Canon 270EX flash with yoghurt-bottle diffuser.

Queen of Spain Fritillary

Queen of Spain Fritillary

 

Issoria lathonia, Nymphalidae

Body length: 17 mm

 

Early morning stack of this butterfly resting on dry filipendula. This migrating species fluctuates significantly in numbers from year to year here in Sweden. Generally it's rather scarce but some years they show up in larger numbers. This was shot in 2013 (August) which I think would qualify as a mediocre year for this species in Sweden.

 

Stacked from 26 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.

 

Canon 5DmkII + Canon MP-E65 @ 1X, 1/100s, f/5, ISO200

Gymnosoma from behind

Gymnosoma from behind

 

Gymnosoma sp., Tachinidae

Size: 6 mm

 

This was shot in 2012 but I've disregarded it because of wing movements causing major artifacts in the stacking process. I revisited it now and applied the local stacking technique (described this an earlier post») which solved the problems I was having. So, think twice before throwing problematic stacking sequences away – who knows what we'll be able to fix in the future :)

 

73 natural light expoures stacked in Zerene Stacker. It moved both wings independently so I had to run two separate local stacks.

 

Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, reversed Apo-Componon 40/2,8.

Earthworm in the studio!

Earthworm in the studio!

 

Unknown earthworm species Lumbricidae

80 mm in length

 

Tomorrow (March 6th) marks the release of our children's book Minimonster i naturen (website ») here in Sweden!

 

This earthworm is one of the featured bugs in the book. Like most images in the book it was shot specifically for this, and here I wanted to capture the bristles called setae on the worm's body! They provide grip against the substrate and thus help the worm to move both forward and backward!

 

This is a studio stack of a prepared specimen. It's stacked from 45 exposures and in Zerene stacker.

 

Canon 5DmkII + Nikon PB-6 bellows + reversed Schneider-Kreuznach Apo-Componon 60/4

Small Soldier Fly

Small Soldier Fly

Stratiomyidae. Possibly Microchrysa sp.

Size: 5 mm

 

A single exposure of a little soldier fly taking a sip of dew from this dry grass spike.

 

The fly was quite active but I did get a couple of short stacks as well. In this case I preferred this "single" image. It's f/8 but manually patched with a few pixels from an otherwise identical f/5.6 exposure (for less diffraction in the focused parts).

 

Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 4.3X, 1s, f/5.5 & f/8, ISO100