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Our Children's book is out!

Our Children's book is out!

 

Coccinella septempunctata interacting with a kindhearted (juvenile) specimen of the otherwise ferocious species Homo sapiens

 

This image is featured in a, soon to be released, book of ours. It's a children's book called "Minimonster i naturen" (= "Mini-monsters in nature" – see, Swedish is easier than it sounds!) and the topic is – surprise, surprise – bugs! Hanna (my wife) is the author and Bruno (our son) is the main character. I'm happy to contribute with the images!

 

This is a two shot composite of a seven-spot ladybird about to take off from my son's index finger.

 

Shot with Canon 5DmkII + Nikkor 20/3.5 on a short extension tube. Natural light balanced out with diffused flash in the foreground.

Lamella

Lamella

 

Unidentified Bark louse, Psocoptera

Size: 1.5 mm

 

This little bark louse is exploring the lamella under the cap of a small mushroom.

 

Single exposure with diffused flash (DIY Beautydish diffuser). Canon 5DmkII, Canon 270EX, Canon MP-E65 @ 3.7X, 1/30s, f/8, ISO320

   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

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

6076911242_23a59fe97d_o.jpg
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

 ♂♂  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

 

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.

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

 

Small Parasitoid Wasp

Small Parasitoid Wasp

Braconidae, Probably subfamily Doryctinae
Size: 4-5 mm

During a night session in July I found several of these little wasps, drilling for hosts in a freshly felled aspen trunk.

Single handheld exposure with Sony NEX-7 + Canon MP-E65 @ 5X, f/10, 1/50s, ISO200. Lit with a Meike MK-300 flash + DIY-diffuser.

Tiny Pillbugs

Tiny Pillbugs

Armadillidium pulchellum
Ø 2.5 mm (roughly 5 mm when extended)

I found these nicely colored pillbugs underneath the bark of an old decaying birch just a minute's walk from my doorstep. If my ID is correct, it does not appear to be a very common species. That is, it's not often being reported. In fact, mine appears to be the most northern record of this species (in Sweden) and the closest find is more than 150 km from here (with mostly sea in between) or  > 300 km to the second closest find. However, something tells me this is a grossly overlooked (and under reported) group of arthropods, and it wouldn't surprise me if this species is much more common than we think.

Stacked from five handheld exposures in Zerene Stacker. Each 1/60, f/10, ISO100.

Shot with the gear described in my previous post: Sony NEX-7 + nonaC 40/2.8. Lighting provided by a diffused Meike MK-300.

Raft Spider

Raft Spider

Dolomedes fimbriatus
Size (body): 22 mm

This is the largest spider species we have here in Sweden. Obviously, it's nothing compared to what can be found in many other places, but it's still a fairly impressive animal. Especially when you consider the ease with witch, even fully grown females such as this one, can move over a water surface. This one dove down and hid beneath the log you see in the background for a few minutes when I first approached it. But I stayed put and when it resurfaced it completely seemed to ignore my presence (I could even pet it).

Single mixed light exposure (diffused built in flash + natural light).

Sony NEX-7, Sony 18-55 (kit-zoom), 10 mm extension tube

(more shots in the comment section on flickr)