2018 New Mexico/Texas Insect Collecting Trip “iReport”

This is the fifth in a series of Collecting Trip “iReports”—so named because I’ve illustrated them exclusively with iPhone photographs (see previous articles for 2013 Oklahoma2013 Great Basin, 2014 Great Plains, and 2015 Texas). Note that I continue to use my “big” camera for specific insect targets—and these will be featured from time to time on this site. However, I use my iPhone camera much more during these trips for general photography to document habitats, landscapes, and miscellaneous subjects because it is so small and handy and because it is also capable of capturing reasonably good photographs (see this post for tips on making the most of the iPhone camera’s capabilities). This allows me to spend more time looking for and collecting insects—usually my primary objective on these trips! Collectively, these iPhone photos (which are usually posted real time on Facebook, along with short narratives) form a nice trip synopsis when assembled into a single post.

This report covers a collecting trip I made with Jeff Huether from June 2–9, 2018 to southeastern New Mexico and west Texas. I’ve dabbled in this area before, primarily just a quick stop at Mescalero Sand Dunes many years ago, but not specifically targeted this area for any systematic collecting. Thus, most of the locations that we visited were new to me, which automatically means that I would find at least a few things of interest—and more probably a lot (as long as the insects are active). We had great success at many localities, having found areas where sufficient rain had occurred to trigger insect emergence despite the drought that was plaguing much of the area. Highlights were the areas along Hwy 380 between San Antonio and Bingham, the Mescalero Sand Dunes, and the dunes near Kermit, Texas. I haven’t yet tallied the number of species collected, as much of the material is still waiting to be mounted and identified. However, I estimate that it is in the neighborhood of about three dozen buprestids and maybe half that many cerambycids, including some quite charismatic species that I’d not collected previously (e.g., Prionus arenarius and Tragidion armatum).

Stay tuned, because I made a second insect collecting trip during 2018, this one with Art Evans to southeast Arizona during late July and early August.


Day 1 – Sandia Mountains, New Mexico
We flew into Albuquerque this afternoon and, after getting the car, supplies, and something to eat we came up to Sandia Crest Recreation Area looking for Cicindela longilabris (long-lipped tiger beetle). This was the first place I stopped on the first day of the trip for the first species I wanted to look for, and I found it in the first five minutes I was here!

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View from near the summit of Sandia Mountain.

We stopped at the Capulin Picnic Ground on the way down the mountain. There were some oaks with fresh-looking foliage that I beat – no Buprestidae but a nice series of a treehopper (Telamonthe?) and a few odds and ends. There was also Robinia off which I beat a series of what is surely Agrilus egenus.

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Penstemon sp. ID by George Yatskievych.


Day 2 – Walking Sands Rest Area, New Mexico
Quick stop to check the lights – later in the season Jeff has collected Prionus palparis here, but this time we saw nothing. Also checked the nearby vegetation, there was Dalea in bloom but no beetles on the flowers.

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Hwy 380 between San Antonio & Bingham, New Mexico
We saw a few things in bloom at the Rio Grande bridge crossing so decided to stop. I took a fair series of what must be Acmaeodera mixta off of the Thelesperma flowers (along with a few mordellids for Enrico and one meloid for Jeff). Otherwise not much activity at the spot.

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Bone dry Rio Grande!

There were some cool looking red sand dunes on Hwy 380 east of San Antonio, so we stopped to see if there might be any tiger beetles. There weren’t any, but I found yucca stems infested with cerambycid larvae, likely Tragidion. I collected 6–8 stems to bring back and try to rear out the adults. Jeff also found a single Chrysobothris sp. on sage, otherwise we saw few beetles.

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Going east on Hwy 380 we went into an area of higher elevation with junipers. We stopped to check the Thelosperma flowers, but there were no bups on them. I collected a few noisy cicadas and some Acmaeodera quadrivittatoides on Opuntia flowers. I then started beating the junipers, however, and got a fair series of a small green Gyascutus plus two tiny Chrysobothris. They were extremely difficult to collect – winds were very stiff and the beetles were very active. I probably lost as many as I collected. To finish off I found a mating pair of Moneilema sp. on cholla.

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Acmaeodera quadrivittatoides in a flower of Opuntia sp.

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Yours truly standing next to a cholla (Opuntia imbricata).

In addition the the Tragidion larvae that I collected two stops back, Jeff saw one adult at the previous stop. So, when we saw thick stands of yucca along the roadsides just a few miles down the road we stopped to take a look. They were out and not uncommon on the flower stalks and down in the basal rosettes. I collected about a dozen of them and also another Gyascutus.

