Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Ninja

I know what you're thinking: "It looks like Jen's lifting her leg to pee; like a dog. Hahaha."  You're hysterical, you know that? Really you are.

But you're wrong. 

No, this is Summer Ninja out stalking fodder for personal amazement and perpetually renewed wonder. Did you know that one of the easiest ways to make new discoveries on a daily basis is to have a love affair with nature? Honestly, I can go out every day into the woods, into my yard, along the road and with just a little bit of patience and observation I can see things I didn't see the day before, or ever before, for that matter. One of the best nature-y subjects for this kind of never-ending love affair....insects. 

Now before you go getting all sissy on me, stop for a second.. It's terribly irrational, your fear of (most) insects in New England. You're missing out on so much potential for learning. The insect world holds unending examples of beautiful, functional adaptations for evolutionary success. Shapes, colors, textures, habits that amaze the eye and make for great photographic explorations.

Look what I found in just a few meadow-y acres at Springweather Nature Area over the past two days:

 Red Milkweed Beetles (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus) getting all sexy.

Summer Ninja stalking grounds.

 Okay, if you really hate are some pretty Black Eyed Susan. Do you feel safe now?

My new favorite insect creature. Viceroy Butterfly Larva (Limenitis archippus). I mean, look how COOL that is! It's like a caterpillar, horse, sea horse thing with antlers!

 Viceroy butterfly larva at an earlier instar (stage of larval development before sexual maturity). And if you look carefully, you'll see the tiny blue leafhopper also on the stem. 

Limenitis archippus Viceroy Butterfly larva. Viceroy's have some fantastic adaptations. During early instars  the caterpillar looks like a bird dropping.

 Dragonfly wings never cease to wow me with their delicate beauty. It takes serious Ninja skills to stalk members of the order Odonata.
 Look at this black and iridescent beauty!

 Oh, Nature! Your miners leaf marks upon my heart! 

So, tonight, after the rain, in the gloaming, I had to go back to my field and see what everyone was up to.

 During early instars, the viceroy larvae have evolved to look like bird droppings as a camouflage technique. "Wow, Roy, you really look like shit today."  "Thanks!"

 This is a more advanced instar of the Viceroy larva where it's not only much bigger, but also turns greenish.

Summer Ninja tools and disguises:

Lepidoptera boots and trippy 60's umbrella. 

 Thank you, Springweather Nature Area for being my clandestine Nature love-affair meeting place.