Long-legged Fly with Prey

October 22nd, 2012 - 8:54 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

~7mm | August 23, 2012 | Sebring, Fl, USA

It wasn’t until I reviewed this shot on my camera and saw the prey, that I realized long-legged flies (family Dolichopodidae) are predatory.

Female Amanda’s Pennant

October 8th, 2012 - 9:07 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 3 Comments

~30mm long | August 22, 2012 | Allen David Broussard Catfish Creek Preserve, Haines City, Fl, USA

A female Amanda’s Pennant, Celithemis amanda, perches along a sandy trail in a relatively unvisited state park.

Dictyopharid Planthopper with Dryinid Wasp Parasite

April 18th, 2012 - 8:50 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

~20mm | January 7, 2012 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

When I encountered the planthopper above, I had no idea what was going on. While not entirely sure, I assumed that might be a parasite on its abdomen. I had wanted to get a closeup of just the parasite, but when I went to grab the planthopper, it jumped and flew away with little difficulty. The parasite must not have been as much of a hindrance as it would appear.

Here’s a crop of the image above showing the parasite.

Closeup of parasite

It didn’t take much searching on the internet to determine that this must be the larva of a wasp in the family Dryinidae. There are plenty of images of larvae on BugGuide. According to Wikipedia, a larva initially feeds internally on the host. Only later in its development does it protrude the host as shown here.

I feel lucky to have seen this. As is usually the case, this just whets my appetite for more. Now I’ll be on the lookout for the odd looking adult.

Clearwing Moth

April 9th, 2012 - 9:52 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

~20mm wide | December 31, 2011 | Quirinópolis, Goiás, Brazil

This colorful moth in the family Arctiidae looks a little worse for wear. Nonetheless, it’s quite striking and I’m sure a fresh specimen must be even more so. I later saw another one of these near a porch light so it might be a common species.

While searching for a possible identification, I came across this blog posting. It describes how hundreds of caterpillars were invading people’s home in Piracicaba, São Paulo. With the help of a biologist, they found both the host plant and some pupae for rearing. What emerged looks very much like the moth above, identified as Cosmosoma teuthras, a common moth throughout Brazil. Check the site for photos of the caterpillars, pupae, and an adult. I have no idea if there are similar looking species, but it seems like a good possibility for what I found.

Scale Insects

February 14th, 2012 - 5:55 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

5mm long | July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I probably wouldn’t have noticed these scale insects were it not for the ants that would occasionally stop to feed from them.

Its difficult to see in the first photo, but each one has 20 or so waxy threads spiraling away from the body. It’s not clear to me where exactly they’re coming from. The threads are a bit easier to see in the next few photos.

Waxy corkscrew shaped filaments radiate out from the body

I wonder if the spirals don’t help the ants to locate the scale.

The scales excrete honeydew from a small orange tube (to the left above, right below).

Side view

Here’s what might be an immature form of these scale insects. The tube where honeydew is excreted is easier to spot here.

Immature scale? | ~2mm

And finally, here’s an ant soliciting honeydew from that same small scale.

Ant (~4mm) soliciting honeydew

I’ll separately post more photos of the ants.

Mesmerizing Mantispid

January 23rd, 2012 - 7:43 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

Don’t stare at the eyes too long; you might fall under its spell.

January 7, 2012 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Assassin Bug

December 10th, 2011 - 9:55 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 3 Comments

July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

This assassin bug mimics a bee quite well. It even seems to have pollen baskets on its hind legs.

Delphacid With Unusual Antennae

November 27th, 2011 - 4:22 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 2 Comments

5mm long body | July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Those are some weird looking antennae for a planthopper. After a bit of research, I determined that this member of the family Delphacidae belongs in the genus Copicerus. There are at least three species in Brazil according to this page. One of those species, Copicerus irroratus, ranges into temperate North America.

Another Possible Cyphonia Treehopper

November 23rd, 2011 - 10:13 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 2 Comments

3mm long | July 6, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

This might be another Cyphonia species. I’ve seen a few similar ones before, but not one quite like this.

Side view

I believe these photos are all of the same individual, but I can’t be sure. It was skittish, but when spooked it always seemed to land close by.

Another view

These really are very small treehoppers, only around 3mm long.

Dorsal view

Dorsal view

Mantispid

November 15th, 2011 - 6:31 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments
Mantispid

12mm body | July 6, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I spotted this small mantidfly hanging out on the underside of this leaf. I’m always excited to find one of these.