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A Tragidion female on a yucca flower stalk.

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Tragidion sp. mating pair on yucca flower stalk.

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Tarantula hawk (family Pompilidae) on yucca flower stalk. This must be a mimicry model for Tragidion.

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I believe this is a cactus dodger cicada (Cacama sp.).

At the last stop we noticed a lot of emergency vehicles rushing to the east. Just a couple of miles down the road we ran into an accident blockade. Since we were stopped I was tempted to look at the Rick shop, but then I started looking at the cholla and found several Moneilema sp. adults on the plants.

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Walking Sands Rest Area, New Mexico
We came back up to the rest stop because of the dunes – there are Prionus spp. that live in the dunes, so we put out some pheromone to see if we could attract the males which fly at dusk and early nighttime. In the meantime we walked around looking for nocturnally active beetles – found a few skin beetles (Omorgus sp.) feeding in dried dog poop and a huge tenebrionid (Eleodes sp.) strangely perched up in a bush. Also photographed a cool little sun spider (Solifugida). When we went back to check the pheromone there was one male Prionus arenarius running around under the lure!

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Skin beetle (Omorgus nodosus) feeding on dried dog poop at night. ID by Bill Warner.

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A sun spider (Solifugida) pauses briefly from its frantic search for prey.


Day 3 – Valley of Fire National Recreation Area, New Mexico
We came over the hill and saw a huge black area in the valley below. I thought it was just an area of thick woody vegetation, but it was actually a lava field! Very cool. There were tons of cicadas, I think also cactus dodgers (Cacama spp.) but look different from the one we saw yesterday. I beat a lot of Celtis and only got one Chrysobothris sp. (looks like analis), and there was nothing on the junipers. We also didn’t see any Moneilema on the abundant cholla. I did catch two Acmaeodera mixta on an unidentified white flower. I think yesterday’s rains must have missed this area!

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Malpais Lava Beds.

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A tarantula hawk (family Pompilidae) on flowers of milkweed (Asclepias sp.).

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I believe this is another species of cactus dodger cicada (Cacama sp.).

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Malpais Lava Beds.

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Lead-footed bugs (family Coreidae) on cholla cactus (Opuntia imbricata).

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Malpais Lava Beds.

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Cactus dodger cicada (Cacama sp.)?

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Male cactus dodger (Cacama sp.) on cholla cactus in mid-song.

We drove a couple miles down the road and made just a quick stop to check flowers along the roadsides. No beetles seen – seems to be super dry, but I did photograph one of the tiniest butterflies (something in the family Lycaenidae) I’ve ever seen.

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Western pygmy blue (Brephidium exilis). ID by Doug Taron.

Sierra Blanca Mountains, New Mexico
Jeff wanted to look for an Epicauta up here, but the whole drive up the mountain we could only comment on how dry it was and how extensively the area had burned. I only found two wood borers – an Anthaxia (Melanthaxia) and a lepturine cerambycid, both on iris flowers. We did find the Epicauta though, also on iris flowers.

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Atop the Sierra Blanca.Mescalero Sand Dunes.

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Perhaps Erysimum capitatum (Brassicaceae). ID suggested by Erik Emanuelsson.

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Flower longhorn (subfamily Lepturinae) on flower of iris.

Vicinity Sunset, New Mexico
There were some mallow in bloom along the roadsides, so we stopped to see if there were any Acmaeodera on them. There weren’t, just a few meloids that Jeff was interested in. I found a a single Euphoria kerni on a flower of Acacia greggii and, of course, large numbers of them on thistle flowers. The area seems to have gotten some rain, but not much activity to speak of yet.

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Euphoria kernii in their typical “buried-butt-upwards” post on a thistle flowerhead.

Mescalero Sand Dunes, New Mexico
This area got rain last night, so we suspected there would be a lot of insect activity, and we were right! The place was alive when we got here at ~6 pm. I walked the area while we waited for dusk to set out pheromone. I collected a series of Enoclerus zonatus off of yucca blooms, beat an Actenodes sp. (something new for me), a Chrysobothris octocola, and a nice series of treehoppers off of mesquite, and found 3 Batyle suturalis ssp. on an unidentified yellow comp.

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Mescalero Sands Recreation Area.

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A skin beetle (Omorgus nodosus) makes tracks in the sand.

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Enoclerus zonatus on yucca.

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Another Enoclerus zonatus individual on yucca. Note the larger spots on this one compared to the other, an example of intraspecific variation.

As the sun began to sink lower in the sky, I hiked around to the backside of the dunes and then bushwhacked across them to get the perfect perspective for photographs when the sun hit the horizon – spectacular sunset!

