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

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.

Lacewing Eggs Comparison

October 5th, 2011 - 9:48 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

9mm high | July 5, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I assume these are hatched lacewing eggs, though I think there are other critters that lay stalked eggs as well. What I found interesting was how long the stalks are relative to the eggs. The lacewing eggs I usually find have relatively shorter stalks. Compare the hatched ones above with some unhatched ones below that I found in a park close to home.

5mm high | August 27, 2011 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

Searching around the internet I see two common explanations for why eggs are laid on stalks. First, the stalks make it more difficult for predators such as ants to reach the eggs. The stalks are sometimes even coated with a repellent substance. Second, lacewing larvae are cannibalistic and the stalks serve to keep keep newly hatched larvae away from each other.

Owlfly

July 4th, 2011 - 12:51 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

January 21, 2011 | Finca La Isla, Limon Province, Costa Rica

I rarely find owlflies (family Ascalaphidae, order Neuroptera). Even though this one was in an unphotogenic location, I couldn’t resist a few photos.

Dorsal view

This was a large one. The body was around 4cm long.

Mantidfly

April 18th, 2011 - 5:07 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

15mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

I was thrilled to find this mantidfly (family Mantispidae) on the underside of a large leaf. I’ve seen plenty of these attracted to lights at night, but I rarely encounter one in a natural setting.

Lacewing under Leaf

December 23rd, 2010 - 10:30 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

January 31, 2010 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Most lacewings are nondescript. So when I spotted this one on the underside of a leaf, I couldn’t pass it up. The markings are not unlike some Leucochrysa species here in the US.

Crypsis Challenge #1 Reveal

August 24th, 2010 - 10:49 PM | Filed under Crypsis Challenges | 1 Comment

July 2, 2010 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

Did you spot the hidden critter from this earlier post? No one commented, but I’ll go ahead and reveal the answer.

There’s a hint about two thirds of the way down on the left hand side. That’s a lacewing egg on a thread. And just to the right of that is the creature itself, a trash carrying lacewing larva. I circled the two in red below.

Reveal

Still having trouble seeing it? Try this side view.

Side View

Of course, all you can really see is the debris. To see the actual critter, you have to turn it over, as I did here.

Underside

What I’d like to know is how it manages to pile all that stuff on without any long appendages.