Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Green Shield Bug (Palomena prasina)

Green Shield Bug (Palomena prasina), originally uploaded by Pipsissiwa.

I do like invertebrate silhouettes. What you lose in details, you gain in beauty. I like to try to capture portraits of invertebrates, not just clear taxonomic images. These large green bugs are all over my garden in the summer. I remember discovering, as a child, that you don't pick them up. If you do, they have a nasty habit of oozing stinky yellow stuff all over you that will not wash off. I handle them now, but the trick is to let them walk onto you rather than grabbing.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Crab Spider (Xysticus cristatus)

Crab Spider (Xysticus cristatus), originally uploaded by Pipsissiwa.

Crab spiders are so named because they often walk a bit like crabs, sort of sideways, and look a bit like crabs when in their hunting pose. They don't spin webs, choosing instead to sit on flower heads or leaves with their front legs outstretched, waiting for prey to land. When something does, the legs try to grab it as the spider leaps forward, fangs ready. They are usually well camouflaged in browns or greens and can be hard to see, even larger species. As hunters these spiders need good eyesight so have large eyes on the front of the head for the kill, with small eyes around the head to see the prey coming.

House Spider (Tegenaria) Female

House Spider (Tegenaria) Female, originally uploaded by Pipsissiwa.

These are the archetypical UK house spider - brown, large, and long legged with a fast skuttling gait that many find frightening. This one was hiding in my old shed when it was being demolished, so I took the opportunity to carry it into the light and get some photos. This silhouette shows off the shape and structure of the animal beautifully, and all that fur.