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Sunset on the dune.

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What a sunset!

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I’m happier than I look! 

By the time I got back to the car, Jeff had already placed three lures out, so we started making the rounds and found at least one or two Prionus arenarius males running frantically in circles under each one. At the second lure, I started searching the area nearby and found a female walking on the ground! (Females are very rarely encountered, and it seems a little more than coincidental to me that for each species of Prionus, whenever we have collected good numbers of males with lures we have also found at least one or a few females in the same area – maybe cheaters [in the ecological sense]?).

As we made the rounds we picked up an amazing diversity of tenebrionids and a few carabids walking in the sand, and we finished off by picking up Jeff’s light trap, which had attracted one more Prionus male and a very light-colored Polyphylla sp. male.

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Incredible huge blue spider on the dune at night.


Day 4—Mescalero Sand Dunes, New Mexico

We noticed a stand of soapberry (Sapindus drumondii) along the sides of the road just west of the entrance to Mescalero Sands Recreation Area last night, and I immediately thought of Agrilus sapindi, so this morning on our our way to the dunes we stopped by. I started beating the flowering branches of the larger soapberry trees but wasn’t really getting anything. Then I noticed an A. sapindi flying to a low non-flowering plant, so I caught it and resumed beating – now with more gusto knowing they were here. I still wasn’t getting anything and, again, saw another adult fly and land on a low non-flowering plant. Lesson learned – I started sweeping the low plants and started getting them. I worked all five stands in the area and got about 3 dozen adults, plus a few A. ornatulus, one A. limpiae, and spectacular Neoclytus.

After finishing with the soapberry, Jeff had noticed some tiny Acmaeodera on an unidentified white-flowered composite. We started searching in earnest and collected several dozen adults. I’m not sure what they are, but they are tiny and vittate (maybe A. quadrivittatoides). We also did a lot of sweeping of the short shrubby oak also and came up with a couple of Brachys. Overall a great morning/early afternoon in the field!

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The only thing cooler than this abandoned homestead was the squawking ravens hanging out on it!

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Soapberry (Sapindus drummondii) stands along Hwy 380 – host for Agrilus sapindi.

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Host for unidentified Acmaeodera sp.

We next went into the Recreation Area proper to each lunch, after which we explored the rest of the area accessible by vehicle and saw a stand of cottonwood back in the dunes. We got out to see if there might be any Buprestidae on them (e.g., Poecilonota), but they were devoid of insects. The midday heat on the dunes was extreme! I did find, however, a single Prionus elytron lying on the sand beneath the cottonwoods, so we know they are further back in the dunes as well.

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Mescalero Sands Recreation Area.

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Mescalero Sands Recreation Area.

We worked the variety of blooming plants in the vicinity of the entrance. I collected ~22 of the small Acmaeodera that were on the white-flowered plant at the soapberry spot on two blossoms of a single yellow-flowered pad Opuntia sp., a couple of Acmaeodera spp. on Gaillardia sp. flowers, a few more Acmaeodera spp. on Prosopis, and several Acmaeodera mixta on another as-yet-unidentified white flower. It was hotter than bejesus we later learned 103°F!) – I had wanted to check out one more stand of soapberry at the entrance, but we were exhausted and dehydrated and had to quit!

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Some kind of wasp on some kind of flower.

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There are four separate bird nests in the cholla plant – a veritable avian apartment!

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Cholla (Opuntia imbricata) blossom.

Vicinity Hobbs, New Mexico
We got a hotel in Hobbs and grabbed a sandwich for dinner, then went out west of town to see if we could find some good habitat for evening collecting. We found a spot of open rangeland about 8–9 miles west of town, set out the pheromone lures, and began beating the mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa). We had high hopes because there was still standing water, meaning that the area had gotten good rains on Sunday night. Boy were we correct! Beating the mesquite was amazing. For buprestids I got 10 individuals of an Actenodes sp., 4 individuals of a Paratyndaris sp., 4 Chrysobothris spp., 4 Acmaeodera spp., and 1 Agrilus sp. I also got several tiny cicadas, a couple treehopper species, and a few clerids and other odds and ends. We setup a blacklight and the scarabs were quite diverse, but the only thing I took was a tiger beetle (Cylindera lemniscata). I also picked up a Phyllophaga cribrosa and a tenebrionid walking on the ground at night. No Prionus came to the lures, any my searches of the ground at night turned up no Amblycheila.

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Tiny scarab beetles in the genus Diplotaxis congregate on low plants to “catch” pheromone trails in search of mates.

