Cone-headed Katydid

This clown face belongs to a female Cone-headed katydid.

I find these katydids both funny and a bit creepy at the same time. They remind me of a scary clown complete with a pointy hat.

They are from the Tribe Copiphorini, and they are known for having a serious bite. It is recommended to not try to handle them if you are lucky enough to encounter one.

According to Piotr Naskrecki, who some of you may be familiar with for his work with arthropods, these katydids living in central and southern America use their cones to fend off bats who would mistakenly consider them for a meal.

Also, if you or anyone you know appreciates the important role of arthropods and would like to get involved on a deeper level and support my photography and conservation efforts, please visit Patreon.com/KarlaThompson
The pollinators and I thank you!

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 200mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F10, three diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

December 2016, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Poster Child

Did you know the largest family of spiders is Salticidae? These are the Jumping spiders.

Isn’t it great that the largest spider family is also the one most beloved by the general public?

This makes Jumpers good spider ambassadors. They are the “attractive poster children” for many more interesting species.

It is easy to anthropomorphize them with their two large forward-facing human like eyes and cute inquisitive way they look at the world around them.

Go ahead and be suckered by their cuteness. Let them be the gateway spider to lure you in. If this makes humans more tolerant of all spider species, I am totally on board. Haha.

Also, if you or anyone you know appreciates the important role of arthropods and would like to get involved on a deeper level and support my photography and conservation efforts, please visit Patreon.com/KarlaThompson
The pollinators and I thank you!

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 200mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F10, two diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

December 2016, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

When a Jumper Doesn’t Look Like a Jumper

This is a jumping spider from the genus
Lyssomanes. There are around 90 species of this genus known.

They are sometimes mistaken for Lynx spiders because of the color, and unlike most jumping spiders, these beautiful arachnids are almost hairless and practically transparent, and as you can see here, are great at the camouflage game.

The one thing that truly does stand out on this spider is its chelicerae with the fang portion folded back under the unusually long basal portion.

I can’t tell you how long I chased this particular spider from plant to plant with two different cameras, doing my best to get a decent shot of it. Unfortunately, this photo was the best I could get, but he was too cool looking not to share.

Also, if you or anyone you know appreciates the important role of arthropods and would like to get involved on a deeper level and support my photography and conservation efforts, please visit Patreon.com/KarlaThompson
The pollinators and I thank you!

Canon 5D Mark II, EF100mm f2.8L macro IS USM, ring flash, ISO 100, 1/60, f4.5, handheld
December 2016, Costa Rica

Grounding Ourselves

Have I spoiled you too much lately? I have been throwing an embarrassingly large amount of exotic bugs at you since early December.

I think it might be time to come back down to earth and appreciate the simple beauty to be found in some of the less flash species found around us.

Take this moth for instance. It does not have a crazy shape, or a wild face, or any spiny accessories, nor does it do any radical dance moves. It is a brown moth blending in to a brown background. BUT if you give it more than a passing glance, it does have just a hint of purple iridescence if you look closely.

This is the thing I love about macrophotography. There is a hidden world out there. We as the photographers, and the arthropod fans, are members of a secret club to which most people are oblivious.

I want to increase the membership of this club. I want the world to be as obsessed by a small plain moth as I am.

Also, if you or anyone you know appreciates the important role of arthropods and would like to get involved on a deeper level and support my photography and conservation efforts, please visit Patreon.com/KarlaThompson
Thanks so much guys!

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 200mm micro, ISO100, 1/60, F10, three diffused Sb200 flash heads, tripod

December 2016, Osa peninsula, Costa Rica

Hoppers!

My recent trip to Costa Rica to shoot arthropods was everything I could have hope for sans a Harlequin beetle and a few other bucket list bugs.

If I had to choose a favorite, of all the things I pointed my camera at, the “hoppers” by far gave me the most joy this trip.

Just look at the face on this Derbe westwoodi. I can’t help but smile every time I see it.

Planthoppers, leafhoppers, treehoppers -all from the order Hemiptera are comical characters. From the fanciful shapes of the Thorn bugs, to the grand noses of the Lantern bugs, to the candy coloring of the tiniest of hopper nymphs sporting fluffy filaments, you can’t help but want to collect photos of every one.

