Awesome Glimpses of Nature

An ant tending a herd of aphids

An ant tending a herd of aphids

We are still catching up with yardwork after our last trip, and I’m gearing up to install the Fantastic Fan in the Casita next week.  Still need to run the wiring and cut the garnish for the

Roadside flowers before the storm

Roadside flowers before the storm

fan down to size.  I’m also rebuilding a new mount for it because I’m not happy with the one I made.

So — in the meantime, my sister Hope emailed me a treasure trove of pictures taken at her home in north Florida.  They are way too good to keep to myself!  I hope you enjoy them!

Hope captured some great shots of ants herding aphids and stroking them with

Another shot of ants tending their aphids

Another shot of ants tending their aphids

their antennae to milk the sweet honeydew.  If you’ve never heard of that before, you can read about it here.  The ants protect their herd from predators and move the aphids to better food sources when the host plant becomes depleted.  Some ants will even take aphid eggs to their nests and store them over the winter to restock their herd the next year.

Ladybug eating an aphid

Ladybug eating an aphid

She also got a couple of shots of ladybugs eating aphids.

She had another series of photos showing a spider eating a moth (and losing a leg or two in the conflict), and another one of the spider that turned out more foreboding-looking than the first.  I felt too sorry for the poor moth to post the photo of his demise.  🙂

As a Florida native, I’ve seen thousands (at least) of lovebugs.  Usually flying in

Another shot of the ladybug eating the aphid

Another shot of the ladybug eating the aphid

mating pairs and smashing against my windshield and the front of my car.  But I had never seen how they looked up close.  Again, Hope captured that with her camera.

You can click on the photos to enlarge them if you’d like to see more detail.

Lovebugs up close

Lovebugs up close

Spider - missing a leg or two

Spider – missing a leg or two

He looks a lot more menacing here

He looks a lot more menacing here

Not sure what this little creature is.  Maybe an immature grasshopper or cricket?  His head looks kind of like a seahorse's head.

Not sure what this little creature is. Maybe an immature grasshopper or cricket? His head looks kind of like a seahorse’s head.

After the storm

After the storm

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20 Comments

  1. Mona

     /  May 9, 2013

    Great photography………..

  2. EmilyO

     /  May 9, 2013

    Those are really awesome pictures. I learned something about ants and their herds of aphids. I did not know this. Glad I can learn something new (almost) everyday.

    • I didn’t know about it either until I mentioned to Dad years ago that there were a bunch of ants on the new crabapple tree I had planted. Dad told me, “Take a look. You’ll find aphids. They farm them.” So after that, I looked it up and he was right. He was so observant of nature.

      Hope is so gifted at making the mysteries of nature come alive in her photos. She leaves me in her dust… and I’m so proud of her!

  3. Marsha

     /  May 9, 2013

    Just seeing bugs makes me all itchy. Eww. But I do appreciate good photography. I love pictures of flowers.

    • The roadside flowers with the storm clouds overhead was my very favorite of the batch! But I love good bug photos, too. 🙂

  4. Gail

     /  May 9, 2013

    Awesome photography!!

  5. As always, your blog has the best photos. Photo skills must run in your family…

    • Well, we can’t paint, can’t draw…. but our cameras do take pictures. 😀

      Seriously, thank you for your comment. It’s appreciated..

  6. Bravo Hope….I could only hope to snap such close-ups! Sure brings a better sense of compassion for “bugs” 🙂 Spider missing a leg my favorite!

    • LOL. So funny that the spider missing a leg is your favorite! Glad you enjoyed them!

  7. Those are absolutely amazing photos!! We’ve been wondering what those crazy linked bugs are that are flying around every where down here… Lovebugs!! Too cute!! Maybe we can get a good pic of em with Chris’ new camera… Your photos and now Hope’s photos give us a goal to strive for!! 😀
    XOXO

    • The lovebugs aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be. Do be aware that if you don’t clean them off your car soon after they smash that some chemical in them will eat into your paint!

      They were apparently introduced into Florida to control some pest. But whoever introduced them didn’t realize they have a nasty taste and no other predator would eat them. So they went wild for years. I think they must have finally found something that helps control them. But I haven’t done any research to be sure. After I moved from Florida, I kind of forgot about them!

  8. Absolutely love the roadside flowers/storm pict….congratulate Hope for me! The unusual angle makes it so unique.

    And I had no idea that ants farmed aphids….nature is so amazing!

    • That storm/flower picture was my favorite, too. Ants are amazing. Some of them harvest mushroom spores and grow tiny mushrooms underground for food in winter. I think those are mostly in Africa, though. Saw it on PBS one time. 🙂

  9. Jo

     /  May 9, 2013

    Great pictures! Thanks to hope for sharing

  10. Wow! I love your photos! I just finished a master naturalist program here at home and loved it! Your photos remind me (and rival!) some of those they showed us in class from other naturalist’s blogs. Nature has so many gifts and we are often rewarding for taking the time to look. Great eye, thank you for sharing!

    • Sorry, just reread these were taken by your sister! You both share a naturalist’s eye! Great photos, thank you for sharing!

      • Thanks so much for your beautiful compliments! I’ll pass them on to Hope and they will mean a lot to her! 🙂

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