Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Happy Tuesday: Insect Interactions

If you watch insects very closely long enough, you eventually observe interactions that make you chuckle because they may seem so human. 

From August 20, 2009 is a series of photos of a grasshopper pooping. Insect poo is called frass.  I was taking a series of photos of this individual and, as usually happens, was paying more attention to my shooting than to the animal. It usually is not until I get the images in a computer that I see what has happened in front of me. Notice how the hopper is watching me watching him.

The next two photos are from September 29, 2013. This time, I saw what happened through the lens. I remember trying so hard not to laugh so that I could keep focus. The Northern Paper Wasp (Polistes fuscatus), a male, native, and the tiny leaf beetle were both foraging the same blooms but had not noticed each other. But the wasp blindly bumped into the beetle and actually jumped backwards startled. To this day, I remember both the wasp's startle and my emotions at capturing it.

My last sequence is from yesterday, August 8, 2022. I knew the Pug moth caterpillar (Eupithecia) that I was photographing would be startled by the incoming Eastern Calligrapher (Toxomerus geminatus) fly. Neither animal ran away, but the caterpillar kept its distance. These would normally be out-takes and not printed, but the sequence is worth publishing.

By the way, a pug moth is a geometer moth, which explains the inchworm-like movement. The Greeks thought that inchworms looked like they measured the world, hence "geometer."

I did not expect to see, in another one of my practice videos, the frass action. I thought insects just randomly left frass wherever it dropped, but this caterpillar, the same individual as above, but after the fly left, actually disposed of it. Forgive my poor focus immediately before this happens. Even out of focus you can see the caterpillar going poop. The video then re-focuses and you see it disposing of it. Amazing! Please view it full screen. 

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  1. I kinda like grasshoppers and crickets as long as they are not my house. We saw 2 hornets this morning...they seemed to be fighting over some turf. they are evil and dangeous.
    Hugs Cecilia

  2. Your nature shots are awesome ~ so delightful to see ~ thanks, Xo

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  3. Aw, so cute. I love to watch them work.

    Thank you for joining the Happy Tuesday Blog Hop.

    Have a fabulous Happy Tuesday. ♥

  4. Well I must say I learned quite a lot today from your documentary photographs and video. Amazing! It's a whole other world within this microcosm. There are some other species that could learn from that caterpillar about disposing of their own frass. I like the word because it's rather genteel. Thanks for the education.

  5. Wow, your grasshopper pictures are awesome!

  6. Your photos are amazing and I really like the way the grasshopper is looking at you!

  7. Interesting post. I enjoy watching insects interact too. Thanks for the video. Amazing to see the caterpillar turning back to dispose of its poop.


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