(Marimatha nigrofimbria) Indiana, USA – October 2019
This small and rather inconspicuous moth caught my attention last autumn. It sat motionless at the top of a blade of grass and seemed to enjoy the morning sun.
I quickly screwed the macro lens onto the camera and a small photo session with the small, patient moth was held, and I was able to get quite close to it. Until it was suddenly gone – just disappeared. I had not seen it flutter away, it was not lying in the grass either. Strange!
With that the session was over and I returned to the house to stow the camera. I turned it over and there the moth sat calmly at the inner edge of the lens hood. Through the window I released it into freedom.
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.
This spider species, widespread in the northern hemisphere of the earth, usually sits well camouflaged on flowers, where it ambushes insects that visit them. It can adapt its color to its surroundings and varies between yellow, yellow-green and white.
The prey is quickly grabbed with the two enlarged pairs of forelegs and killed by a bite in the back of the neck. The spider can overpower prey, that is several times bigger than itself.
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.