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Giant millipedes (genus Orthoporus) were common at night, a sure sign of recent rains. ID by Derek Hennen.

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Ted of Arabia and Jeff.


Day 5—Sand Dunes near Kermit, Texas
We stopped just outside the Kermit Sand Dunes to beat the mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) to see what might be out. I collected 8 species of Buprestidae: nice series of an Acmaeoderopsis (hoping A. prosopis), 1 sp. Actenodes, 2 spp. Chrysobothris, 1 sp. Paratyndaris, 1 sp. Agrilus, and 2 Acmaeodera spp. We eventually gave up – the heat had not only wilted us, but the Acmaeoderopsis were flying away immediately upon hitting the sheet.

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Updated field pic (the last one was taken in 1999!).

We drove a little further towards the heart of the dunes and found a spot where there were some blowouts and classic sand flora. Immediately upon starting out we noticed Acmaeodera mixta adults flying around commonly, so I swept through the vegetation a bit and collected a representative series. On Oenethera sp. flowers I found a single A. immaculata and later several A. mixta and a very small Acmaeodera (looked like the one we collected yesterday at Mescalero). In one spot I found a few plants of an unidentified yellow composite with a few more A. mixta, and on Baccharis I found one A. obtusa(?) along with A. mixta. Coming back to the car Jeff and I noticed huge numbers of A. immaculata flying to an unidentified shrub, from which we each swept a nice series. Eventually the heat (103°F) again overwhelmed us, and we had to get in the car, eat, and cool down for a bit on the way to another spot.

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The dunes are part of an extensive series of dunes stretching from West Texas through southeastern New Mexico.

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Acmaeodera mixta on flower of an unidentified yellow composite.

We returned to an area with stands of soapberry (Sapindus drummondii) that we had seen when we first arrived in the area. I swept all of the small plants on the east side of the highway and got a single Agrilus sapindi – not nearly as abundant as we had seen at Mescalero Sands.

On the west side of the highway there were some larger mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa). I found one Chrysobothris octocola on the trunk, then Jeff and I noticed Acmaeoderopsis flying to the tips of the high branches. I got my aerial net and just started betting them as they flew in while we stood and watched. I caught them from several trees, but a majority from a single tree. That worked much better than beating this morning – I probably lost as many as I collected because they flew so quickly upon hitting the sheet.

Underneath one large mesquite I found several prionid elytra – couldn’t tell if they were Prionus or Derobrachus, but then I noticed burrows in the ground very similar to those we saw for Prionus integer in Colorado (see photo). We dug a few out but found nothing. Something to keep in mind.

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The high plains of west Texas.

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Burrows like this one look suspiciously like those of Prionus integer in Colorado – did another Prionus make this one?

We returned to the dunes for some evening collecting. I beat the two large mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) trees by the parking area and got an Actenodes and a few Chrysobothris octocola – no Acmaeoderopsis, I guess they hide elsewhere for the night. Once dusk fell we began checking the pheromones and light – only a single male Prionus arenarius came to the pheromone, but we got several individuals of two Polyphylla spp. (P. monahansensis – larger, and P. pottsorum – smaller) at the light. Walking around the dunes at night there were significantly fewer tenebrionids and other insects walking around, but I did pick up two cool “concave” tenebs and a Pasimachus ground beetle.

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I’ve never seen a mourning dove make a nest in the ground before.

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I always thought these oil pumps looked like dinosaurs bobbing up and down.

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“Bobbing dinosaurs” dot the landscape.

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Bull nettle (Cnidoscolus texanus)—something tells me I should not touch this plant!

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A very small (<1.5” in length) scorpion visits the light looking for a meal.

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Face-to-face with a scorpion!


Day 6—I-10 Rest Area at mile marker 162, Texas
Just a quick stop to use the facilities, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to photograph these three Reakirts blues all on one flower (a fourth flew away before I could snap).

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Reakirts blue (Echinargus isola). ID by Doug Taron.

San Felipe Park, near Fabens, Texas
We took a chance on going further west to the dunes near Fabens, since we’ve had such good luck with rains in the area. However, when we got here and started looking around it was apparent that nothing was happening here – dry, dry, dry with temps just over 100°F. I saw a few insects but only a single buprestid – Acmaeodera quadrivittatoides, and I missed it! We decided to cut bait and head back east and north towards Carlsbad – we should be able to get to the area in time for some late afternoon and evening collecting. You can’t win ‘em all!

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This roadrunner was rather annoyed with us for intruding in his spot of shade under a Siberian elm.

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A broad-nosed weevil.

