Stag Beetle

Stag Beetle

Anyone know the exact species? Found in TN. I’m fairly certain that this one is female as she doesn’t have the huge mandibles. My cats happened across this one, curiously inspecting her as she made her way for cover. Unfortunately, she didn’t find cover in time. I think my neighbor’s puppy ate her. What’s with dogs eating beetles? Extra protein? They must be a delicacy for dogs because my neighbor’s dogs will eat any beetle they find. Such is the way of nature. ;P

Species Stagmomantis carolina – Carolina Mantis

Species Stagmomantis carolina - Carolina Mantis #1

Over the weekend, my neighbor happened to spot this female Carolina Mantis on the tire of his vehicle and called me over to photograph/relocate her. I moved her to the wheelbarrow first to get a few decent photos and curiously watched her behavior. Something in the yard or on the wheel barrow must have caught her eye as she swayed back and forth in a bobbing motion that made me think of a hypnotist persuading an unsuspecting subject into deep slumber.

Species Stagmomantis carolina - Carolina Mantis #2 Species Stagmomantis carolina - Carolina Mantis #3

Around and around the wheelbarrow support this mantis played hide and seek with me as I tried getting as close as I could without frightening her away. She seemed more cautious of me than others I have encountered.

Species Stagmomantis carolina - Carolina Mantis #4

Sensing her leeriness of me, I moved her to a nearby tree where I figured she would feel safer. Her camouflage was absolute perfection. The “Where’s Waldo” shot below was a little disappointing since none of three photos that I took with her on the tree focused on her head. Before I had the chance to capture anything better, she quickly climbed up the tree’s height away from my prying eyes. Our encounter only lasted a few minutes, but I thanked her for her time, as I always do with my subjects, and wished her well.

Species Stagmomantis carolina - Carolina Mantis #5

Today’s Theme Is “Orange”

Orange Caterpillar #2Orange Caterpillar #2

Sorting through images today, I noticed that I have several with a similar color theme, orange. I thought I would do these all together in a photo-dump since I’m so far behind in posting. These first two are a couple of my favorites, but I have no idea what species of caterpillar this is. Help with IDs are welcomed as always.

Orange Caterpillar #1Orange Caterpillar #1

Orange Capped MushroomOrange Capped Mushroom

Small Orange ButterflySmall Orange Butterfly

Orange BugOrange Bug

Fossilized StoneFossilized Stone

Orange EyeOrange Eye

Orange WaspOrange Wasp

Green June Beetle Feeding on Blackberries

Green June Beetle Feeding on Blackberries

Until this summer I had no idea that green June beetles fed on blackberries or black raspberries? I’m not entirely sure which; all I know is that they are yummy for humans, too! The berries are plentiful around here; so the June Bugs, as we call them here in TN, had their pick. These insects were one of my favorites from childhood, probably because of the stories my mom told my sister and me about her and her siblings tying thread to June Bugs’ legs and letting them fly all around their heads. These stories made me laugh; but no, I never tried that. Now that I think about it, that sounds kind of mean.

Photo and short video clip from July 15th.

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos #2

I’m backtracking a bit to a couple of photos I captured of a Pearl Crescent butterfly, taken on July 17th.

Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos #1

I’m a little disappointed in myself for not spending more time sketching over the summer. For the last few months, though, I’ve barely sat down at my computer, let alone taken the time to sit and draw. This July 17th sketch is one of the few sketches I did all summer. My routine is anything but since the move. Hopefully soon, I can get back into a “work” schedule that allows me the time to spend creating.Pearl Crescent - Phyciodes tharos Sketch

A Model Butterfly

A Model Butterfly

A Model Butterfly, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

This is by far my favorite photo from my outing today at Burgess Falls. Is this an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)? I’m pretty sure it is; but there are so many butterflies and moths, many quite similar to one another. There were several of these out there today. This one was the most patient and fearless, allowing me a few photos. I’ve missed seeing life and color on my hikes these past couple of months. It’s nice to see everyone coming out of hibernation.

While hiking and climbing up and down that steep hillside of rocks, my thoughts turned to “hope.” What is it? What does hope really mean? I was happily encouraged when I saw the butterflies because to me, butterflies are the perfect symbol of hope. The Monarch butterfly, in particular, somehow manages to migrate “from Mexico to northern USA and southern Canada, a distance of about 4000 to 4800 km (2500–3000 miles).” That’s quite an accomplishment for a creature so delicate and fragile. Also, the butterflies’ metamorphosis from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and finally, to butterfly bestows hope to the curious observer that change is possible in so many ways. At least, it does for me.

More photos to come this week. I took quite a few today, but I think I’ll only post a few at a time, per day this week to try to get myself back in the habit of posting to my blog more frequently.