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Author Topic: Nature pics  (Read 60892 times)
Valerie
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« Reply #285 on: April 22, 2019, 08:56:27 PM »

Fabulous photographs, Calilasseia and Pat.  Beautiful critters.
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Calilasseia
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« Reply #286 on: May 15, 2019, 03:16:24 PM »

Latest butterfly: Green Hairstreak, Callophrys rubi ... and yes, it's posing for a photo whilst resting on my finger Smiley

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Calilasseia
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« Reply #287 on: May 15, 2019, 03:17:14 PM »

Another specimen of Green Hairstreak ...


* Green Hairstreak Specimen 3 SJ 5932 6854 2019 05 12 No 3.JPG (545.21 KB, 1600x1200 - viewed 122 times.)
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Calilasseia
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« Reply #288 on: May 15, 2019, 03:17:55 PM »

... and the extreme close up ... Smiley


* Green Hairstreak Specimen 3 SJ 5932 6854 2019 05 12 No 7.JPG (464.49 KB, 1600x1200 - viewed 118 times.)
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Calilasseia
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« Reply #289 on: May 15, 2019, 03:18:36 PM »

Second specimen sitting on my finger ...


* Green Hairstreak Specimen 4 SJ 5932 6854 2019 05 12 No 2.JPG (537.42 KB, 1600x1200 - viewed 118 times.)
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anona
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« Reply #290 on: May 16, 2019, 12:53:41 AM »

Gorgeous colours!
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mkenuk
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« Reply #291 on: May 16, 2019, 03:04:31 AM »

My garden in Thailand is full of wonderful butterflies most of the year round;
what I want to know is how to get them to come and sit on your finger?
Believe me, I've tried many times. They just don't want to know.
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birdy
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« Reply #292 on: May 16, 2019, 06:37:56 AM »

Beautiful little butterfly. And great photos.
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Calilasseia
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« Reply #293 on: May 16, 2019, 09:37:11 AM »

My garden in Thailand is full of wonderful butterflies most of the year round;
what I want to know is how to get them to come and sit on your finger?
Believe me, I've tried many times. They just don't want to know.

In the case of your species in Thailand, you may find that dipping your finger in salt water makes them more receptive. There's a reason for this.

Basically, many tropical butterflies seek salt sources to tap into, because they live in environments where salt is relatively scarce, and doesn't migrate up their part of the food web in sufficient quantities to keep them osmotically balanced if they don't seek additional sources thereof. One major source of salt for such butterflies, is the urine of various large mammals. Whenever a large mammal urinates on the ground, butterflies of numerous species flock to the spot, and drink the urine to obtain salt.

As a corollary, if you dip your finger in salt water, you'll find that a good many tropical butterflies will happily sit on your finger drinking the salt water from your finger, and you can take photos of them while they're doing this. Of course, you need to exercise a certain gentle touch coaxing them to climb on to your finger in the first place, but the moment they sense the presence of salt on your finger, they'll become much easier to persuade in this regard.

This tip should work for butterflies right across the tropics.

Best time to try this is early in the morning, before the sun has warmed them up properly, and they're still relatively docile. Try this on a hot afternoon when they're active, and you'll simply experience more frustration, unless they're really desperate for the salt.

In the case of my Green Hairstreaks, they were still docile because they hadn't warmed up properly, and were willing to climb onto my finger until the sun had warmed them up. Once they were warmed up, however, it was "Game Over". Cheesy
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mkenuk
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« Reply #294 on: May 16, 2019, 10:58:51 AM »

Thanks for the tips, especially the ones about the best time of day to attract them.
We have three dogs, and they have the freedom of the garden, so no shortage of urine.
Salt water. Thais don't use very much salt; they use fish-sauce instead. It's incredibly salty. I wonder if that will work?
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pat
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Rugby, England.


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« Reply #295 on: May 23, 2019, 04:10:57 AM »

Question for Calilasseia:

I photographed this insect yesterday (UK). It was only when I viewed it on the computer that I noticed the cocoon full of grubs below. Is the insect preying on the grubs, caring for the grubs, or is it simply a coincidence?


* Fly & grub cocoon 2Q8A4099.jpg (802.43 KB, 5472x3648 - viewed 88 times.)
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Calilasseia
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« Reply #296 on: May 31, 2019, 06:48:53 AM »

That's almost certainly a mere coincidental pairing. The larvae look as if they're moth larvae of some sort, and the large black insect is a Tipulid crane fly. Crane flies are short lived as adults, and many do not feed at all in the adult stage. Furthermore, crane fly larvae are rather diverse - some are terrestrial (known as "leatherjackets", and eaten by insectivorous birds), while others are aquatic, the aquatic larvae being found in fresh water, brackish and even some fully marine habitats. The terrestrial larvae are usually feeders upon various plant roots, and some species can become agricultural pests because of this behaviour. Aquatic larvae will feed upon pond bottom detritus, aquatic plants, and a few have transitioned to become carnivorous, feeding upon Daphnia and copepods among other organisms. None of the crane flies exhibit parasitism during any part of their life cycles, so those larvae in your photo are perfectly safe.

Your photo also shows in excellent detail, a feature common to all Diptera - the halteres. These are modifications of the second pair of wings, and in your photo appear as those glass-like strands ending in a blob. These are balancing organs used for orienting the insect in flight. All Diptera have halteres, but these organs are more conspicuous in some flies than others, and are particularly noticeable in those flies whose halteres bear bright colouration. For example, there's a truly enormous (by the usual standards of the Family) Genus of flies living in Panama, the Genus Pantophthalmus, whose adults resemble super-sized bluebottles, and which have halteres that look as if they've been formed from extruded cornflower blue plastic! Here's a photo of one of these large flies, and you can see the blue blobs in that photo - these are the halteres.

Meanwhile, back to the crane flies. There are, wait for it, fifteen thousand species of these worldwide. The UK fauna contains approximately 300 species, but only a minority of these can be identified to species level visually - the remainder are usually dissection jobs. One of the easiest to identify is Tipula maxima, courtesy of the fact that it's almost twice the size of any other UK species, and has patterned wings to accompany its large size. Your specimen looks superficially as if it could be one of the Phantom Craneflies of the Genus Ptychoptera, in particular Ptychoptera albimana, but dissection of the specimen would be needed to be absolutely sure.
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pat
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« Reply #297 on: May 31, 2019, 07:07:13 PM »

Thanks, C. There's certainly an amazing variety of insect life on the planet. I sometimes take two cameras with me when I go to my local nature reserve, one with a zoom lens and the other with a macro lens. Looking down into the undergrowth for insects and spiders to photograph, rather than skywards for birds when the latter are a bit sparse, reveals many varieties of flies and beetles that I, and probably most people, wouldn't even notice unless looking for them. Fascinating creatures.
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