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A mating pair of walkingsticks. Note the great size difference between the male (smaller) and female (larger).

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I think I found our retirement home!

Vicinity Carlsbad, New Mexico
After getting lost in the Fabens Sand Dunes and then a whole lot of driving back east into New Mexico, we arrived in Carlsbad with just enough time to grab a sandwich and head out to some promising habitat we’d noticed on the way in for some evening/night collecting.

The area contained a ribbon of woodland with mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa), black acacia (Acacia rigida), and catclaw acacia (A. greggii). I beat only one tiny Chrysobothris sp. off the mesquite, but off the black acacia I beat three individuals (four actually, one got away) of a large, chunky Chrysobothris sp. that I do not recognize, plus an undetermined cerambycid and a few clytrines. Actually, before I collected the Chrysobothris I had given up on the lack acacia until I was walking by one plant and saw the first one sitting on a branch. I popped it in the vial and started beating the other plants in the area with renewed enthusiasm the find the other two (three!).

We setup the lights and the pheromones, but not much came to the former and nothing to the latter (expected, since there was no sand habitat nearby). The sunset beforehand, however, was magnificent, and I did find a couple of miscellaneous beetles walking around at night.

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Day 7—vicinity Loco Hills, New Mexico
We saw an area with stands of soapberry (Sapindus drummondii) alongside the road so stopped to sample it for Buprestidae. I got 3 Agrilus limpiae on trees right around the car but nothing on all the rest of the three stands nearest the car on either side of the road. I hope the south area of Mescalero Sands is not as dry as it still appears around here.

Soapberry (Sapindus drummondii).

Mescalero Sand Dunes, New Mexico
We found the central dunes of the southern area and immediately found several Acmaeodera mixta adults on mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) flowers. I started beating the mesquite and picked up a nice series of Acmaeoderopsis, one Actenodes, and a few other miscellaneous Acmaeodera off the larger trees. There was some soapberry (Sapindus drummondii) in bloom around the dunes, but beating it produced no Buprestidae.

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A lone windswept soapberry tree hangs on precariously to life in the dunes.

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Acmaeodera mixta on flowers of mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa).

We stopped at a spot outside the dunes because it looked pretty green with a number of plants in bloom suggesting recent rain. I saw but did not take Acmaeodera mixta on white flowers of undetermined composite. I did collect a small series of bright red and black clerids on a small blue-green euphorbiaceous plant. Also saw a little horned lizard, who cooperated just enough to get a few snaps!

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A young Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) tries to make himself look big!

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White-flowered composite blooming in the desert.

Vicinity Carrizozo, New Mexico
We stopped at a thick stand of yucca that we’d noted on the way past here earlier in the week, the hope being that we would find Tragidion armatum on the stems. Sadly we did not see any, nor did we see more than just a couple of the pompilid wasps that the beetles mimic. Surely this is a result of the lack of rain in the area, which the hotel clerk confirmed during our earlier check in. Cicadas, on the other hand, were everywhere!

The low sun illuminates the yuccas, while the higher clouds shade the mountains behind.

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The low sun illuminates the yuccas, while the higher clouds shade the mountains behind.

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How many cicadas do you see on this single yucca stem?

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Promising clouds tease a thirsty landscape.

For the final stop for the day we returned to Valley of Fire Recreation Area – not really to collect insects, but to look about this fascinating landscape. The Lava Beds are thought to be 5,000 years old, having formed over a 30-year period when lava poured from Black Peak to the north (not a volcano, but a volcanic vent) at a rate that would fill 15 bathtubs every second! It was a serene and otherworldly walk in the falling darkness – nice way to cap off an evening.

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Towering clouds try to squeeze out some moisture.

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Lots of virga, little rain.

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A 400-year old juniper watches another sunset.


Day 8—vicinity Bingham, New Mexico and west on Hwy 380
We stopped at another yucca stand very near where we’d found the Tragidion armatum last weekend – no problem finding them here either. I got plenty of photographs of the beetles (despite having to go ‘au natural’ with the lighting – my flash unit had died!), as well as of cicadas, wasps, and other insects on the yucca stems and pods. Otherwise I only collected two Acmaeodera (looks like A. immaculata) on flowers of Sphaeralcea sp., what looks to be A. disjuncta/paradisjuncta on Ephedra sp., and a single Moneilema sp. on Opuntia imbricata. Nice stop!

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Variety of wasps on yucca.

