The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Category Archives: Arachnida (Spiders, Mites and allies)

Close encounters at the ESC JAM photography workshop

This weekend marks the start of the 150th annual meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada! I arrived in Guelph, Ontario, late last night and have an awesome week of science, networking and catching up with colleagues ahead of me!  😀

The conference started off with a fantastic workshop: insect macrophotography with none other than Alex Wild! As a BugShot alumnus twice over,  I was mostly there as a helper bee, but I managed to find a few moments to sneak in a couple of shots of my own.

I mean, how could I resist this subject?
Black Widow Spider
She was a lovely, compliant, non-threatening subject;  it was really cool to get up close and personal with an animal that has such an ill-deserved bad reputation and see firsthand what they’re actually like.   It’s not my best photo ever, but I love the hourglass marking on her abdomen – this will be a useful image for instructional purposes at the very least 🙂

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Photo Friday: Faves of 2012

Green Lynx Spider, Peucetia viridans [Explored]Bolitotherus cornutus (Forked fungus beetle) 1Phidippus sp. 2Baby corn snake!Phidippus regiusAnisomorpha buprestoides (Southern Two-Striped Walkingstick, Devil Rider, or Musk Mare)
Brown Anole, Anolis sagreiStriped Bark Scorpion, Centuroides hentziMole cricket, Scapteriscus borelliiSnipe fly, Rhagio hirtus (female)Spider sex - Eris militaris Wasp Mantidfly (Climaciella brunnea)
Stratiomys badia (soldier fly, Stratiomyidae)Variable Fan-Foot (Zanclognatha laevigata) # 8340Spring Peeper, Pseudacris crucifer

Faves of 2012, a set on Flickr.

Over at Compound Eye, Alex Wild is curating submissions of nature and science themed “best of 2012” photo sets. If you have some photos you’re proud of and would like to share, why not leave a link in the comments?

While I didn’t spend nearly as much time taking photos this year as I would have like, I still managed to get a bunch of shots I’m really happy with. Here’s my submission: some of my faves from 2012. 🙂

Photo Friday: Wolf spider parasite

I’m busy preparing my talk for the Entomological Society of Canada conference*, which is coming up in just a few short weeks! I plan to give a presentation about the cool/gross beetle parasites I found in some of my Arctic study sites.

Since I’m once again (still?) parasite-obsessed but don’t want to bore you with more photos of worms coming out of beetle’s butts, here’s another cool parasite (well, parasitoid, technically) from the Yukon territory, photographed while driving up the Dempster Highway this summer.

Parasitic wasp emerging from the egg sac of a wolf spider

Wolf spiders are incredibly abundant predators on the tundra – you can see them scatter underfoot with every step. Females are even easier to spot, since they are often toting their pale-coloured egg sacs at the end of their abdomens.

Many of the spiders’ eggs will never hatch, however: somewhere along the line, a teeny-tiny parasitic wasp laid HER eggs beneath the carefully spun silk.  The baby wasps hatch and then feed on the spider’s offspring, and the end result is what you see up there: little wasps emerging from the poor mama spider’s egg sac.
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* Speaking of the ESC meeting, if you are attending and haven’t yet submitted your images to the Photo Contest, GET ON IT! It promises to be a great competition, with extra-cool judges like John Acorn !! Go submit now!

Photo Friday: Terrifically uncooperative jumping spider

Ever since falling madly in love with the gorgeous big jumping spiders in Florida, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for a native Phidippus to photograph.

Yesterday, during a lab that took our students to the outdoor horticultural center on our campus, a student collected a lovely immature male jumping spider from a row of peppers, popped it in his sandwich bag, and brought it to the instructor.

I was like, YOINK.

Ever since, I have been taking breaks from my work about every hour, trying desperately to get a decent shot of this incredibly bold and active little guy, who had no interest whatsoever in being cooperative.

I finally got one that works for me:

Phidippus sp.

Handsome little devil, no?

ETA:

Oh, what the heck, here’s one more:

Phidippus sp. 2

(This lovely specimen was collected by Joseph Perreault).

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I have to apologize for the lack of posting lately. I am feeling rather guilty about it, but, as my advisor (who, ironically, is blogging/tweeting like a boss right now) says, “you’re doing a PhD”. Yeah, I am, and sometimes the work has to come first.  😦

ESO Bug Eye Photo Contest!

The results of the Entomological Society of Ontario Bug Eye photo contest were announced last night!  We were treated to a slide show of the 130ish entries; there was some spectacular work!

Also this:

I took 2nd place in the “Ontario Insect” category for

Mine foot is tasty (omnomnom) - a green Katydid

2nd in “Photo by an Ontario Resident” category for

Anisomorpha buprestoides (Southern Two-Striped Walkingstick, Devil Rider, or Musk Mare)

and 1st in the “Open Category” for

Green Lynx Spider, Peucetia viridans [Explored]

It was a good night! <—massive understatement. I’ll be one of the judges for next year’s contest 😀

I don’t think I mentioned this either: one of my photos was one of seven selected in the Entomological Society of Canada photo contest to be on the cover of the journal, The Canadian Entomologist, for 2013!

Stratiomys badia (soldier fly, Stratiomyidae)

Other than simply being ridonculously thrilled over these results, I think what I’m most pleased about is that all four of these photos use different techniques (natural setting/outdoors and studio), lighting (ambient light and flash), use of backgrounds (white box, coloured, black) and subjects (spider, phasmid, fly, katydid).  I’m happy to be producing decent AND diverse images! 🙂

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