insects

It was a bit cold, cloudy and rainy over the weekend, so I wasn't expecting to find any insects. But there it was.

A praying mantis, bold as can be.

Isn't it interesting how the pink shades on its thorax match the pink flower buds of the fairy duster plant it's resting on?

The cold weather was probably making it sluggish, because it did not move when I ran to get my camera or the whole time I was taking photographs.

Perhaps it is wishing for warmer days.

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Going over my photographs from the last 12 months, I realized I took many fewer shots of insects than in years past. It was still difficult, however, to limit the selection of favorites to just 10.

Insects Around Water

blue-dragonflyBlue seems to be the color of choice around ponds and streams.

gorgeous-damselfly_0618Blue mixed with green, that is.

dragonfly-ny_0649These photographs were taken in the company of some of my favorite people.

Insects in Fields and Pastures

flower-fly_0346A flower fly feeds on the nectar of Robin's Plantain, I believe.

skipper-on-cloverc_0268This skipper butterfly sips nectar from a clover flower.

wood-nymph-brsh-foot_0348A tattered wood nymph rests on a leaf.

freshy-emerged-queen-butterfly-241This queen butterfly just emerged from its chrysalis.

monarch-caterpillar-27Not to be outdone, here's a monarch caterpillar feeding on rush milkweed.

single-ant_0227What's this ant doing on this leaf? Probably searching for nectar or honeydew.

Insects On Trees

cidada-nymph-c_0259Exoskeleton of a cicada nymph clings to the trunk of a tree.

That wraps up Bug of the Week for 2016.

Wishing you all a very happy New Year!

Insect common names are sometimes misleading.

yellow-bodied-whitefly-11

Take this tiny whitefly, for example. It isn't really a fly (not family Diptera). Instead it belongs to the same family as aphids and scale insects.

It also isn't really white.

whitefly-side(A one-sixteenth-inch long Silverleaf whitefly, Bemisia argentifolii. Photo by Scott Bauer, USDA-ARS)

If you could see under a microscope for a view like this, you would notice the body of the whitefly is actually yellow, almost the same color as the petal of the desert marigold flower the one at the top is sitting on.

Where does the whitefly get its name? Its body and wings are covered with a powdery coating of white wax particles. The wax probably helps protect it from water and predators.

Now you know more about whiteflies, what would you have named them?