We then stopped by “the juniper spot” again to see if I could get a better series of the Gyascutus (G. carolinensis?) that we found on the junipers (Juniperus monosperma). Boy, did I ever! I collected about 30 specimens this time, made easier by the fact that it was cooler and not nearly as windy! I also again collected two small Chrysobothris sp. on the juniper, a single Moneilema sp. on cholla (Opuntia imbricata), and a single Acmaeoderopsis sp. beating mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa).

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One of the more exciting finds of the trip – a jewel beetle in the genus Gyascutus on Juniperus monosperma (I believe this is G. carolinensis).

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The greenish waxy bloom that covers the body must help the beetle blend into the foliage on which they perch.

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A cactus beetle in the genus Moneilema on its host, cholla (Opuntia imbricata).

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A multi-tool comes in very handy for collecting cactus beetles!

We stopped at another spot further west on Hwy 380, where last weekend when we were here we saw few beetles but I did collect yucca stems infested with Tragidion armatum larvae. It rained here later that day, so we stopped by again on our way back to see if the rains had prompted more insect activity. It didn’t seem to, but I did find a Tragidion armatum adult feeding on a yucca flower and photographed a big-as-heck katydid.

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Tragidion armatum adult female feeding on a yucca flower.

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Big katydid. You can tell this is a brachypterous adult because the anterior wings are on top and their costal margins oriented outside (in nymphs the posterior wings are on top and their costal margins oriented inside).

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Perfect camouflage!

“The Box”, vicinity Socorro, New Mexico
Last stop of the trip – we just wanted to find some habitat to beat around in before finding a hotel in Socorro for the night. I beat a couple of small Chrysobothris sp. from the Juniperus monosperma – no Gyascutus – and a couple of treehoppers from Prosopis glandulosa – no Acmaeoderopsis, then turned my attention to the cholla (Opuntia imbricata), in what must have been the thickest stand of this plant I’ve ever seen. There were two species of cactus beetles on them – Moneilema sp. and Coenopoeus palmeri, the latter a first for the trip. After hiking up to the canyon overlook, I realized that the collecting and fun were finally over (until Arizona in August!).

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Cactus beetle (Moneilema sp,) on a cholla (Opuntia imbricata) skeleton.

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The “other” cactus beetle (Coenopoeus palmeri).

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How many cactus beetles can you count?

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Last selfie of the trip. That wry smile is the satisfaction of knowing that the trip was success, I collected lots of great beetles, and I learned a ton!

© Ted C. MacRae 2019

When is an ant not an ant? When it’s a jumping spider, of course!

Peckhamia sp.

This past weekend my good friend and long-time collecting partner Rich and I visited one of our favorite insect collecting spots in all of Missouri – Victoria Glades Conservation Area. Together with an adjacent parcel owned by The Nature Conservancy, these represent one of the finest remaining examples of the glades – more properly called xeric limestone prairies – that once extended in an arc through Jefferson Co. south of St. Louis on south and west facing exposures of dolomitic limestone1.

For a more detailed description of the geology and natural history of these glades, see my post The Glades of Jefferson County.

Spring was late this season, with cool and wet conditions persisting into the early part of May. During the past two weeks, however, it has warmed and dried considerably (too much, almost), and thus the cacophony of life has begun in earnest. Still, despite the heat, we found the abundance of insects rather sparing, which in combination with the suite of wildflowers that were seen in bloom gave a feel of early spring (I mentioned to Rich that it “seemed like May 10th”). There were a few good species to be found though, the first being a single Agrilus fuscipennis, beaten off of its host persimmon (Diospyros virginiana). Continued beating of persimmon turned up little else, at which point I turned my attention to the post oak (Quercus stellata) trees lining the margins of the glades. The first couple of branches that I whacked turned up little of interest, but an “ant” that fell on my sheet from the third branch gave me pause – it was a little “too big”, and the manner it which it scampered across the sheet was a little “too urgent” and “too halting”. When I looked at it more closely, I realized that it was, of course, not an ant at all, but a jumping spider (family Salticidae), and more specifically a species in one of several genera within the family that are known for their striking mimicry of ants.

I have long wanted to photograph one of these gems, having seen them once or twice before but thus far not successful in photographing them. In this particular case, I had the advantage of somebody to help me, so I coaxed the spider onto a stick and had Rich hold it while I got my camera ready. Unfortunately, the ant… er, spider just kept running up and down the stick from one end to the other, forcing me to repeatedly grab the stick on alternating ends with one hand after the other (and quickly or it would run onto my hands!) and never really having an opportunity to attempt some shots. After a time of this, I decided to coax it onto a leaf instead to see if the larger, flatter surface might be of some help. It really didn’t, though, as the ant JUST. WOULD. NOT. STOP. RUNNING! Eventually, I resorted to simply trying to track the spider through the lens – holding the camera with my right hand and the leaf with my left, and firing shots whenever I thought the spider might be even close to in focus. I can be patient when photographing insects (and their kin), but this spider certainly tested my limits, and I eventually ended the session not at all confident that I had any usable photos. To my surprise, I managed to get one image (above) that wasn’t half bad and another that was at least serviceable (below – focus a bit too much in “front”).