Dare I say they bumped the Jagged Ambush bug from its status as my favorite arthropod? Nooooo, but they are a close second. Besides, I could never choose a favorite out of that huge cast of comedians.

Also, if you or anyone you know appreciates the important role of arthropods and would like to get involved on a deeper level and support my photography and conservation efforts, please visit Patreon.com/KarlaThompson
The pollinators and I thank you!

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 200mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F10, three diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

December 2016, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Butterfly Headache

This is a Tiger Longwing – Heliconius hecale. (I think)

This species of butterfly, is fascinating. It has 29 subspecies and each of these is a mimic of not only butterflies in the same genus, but also of other butterflies in a totally different tribe.

I put too many hours in trying to wrap my head around this.
Honestly, who is mimicking who here?!?

That being said, if this is H. hecale, it is a unique little butterfly in that it eats pollen along with the normal nectar meal.

And that brings up another question. How does said butterfly eat pollen? Does it stuff it up its proboscis? Does it put a plug of nectar on the end of the proboscis and such nectar up after it? Does it dip pollen in nectar and suck it up all together?

Another trick this butterfly has…the ability to induce headaches.
If anyone has any answers to these riddles, I would love to know.

Also, if you or anyone you know appreciates the important role of arthropods and would like to get involved on a deeper level and support my photography and conservation efforts, please visit Patreon.com/KarlaThompson
The pollinators and I thank you!

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 200mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F7.1, three diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

December 2016, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Do it for the Flat Bugs

This strangely flat creature is Dysodius lunatus – the appropriately named flat bug.

Flat bugs are built this way for a reason. Most species live on tree trunks under the bark. Tropical species tend to branch out a bit more and can be found in leaf litter or on fallen branches and twigs. I was incredibly lucky to find this one out in the open, in full sun, sitting on a leaf just above my head. (Via Wikipedia)

Every time someone chooses to use pesticides, countless numbers of known (and still unknown) species of arthropods are effected. Please make 2017 the year you research and learn all the many ways you can control pests around your work and home without poisoning them and the environment.

Don’t do it just for the pollinators who get most of the spotlight. Do it for the funny flat bugs, the round bugs, the pretty bugs, and even the ugly bugs. They are all living beings who deserve a chance to live out their little lives doing gigantically interesting things.

Thank you.

Also, if you or anyone you know appreciates the important role of arthropods and would like to get involved on a deeper level and support my photography and conservation efforts, please visit Patreon.com/KarlaThompson
The pollinators and I thank you!

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 200mm macro, ISO100, 1/160, F7.1, two diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

December 2016, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Individual

This is Proxys punctulatus aka The Black Stink Bug. It can be found in eastern North America up to North Carolina and west as far as Texas and Oklahoma. Heading south, you can find this particular shield bug throughout Central America and into South America to Brazil.

P. Punctulatus somewhat unusual because it feeds on both plant and animal material. Not many shield bugs/stink bugs have that varied of a diet.

The standout fact for me is that this species of Pentatomid lays its eggs individually or in pairs – scattering them over a larger area. All other known members of this family lay their eggs all together in a single group. I would be interested to know if this is helpful as far as competition of food for the nymphs, or on the other hand, if it is detrimental because there is relative safety in numbers.

PS -That is a thorn behind the insect. I was surprised to see so many plant species in Costa Rica covered in thorns. One tree, we were told, only has thorns on its trunk until it can grow thick enough for the peccaries not to be able to eat it. It will then loose its thorns and looks like a normal tree. Interesting!

Also, if you or anyone you know appreciates the important role of arthropods and would like to get involved on a deeper level and support my photography and conservation efforts, please visit Patreon.com/KarlaThompson
The pollinators and I thank you!

Nikon D3x, Nikkor 200mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F9, three diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

So Fancy

This fancy looking True Bug is known as a Leaf-Footed Bug.

Like the Spot-Sided Coreid bug in my last post, they are vegetarians who use their built in straw to suck the juices out of plant material.

Also, like the bug, they are usually not found in large numbers, and the damage they do is minimum.

So just sit back and watch them strut around in those fancy pants. Anyone else hearing disco music suddenly?


April 2014, Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA