In the last century, various species of mantis were introduced to North America from all over the world because they were hoped to be useful in pest control. For some time their eggs, which were deposited in so-called ootheques, were sold to establish praying mantises in gardens.
However, they were not successful because their populations could not adapt quickly enough to the pest plagues that occurred. Their distinct cannibalism also stands in the way of their population development. In addition, they eat everything they can overwhelm and make no difference whether their prey is pests or beneficials. Mice, reptiles and even small birds can also fall prey to them.
This magnificent butterfly is a good example of mimicry. The butterfly imitates a poisonous swallowtail (Battus philenor) in shape and colour and is thus protected from predators. There are four different sub types of these butterflies, whose coloring varies strongly. Shown here is Limenitis arthemis astyanax, which is common in the east and southeast of the USA.
(Neotibicen canicularis) Indiana, USA – August 2019
Every year during the hottest days of the year, also called dog days, these cicadas are active. Usually they are not seen, but they are unmistakable. In large numbers they sit well camouflaged in trees and bushes and give their sometimes deafening concert.
One morning this specimen apparently sat a little cool in the dewy grass of our garden. This was the opportunity for a little photo session, which it endured almost motionless. After a while the cicada was reached by the sun’s rays and brought to operating temperature. It declared the session over, and buzzed up and away.
(Diabrotica undecimpunctata) Indiana, USA – August 2019
Native to North America, this photogenic beetle is a feared crop pest that loves to attack cucumbers, pumpkins and melons. It also transmits various plant diseases. Its larvae live underground and feed on the roots of corn and other plants. The corn and soy fields, which are planted in extensive monocultures, certainly aid the spread of this beetle.
These pretty beetles come from Japan and were introduced to North America about one hundred years ago. Due to the lack of natural enemies, they developed into a plague and damage crops and ornamental plants.
The blossom of the purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), on which the two love to play, also shows the feeding traces of the beetles.
This metallic shimmering beetle is native to the east of the USA and occurs most frequently in the south. The beetles feed on all kinds of fruits and cause crop damage. The larvae damage, among other things, the roots of vegetables and ornamental plants.
(Gonepteryx rhamni) Neandertal, Germany – July 2019
At 12 months, the common brimstone butterfly has the longest life span of any butterfly in Central Europe. It is the only butterfly that hibernates freely in the vegetation. By the freezing point of its body fluids lowering substances, it is able to withstand frosts of up to minus 20° C, even if it is completely covered with snow.
In March the common brimstone butterflies become active again and in April a new life cycle begins with the laying of eggs.
The monarch is known for his long migrations from eastern North America to his wintering grounds in Mexico. This specimen allows itself a small rest on its up to 3600 kilometers long journey at our front door.
This wasp species lives in North and Central America and is quite common in human settlements. The images were taken with a macro lens and the wasp has thankfully held still long enough for me to achieve a greater depth of field using focus stacking.
These predatory bugs are common in North America but not very numerous. After I had first observed and photographed a single specimen, about two weeks later this freshly in love couple ran into me. She marched with him piggyback slowly but purposefully towards the next tree, which she then climbed and finally disappeared into the top.
The Wheel Bugs are considered very useful for pest control. They are quite peaceful creatures, but if they feel threatened, they can sting very painfully.