Peckhamia sp.

As far as I can tell, this individual is a species of the genus Peckhamia, which Cutler (1988) distinguishes from the related genus Synageles by the carapace being more convex in the cephalic area and sharply declivous (downward sloping) behind the third row of eyes. The individual in these photos seems to agree with these characters, if I am interpreting them correctly. He also mentions the habit of species in these two genera to hold their second pair of legs aloft to give the illusion of them being antennae, which we noted for this individual and can attest to its effectiveness!

For more about ant mimics that I have found in Missouri, see my previous posts Flower ants? Check again! and North America’s itsiest bitsiest longhorned beetle.

REFERENCE:

Cutler, B. 1988. A revision of the American species of the antlike jumping spider genus Synageles (Araneae, Salticidae). Journal of Arachnology 15(3) [1987]:321–348 [pdf].

© Ted C. MacRae 2018

An arboreal fishing spider

Last week was my birthday, and as is my usual custom I took the day off in favor of the season’s first “official” bug collecting trip. Falling in late April as it does, my birthday usually coincides nicely with insect activity beginning in earnest here in Missouri, and for this year’s edition I decided to look for Cicindela scutellaris lecontei (Leconte’s Tiger Beetle) on sand prairies in the extreme northeastern corner of the state. Sadly, this year’s unusually protracted spring had resulted in a mostly still-sleeping landscape, and whatever hopes I had of seeing the earliest emerging adults were dashed as thick, gray clouds hung stubbornly in the sky and temperatures refused to edge much above 60°F. Still, a bad day of collecting is better than a good day of just about anything else, and in such situations there are still wintertime collecting methods—peeling bark, cutting wood, breaking stems, etc.—at my disposal.

The "W"-shaped markings on the abdomen with interrupted white borders distinguish this species from the otherwise similar D. scriptus (xxx fishing spider).

Dolomedes tenebrosus (dark fishing spider) | Frost Island Conservation Area, Clark Co., Missouri.

While exploring a sand prairie at Frost Island Conservation Area (Clark Co.), I found a large, dead willow in one of the draws that had apparently been killed by recent prescribed burning activities, and when I peeled back a section of the trunk bark I found this medium-sized spider (leg spread ~40 mm) sitting underneath. Based on general appearance I first thought it was some type of wolf spider, although it struck me odd that it would be under the bark of a tree rather than on the ground where wolf spiders are normally encountered. However, after consulting BugGuide and not finding it among the wolfies, I decided to widen the net and quickly stumbled onto the fishing spiders (genus Dolomedes, family Pisauridae). I’ve seen fishing spiders before—normally they are found at water’s edge and periodically demonstrate a remarkable ability to dash across the surface of the water to grab an errant insect, using the same surface tension for support that had trapped its hapless prey. As odd as it would have been to find a wolf spider high up in a tree, it seemed even more unlikely that I would find a fishing spider in such a dry, arboreal habitat. Things became clearer, however, after I settled on the species D. tenebrosus (dark fishing spider)—distinguished from other fishing spiders by the interrupted white borders behind the “W”-shaped markings on the abdomen (see BugGuide). According to Jacobs (2002) this species is frequently found far away from water, usually in wooded settings, and hibernates as an immature adult (penultimate instar) under—you guessed it—loose bark (also stones). Barnes (2003) also provides a good discussion of this spider along with diagnostic photos and references for further reading.

Dolomedes tenebrosus (dark fishing spider) | Clark Co., Missouri

The “W”-shaped markings on the abdomen with interrupted white borders distinguish this species.

Based on this information, I’m guessing this individual is a still hibernating subadult, presumably a female based on the small pedipalps (the little “legs” next to the mouth). The spider moved slowly across the exposed wood as I took these photographs, wandering onto sections of different color as she did. I like the two photos for different reasons—the first (light background) seems to better show the shape and silhouette of the spider, while the second (dark background) highlights the spider’s beautifully intricate markings.

REFERENCES:

Barnes, J. K. 2003. Dark fishing spider. University of Arkansas Arthropod Museum Notes 15 [full text].

Jacobs, S. 2002. Fishing spider, Dolomedes tenebrosus. PennState College of Agricultural Sciences Insect Fact Sheet [full text].

