I’ve been spending a lot of time photographing aquatic insects recently. I’ve been very busy at work, so I find it relaxing to sit and watch my little tank full of insects in the evenings, observing their behaviors and photographing them. Next week I’ll share another developmental series like the snail series I posted last week, but in the interest of time as the day is almost over, today I’m going to simply share some photos that I’ve been taking. Here are some of my favorites this week:
I’ve had these guys in the tank for a couple of weeks now and they are really fun to watch! They have all sorts of cool behaviors and they’re absolutely stunning. I’ve been trying to track down exactly which species these are and I think they’re Notonecta indica, but I really need to get a species key and run them through to be sure. In the meantime, I just enjoy watching them and admiring their gorgeous eyes and the pearlescent blue-white patch on their foreheads.
Creeping Water Bug Nymph
This particular creeping water bug lives up to its common name in more ways than one. Not only does it creep along the rocks and the pieces of wood in the tank, but it also peers out at you from hidden nooks and crannies in the tank. It’s watching you, even if you don’t see it – it’s a creeper! They’re quite beautiful creatures though, and he crawled out of his hiding spot just long enough for me to get this shot before he dove back under the log.
This isn’t the best photo ever as I had accidentally dialed my aperture WAY down without noticing and the depth of field isn’t that great. However, you can see a lot of cool structures inside this damselfly, and that’s why I like the shot. Judging from their prominent connection to the tracheae (= air tubes that transport oxygen throughout an insect’s body) in the gills, I suspect those brown squiggly lines are large respiratory organs that bring oxygen from the gills to the head. Pretty darned cool! (At least it is if you’re me!)
I have very few photos of mayflies in my collection and it’s due in large part to their fragility. They get eaten by everything (indeed, this particular individual was snagged by a backswimmer just a few minutes after I got this shot) and they do not transport well at all. Sloshing around in a container of water is really hard on them and they rarely make the trip. I was thrilled that this one was still alive when I got it home so I could get some photos of it, though it was missing a couple of legs on this side. I still really want a good, closeup shot of a mayfly’s gills. They’re really interesting! That’s going on my photographic bucket list.
This is technically not a true aquatic insect as it lives on the surface of the water and not in the water, but who can resist a good water strider? These suckers are hard to catch thanks to their amazing vision, and I managed to catch TWO of them at once! Granted, they were mating, so they may have been otherwise occupied and perhaps paying a little less attention to their surroundings than usual? I think these are gorgeous animals, well worth the effort of chasing them down in the pond and then again with the camera as they skip frantically around the tank… It’s always a treat when they slow down long enough for you to get a shot!
And with that, I’m off to sleep. Lots to do at work tomorrow!