My telephoto wasn’t quite up to the task of capturing this utterly weird little guy full frame and clearly, but he is so amazingly unusual that I had to show him to you. There are a lot of these critters flitting and darting around the turtle/koi pond in the botanical gardens across the street, but they dart so quickly that I hadn’t previously been able to capture anything but a blur. Finally one alighted on a plant and stayed there long enough for me to manage a cropped, blurry photo.
Look at his crazy short front legs and long hind legs holding on to the stem of the plant. And his white eyes!! Those are what make him look like he came out of a science fiction movie.
I present to you…….. The Flame Skimmer, AKA The Firecracker Skimmer, technically known as a Libellula Saturata, a subspecies of dragonfly.
This is a male Flame Skimmer. You can tell because he is a much more intense orange than his female counterpart would be. He is appropriately called a dragonfly. For extra points, what would the female be called?
She would be a _ _ _ _ _ _fly. (6 missing letters). No fair looking it up. Just guess.
How can such a small creature gather so much pollen? About six years ago, researchers discovered something new about flowers and bees. Would you believe electric charges????? It turns out as a bee flies through the air, the friction of the bee’s body parts against the air causes the bee to have a slight positive charge. The flowers that attract bees have a slight negative charge. So when a bee lands on the flower, the bee’s body attracts the pollen to it and the pollen sticks! On February 22, 2013, NPR ran the spot “Honey It’s Electric: Bees Sense Charge On Flowers.” Who knew?
Look at this absolutely beautiful fellow. Who knew some butterflies had so many fine hairs near their body or such interesting looking eyes – as shown particularly clearly in the second photo! If anyone knows the name of this butterfly, please let me know in the comments.
Also, this is the first day of Fall, or Autumn, depending on your season name preference. I thought both the colors of the butterfly and the colors of the flowers were good choices for the season.
It looks as though (sorry for the pun) bees have 2 eyes – the large ones that we see. These are the bee’s compound eyes that consist of many tiny lenses that piece together patterns that the bee sees, enabling it to recognize types of plants and other bees. However, the bee also has 3 additional eyes on the top of its head. These are called simple, or ocelli eyes. These eyes do not see patterns, but can see light. Or more importantly, these eyes see changes in light, which can alert the bee to predators flying overhead. If you look carefully, you can see one of these small ocelli eyes in the top photo; look at the large eye on your left, then look across the top of the bee’s forehead that has black coloring. At the inner tip of that, almost in the center of the forehead, you will see the leftmost oceilli eye as a very small dot. See it? Well done! You can also just barely see it in the second photo.*