I let my guard down…

… and of course someone snuck in.


In this case, it was the first of the mantis egg cases (oothecas) hatching. There are several in the yard, including four now that had been naturally placed there – three Chinese mantids and a Carolina. I was doing routine checks, but the last one discovered, deep under an untended thicket of mostly vines, I now realize that read more

On this date 57

I’ll have this topic, my weekly one from last year, still peeking in occasionally because I like the comparisons, especially right now as the first indications of spring are popping up. So let’s step back to 2012.


That winter, I had a small aquarium that held a handful of finds from nearby ponds and streams, and an unidentified snail had laid eggs right against the glass, read more

On this date 38


You may be seeing a pattern if you’ve bothered to look at the previous On This Date posts and have the faintest interest, which is highly unlikely, but back in 2006 I was doing a lot of experimentation in infra-red photography, and this image is probably my favorite. Or at least, the read more

Sunday slide 29


This is just another perspective on the little story found here, since I shot the saga in both digital and film. What you’re seeing is the egg of a ground skink (Scincella lateralis,) right at the moment of hatching. Actually, it takes more than a moment, and this one in particular stayed in read more

Sunday slide 26


And so we reach the halfway point in the year, at least as far as Sunday slide posts go. This week’s offering comes from April 2006, as a collection of wheel bugs (Arilus cristatus) hatches from an egg cluster affixed to the branch of a tree. I credit this capture to James L. Kramer, who has made a few read more

Too cool, part 35: A modicum of success


The praying mantids have been an ongoing saga on this blog now for several years, and if you want to call it an obsession, no argument from me. While I am definitely motivated to capture sequences and behavior of any species that I can, I happen to like mantids, and I’ve had the opportunities to bear close witness to them. So here we are again.

Not having found any distinctive evidence of local read more

Aha, hmmmm

I decided to try and answer a couple of questions raised in the post about the newborn mantids, so I went out and collected the debris that was still hanging from the egg sac, that the newborns had been suspended from immediately after emergence. The first thing to become apparent was that it hung from a webbing read more

Mixed blessings

I had a post in draft form wherein I mentioned that I was keeping my eye on the egg case of the Chinese mantises (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis,) figuring it was due to erupt at any time. This morning, that post was ruined.

I was just about to head off to meet with a student when I took a last look at the egg case, and found it almost literally dripping with newborn mantids. I quickly got the camera read more

Macro photography, part five

I got my timing down the other day, and caught a set of lady beetle eggs as they hatched. The eggs are 1.2mm in length – yes, I have a loupe with a micrometer scale – so the details you’re seeing here are pretty fine. As you can see, the larva are visible through the translucent shells.

Hatching isn’t quick by any stretch, but it can still happen entirely while you’re read more