Bugs (as in spiders, dragonflies, and butterflies)

October 16, 2013 at 8:24 am (Autumn, Butterflies, Dragonflies and Bugs, Nature, Photography)

Black and Yellow Argiope

Black and Yellow Argiope

Some people specialize in blogs about birds.  Others do only dragonflies.  However, I am a generalist.  All of nature fascinates me.  So I call myself an amateur naturalist.  I want to know everything about everything, except maybe geology which I’m not very fond of.  Each season here in south Georgia brings a varied menu of things that catch my attention.  Today my focus is on bugs here in southern Georgia.

The argiope (ar-GUY-oh-pee) is one of the amazing orb weavers that become quite prominent in late summer through fall.  Of course, as baby spiders they’ve been spinning little webs since spring, but now they’re HUGE – and their webs (along with those of the golden silk spider) can snag you on trails.  (An old Tarzan movie comes to mind — argh!)

See the golden silk spider on her web, with the tiny male in attendance, in the video clip below:


Green Lynx Spider

Green Lynx Spider

The green lynx spider is another fascinating arachnid – look how gorgeous it is!  They don’t catch prey in webs, but rather lurk on flowers for unsuspecting butterflies and other pollinators to flutter by.  Then they pounce!  They may attach a few web lines to reel themselves back in.  So watch where you put your hands (or nose) if you like to smell the flowers.

Common Green Darner, male

Common Green Darner, male

Dragonflies are “the new birds,” as I wrote in a post last year.  They are gorgeous, a challenge to identify at times, and they often pose for long periods of time.  Long enough for that darned autofocus to finally decide to stop focusing on the background.  But the common green darner isn’t one of those odonates that likes to take a break.  And when they do, it’s often in hiding.  These are a “new” species for me, and apparently they make their appearance in early fall on Jekyll Island.  These very large dragonflies are in a mating frenzy this time of year, and the males are on patrol for eligible ladies.  Using manual focus on my Nikon D600, I was able to get a reasonably sharp image of a male in flight.

Common Green Darner female

Common Green Darner female

A closeup of the female common green darner reveals the “third eye” typical of the species.  These dragonflies perch vertically as well, and often in the shade of a leafy tree, which makes them more difficult to find.

Blue Dasher male

Blue Dasher male

The blue dasher is THE most common dragonfly in these parts – and on Jekyll Island last week there was a blizzard of these guys.  Probably because there’s a plethora of biting flies and sand gnats out right now, which they eat.  They’re rather small, and the males have gorgeous emerald eyes.

Blue dasher female

Blue dasher female

The female blue dasher has a dramatically striped thorax.

Blue Dasher, old female

Blue Dasher, old female

According to my field guide, this would be an “old female” blue dasher.

Carolina Saddlebags

Carolina Saddlebags

The Carolina saddlebags is also quite common – and very handsome.

Common Buckeye

Common Buckeye

There are a handful of often-seen butterflies flitting about right now.  The common buckeye above is one of these.

Gulf fritillary

Gulf fritillary

The vivid Gulf fritillary is another that loves the beach habitat.

Queen butterfly, male

Queen butterfly, male

The Queen butterfly stood out as a cross between the Gulf fritillary and the Viceroy butterfly – and I only saw these two the entire day.

Long-tailed Skipper

Long-tailed Skipper

The long-tailed skipper is a darling butterfly which reveals its metallic green tails when the sun hits it right.  So there you have a sampling of some of the interesting bugs I’ve seen lately.

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All photographs and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre 2013

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4 Comments

  1. Robert said,

    Great shots!! Keep ’em coming!

    Best wishes,

    Rob Olson

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. DesertAbba said,

    Exquisite pics! You are indeed a naturalist photographer! These are great shots for us novices interested in ‘bugs.’ Thanks!

  3. dinajohnston said,

    That green bug is really cool. I haven’t seen one of those before. And the details in the dragonfly are amazing!

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