This little jumper gave me just enough time to snap a couple photos before he jumped out of the frame.This was the smallest magnolia green jumper I have come across. I didn’t expect a worthwhile shot because I wasn’t using my extension tubes at the time, but am pleased with this effort.
In Florida and other southeastern states, the Magnolia Green Jumper is one of the most easily recognized of all the jumping spiders. Its vibrant green coloring along with that stupendously orange cap and huge, forward-looking eyes give it an eerily cute appearance. But have no doubt, this little spider is a balls-to-the-wall predator, easily hunting and capturing prey many times its own size.
Jumping spiders are small to medium in size, stout-bodied and short-legged, with a distinctive eye pattern. The body is rather hairy (pubescent) and frequently brightly colored or iridescent. Some species are ant like in appearance. The jumping spiders forage for their prey in the daytime. They approach prey slowly and, when a short distance away, make a sudden leap onto the unfortunate animal. They are good jumpers and can leap many times their own body length.
Jumping spiders have excellent vision, with among the highest acuities in invertebrates. The eight eyes are grouped four on the face (the two big Anterior Median eyes in the middle, and two smaller Anterior Lateral eyes to the side), and four on top of the carapace (two medium-sized eyes toward the back, and two very small eyes in front of them). You can think of the Anterior Median eyes (AME) as acting like our fovea, with high acuity but small field of view, and the remaining six eyes acting like our peripheral vision, with lower resolution but broad field of view.
The AME’s are long and tubular, which helps their resolution (longer focal length, more magnification) but which means they have a narrow field of view. Since the AME’s have a narrow field of view, the spider needs to point them in different directions to see different things. To some extent this is done by moving the carapace, but the eyes can move as well. This is not done by moving the whole ‘eyeball’, since the lenses of the eyes are actually built into the carapace. Instead the retina moves around, while the lens stays fixed. This retinal movement is accomplished by extremely tiny muscles.
We traveled to a section of the park that is typically ripe with insects for macro shooting. Instead this area just adjacent to the battlegrounds looks like it was sprayed with pesticides and run over with vehicles in the process. The bushes now lay flat and are dying. Luckily whoever administered the poison missed some sections.
There were small spiderwebs riddled with dew that were parallel to the ground. Here is an effort to capture the web prior to the sun evaporating the dew
Umbonia crassicornis – Thorn Treehopper
Crassicornis is actually Latin for thick horn
11/22/2014 – Awesome camouflage. At a normal viewing distance they look like thorns on a tree until you get close and they begin walking around…
Thorn bugs, due to their unusual appearance, have long interested naturalists. They are best known for their enlarged and ornate pronotum, which most often resembles thorns, apparently to aid camouflage. In some species, the pronotum is a horn-like extension, but can form more bizarre shapes. The specialised pronotum (or helmet) may not be simply an expansion of the prothoracic sclerite, but a fused pair of dorsal appendages of the first thoracic segment.
These may be serial homologues of insect wings, which are dorsal appendages of the second and/or third thoracic segments. Evidence for this theory includes the development of the helmet, which arises as a pair of appendages attached to each side of the dorsal prothorax by an articulation with muscles and a flexible membrane that allow it to be mobile. Also, the same genes are involved in development of the helmet and the wings.
Monk Skipper (Asbolis capucinus)
Deanna has a garden outside that apparently is an insect rest stop of sorts. This little skipper not only stopped to smell the roses, but stayed on them beginning in the afternoon until mid morning the following day. This behavior is known as roosting and this typically occurs during inclement weather.
This particular skipper is common in south Florida. Whether at first glance you called this little guy a moth or a butterfly you would be partially correct ; they have characteristics of both insects.
If you notice my second photograph you more easily see the beautiful scales that make up the wing. In fact the group that encompasses moths and butterflies is lepidoptera which means scaly (lepido) winged (ptera).
The average lifespan is said to be about 7 days so it’s pretty fascinating that this insect chose her plant outside to spend a sizable chunk of it’s life.
I love these skippers because they are often very difficult to photograph. They typically spend a brief amount of time darting and skipping from each flower and can be especially skittish. I was very fortunate to find this one.
This skipper is called a monk skipper due to it’s coloration. Think of a capuchin monk!
I remember taking this shot in 2011 at Riverbend park in Jupiter Florida. Most photographers that I know use the park to shoot deer and birds. I typically visit a small grassy section that is often overlooked.
The area is host to a chimney that is surrounded by uncut grass, weeds, and a ridiculous number of insects. It’s a scene that looks like some post apocalyptic world that was long forgotten providing you take the pristine asphalt and wooden fence out of the equation. The title above? It’s the conversation I had with myself when my brain was trying to decipher the bee-like thick hair and the obvious fly eyes.
By the way… in case you haven’t figured it out it is actually a fly that resembles a bee. The resemblance is said to possibly be aposematic; a characteristic in which the fly could possible be perceived as a bee. This affords the fly some protection.
Think of it as his God-given halloween costume except no wardrobe changes are necessary.
This is from wikipedia –
Bombyliidae is a large family of flies with hundreds of genera, although their life cycles are not well known. Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, thus are pollinators of flowers. They superficially resemble bees, thus are commonly called bee flies, and this may offer the adults some protection from predators. In parts of East Anglia locals refer to them as ‘beewhals’, thanks to their tusk-like appendages.
The larval stages are predators or parasitoids of other insect eggs and larvae. The adult females usually deposit eggs in the vicinity of possible hosts, quite often in the burrows of beetles or wasps/solitary bees. Where most often in the insect world parasitoids are highly specific in the host species that they will infect, some bombyliids are opportunistic and will use a variety of hosts.
This spider was in the middle of discarding whatever it’s last meal was when I approached it.