Tappy Tap

This is a male Ichneumon wasp. While not as impressive looking as the females with those extraordinary long ovipositors, they are still somewhat unique in the wasp world.

Ichneumons have antennae with 16 segments instead of the typical 13 segments sported by most wasps. These highly developed antennae help females to tappy tap on wood to locate an appropriate grub to deposit her egg into. Males use this same ability to “see” through the wood’s surface to look for a female who might be about to emerge.

Something else interesting is the fact that the family Ichneumonidae is considered (at present) the largest family in the animal kingdom. It is estimated there are between 60,000 and 100,000 species of these beneficial wasps.

Also, most arthropods tend to become more diverse as you get closer to the equator. Ichneumons; however, seem to increase in diversity at higher latitudes.

Yes! Finally a win for Canada.

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 macro, ISO100, 1/60, F10, two diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

September 2016, Florida, USA

Respect the Assassins

Are you ready for weeks of Costa Rica photos? I hope you said yes, because it’s coming!

I had 9 days of shooting on the Osa Peninsula I will never forget, and I hope you enjoy the collection of amazing arthropods I have to share with you. Many of these creatures I may not be able to give species-specific information on, but as you know by now, I will do my best to give as much information as possible.

Let’s start things off with this beautifully colored Bark Mantis.

Bark mantises are active hunters. Not satisfied with waiting for prey to get close enough to snatch, the Bark Mantis will actually pursue their meals.

This girl was not looking for a meal, but was depositing her eggs in this unique-looking ootheca. I didn’t actually realize what this was at the time. It wasn’t until researching these mantises later that I discovered what she had under her.

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, 1/80, F7.1, two diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

December 2016, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Bark Mantis

Are you ready for weeks of Costa Rica photos? I hope you said yes, because it’s coming!

I had 9 days of shooting on the Osa Peninsula I will never forget, and I hope you enjoy the collection of amazing arthropods I have to share with you. Many of these creatures I may not be able to give species-specific information on, but as you know by now, I will do my best to give as much information as possible.

Let’s start things off with this beautifully colored Bark Mantis.

Bark mantises are active hunters. Not satisfied with waiting for prey to get close enough to snatch, the Bark Mantis will actually pursue their meals.

This girl was not looking for a meal, but was depositing her eggs in this unique-looking ootheca. I didn’t actually realize what this was at the time. It wasn’t until researching these mantises later that I discovered what she had under her.

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, 1/80, F7.1, two diffused SB200 flash heads, tripod

December 2016, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Daydreaming

These nice bright yellow flowers have me daydreaming of Summer… again. The fact that we had snow yesterday just makes it worse.
But even the snow can’t dampen my spirits now.
Thursday morning I head south to Victoria to catch a plane and begin my adventure to Costa Rica.
I hope we do have adequate internet once there. I want to share my adventure with you.
For now, enjoy this little leafhopper captured in the Summer sun.

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, 1/125, F9, two diffused Sb200 flash heads, tripod

August 2016, Courtenay, BC, Canada

Wipe Your Eyes

I didn’t notice until looking at this crab spider on the computer that she had a blob of pollen covering one of her eyes. Lucky for her she has seven more.

Despite having multiple eyes, most spiders don’t have eyesight as great as you might expect. These spiders instead rely on sensing vibrations, touching, tasting, and smelling.

This is not the case with spiders who hunt. Hunting spiders, like jumping spiders, wolf spiders, etc., do rely on their eyesight and losing an eye could be a problem. The front facing eyes are usually more developed and used for focus, so losing one of the other eyes would not be as much of an issue.

I figure this spider probably had a run in with a bee and ended up with a face full of some poor bee’s pollen basket.

I have seen jumping spiders use their pedipalps to clean off their eyes, but I am not sure this is a habit all spiders have. If there are any spider experts out there, 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
Thanks so much guys!

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon MP 65mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F16, ring flash, tripod

August 2016, Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Challenging Myself

So, I was thinking about getting rid of the Canon MP 65mm macro lens. It is tough to use and best used on something that doesn’t move. Most of the things I shoot tend to be rather active.

After looking at this photo, I have changed my mind. I think it is worth spending some time practicing with it. It truly brings out the details.

When you think of wasps normally you don’t think of them being hairy, but the lighting caught this Yellow Jacket just right to show off that nice fluff.

And I am particularly intrigued by the exquisite pattern on the cheek of this wasp. I tried to find information on it, but came up empty handed. Oh well, it can stay a beautiful mystery.

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!

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon MP 65mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F16, ring flash, hand held

August 2016, Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Spicy Meal

This unfortunate ladybug (ladybird beetle) ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ladybugs don’t have many predators. You can see why here. The bright orange coloring mixed in the web is a liquid the ladybug secretes from the joints of its legs. This deterrent is made clear by the ladybug by the bright coloring on the abdomen. Most animals learn quickly to avoid anything with bright spots or dramatic patterns.

The secreted liquid is unpleasant to most would-be predators. They learn its foul smell and taste is good reason to let the ladybird pass by unharmed.

Apparently, this orb weaver doesn’t mind a spicy meal.

Other predators include some species of wasps, assassin bugs, and dragonflies, as well as a few species of birds.

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!

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon MP 65mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F9, ring flash, hand held

August 2016, Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

My Hairy Lygus

This little creature is a juvenile Lygus bug. Sorry I don’t know my Lygus bugs well enough to tell them apart. (You can tell it is still a juvenile by the wing nubs. Possibly fourth instar.)

I do know they love my sunflowers. I have seen them on all three varieties. While they have never caused any significant damage to my plants, they can become pests to farmers.

Luckily, there are a number of predators who tend to feed on them while they are still young and juicy. These include parasitic wasps, ladybird beetles, lacewing larvae, crab spiders, and Tachinid flies just to name a few.

So don’t fret. Share a flower or two with the Lygus bugs. The beneficial bugs will be along to help shortly.

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!

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon MP 65mm macro, ISO100, 1/60, F13, ring flash, hand held

August 2016, Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Weird Spider Sex

Spider sex is weird. Yes, female spiders sometimes eat male spiders after mating. Let me tell you, that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Male spiders transfer semen to the female through their pedipalps. These are the smaller leg like appendages on either side of the mouth that you can frequently see the spiders tapping.

Males deposit sperm from an opening at the end of their abdomen onto a blob of webbing and proceed to sucked it up into their pedipalps. This is then transferred to the female’s genitalia which is located on her abdomen just behind her legs.

Some male spiders’ genitalia is torn off in the process but continues to pass sperm to the female hours after the male has fled or has been eaten. It is thought perhaps the male does this on purpose to either A: Escape being eaten by the female or B: Prevent any other male from being able to mate with her or C: Both A and B.

Also there are reports of spiders known to snip off a female’s genitals so no other male can mate with her. That is hardcore.

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, F14, two diffused Sb200 flash heads, tripod

September 2016, Courtenay, BC, Canada