Canon 300D, handheld
Sigma 24-135 at 78mm w/ 20mm extension
Metz 40MZ-3i w/ Lumiquest Big Bounce softbox

ISO 100
1/200 second at f22

Look very close
ambush bug portrait

Jagged ambush bugs (genus Phymata) are one of the sneakier arthropods. They're typically quite small, and match the color and appearance of their chosen hunting grounds pretty well. But as you might be able to tell from those forelegs, they're predatory insects. The allure of the flowers draws in regular meals and so ambush bugs have little to do but wait and strike. I was lucky one summer in having several specimens that selected two plants that I could check routinely, and so added a nice collection of images in a variety of framing — the one above is available as a print.

ambush bug scaleIf you want a better idea of both the scale and the camouflage, I'm happy to oblige. That's my forefinger, with the ambush bug visible to the right of the flower center. If you're starting to think that you might have whipped right past some of these guys before, you may be right. I myself got clued in to watch for them by finding one in mid-petal with a bright green insect — a bit more obvious than normal.