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2014

Mother and daughter (perhaps)

Phrynus marginenotata (Florida tailless whip scorpion)

Back in May I visited the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Plant Pest Diagnostics Laboratory in Sacramento. While I was there to visit my friend and colleague Chuck Bellamy and see him receive Honorary Membership in The Coleopterists Society, I was also anxious for the opportunity to spend time with the lab’s other entomologists—most of whom I interact with as members of the Editorial Board of The Pan-Pacific Entomologist. Among the more ‘colorful’ of these is Martin Hauser, a dipterist (although I don’t hold that against him!) who also has a passion for maintaining live, captive arthropods. For me, there is nothing finer than visiting the lab/office of a taxonomic entomologist—one wall lined with steel cabinets full of insect specimens, another wall crammed-full of books and literature (the older the better), a workbench with microscope at the center of a jumble of specimen containers and open reprints, and shipping boxes piled everywhere. I take that back—there is nothing finer than visiting the lab/office of a taxonomic entomologist that also keeps livestock! Martin’s collection of live arthropods, however, goes well beyond the requisite 10-gallon aquarium with Madagascan hissing cockroaches. I already featured one of his more unusual tenants, Damon diadema (Tanzanian giant tailless whip scorpion), and here I feature its North American relative, Phrynus marginenotata (Florida tailless whip scorpion).

The genus is characterized by five spines on the pedipalp tibia—the 3rd shorter than the 2nd and 4th.

According to Weygoldt (2000), this is the northernmost and only U.S. representative of a mostly northern Neotropical genus of eleven species, recognized by the pedipalp tibia (the thickened segment of their “claws”) with five spines—the middle one shorter than the 2nd and 4th (refer to Photo 2). This species occurs in southern Florida and some Antillean islands, where it lives under coral stones and rocks close to the beach—a habitat that presumably subjects them to periodic flooding. While most tailless whip scorpions prefer humid/moist environments, they nevertheless studiously avoid standing water itself. This species, however, has been observed to voluntarily enter the water when placed on a stone surrounded by water and remain submerged for as many as eight hours. Remarkably, submerged individuals remain active and do not drown, apparently the result of a “plastron”—an area of the cuticle surrounding the lung openings that is packed with stiff, branched structures and, thus, capable of holding a volume of air against the body while the animal is submerged. The plastron seems to function much like a gill—oxygen continuously diffuses into the plastron from the surrounding water as it is used for respiration.

The bright orange pedipalps of 2nd-instar nymphs contrast with the somber coloration of the adults.

Like the D. diadema individuals that I also photographed, these P. marginenotata individuals had also produced viable eggs which had hatched a few weeks before my visit. Two nymphs can be seen with the adult in the top photo (although I can’t say for sure whether the adult is actually the mother), and Photos 3 and 4 show one of these nymphs up close and personal. I would have liked to have seen these nymphs when they first hatched, as the 1st-instars are a soft sea-green color and remain clustered on their mother’s abdomen until they are able to start fending for themselves (for a beautiful photo showing this, see Piotr Naskrecki’s The scariest animal that will never hurt you). The 2nd-instars that I photographed had already left their mother, and while they had lost their sea-green coloration, their pale yellow/gray bodies and bright orange pedipalps were no less striking compared to the more somber coloration of the full-sized adults.

…and, of course, the signature BitB face shot!

REFERENCE:

Weygoldt, P. 2000. Whip Spiders (Chelicerata: Amblypygi): Their Biology, Morphology and Systematics. Apollo Books, Stenstrup, Denmark, 163 pp.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

Araneus marmoreus encore

Araneus marmoreus adult female—ventral view showing epigyne.

Here is the full-sized photo from which the crop shown in Super Crop Challenge #14 was taken. The small finger-like structure in the upper right of the photo—the object of the challenge—is the epigyne (or epigynum) of Araneus marmoreus (marbled orb weaver spider). Spiders have a rather unusual mating strategy—rather than possessing genitalia that couple for insemination, male spiders first form a packet of sperm (spermatophore) and transfer the packet to an enlarged segment (tarsus) at the end of their pedipalps. During mating, the male inserts the tarsus into the female genital opening, thereby effecting sperm transfer. The female genital opening and associated structures, located on the underside near the front of the abdomen, are called the epigyne and function to direct the male pedipalps during sperm transfer. The shape of the epigyne varies greatly and uniquely among species—probably serving as an isolating mechanism that prevents interspecific mating and also providing a good diagnostic character for species recognition among even very closely related species (similarly to the hardened male genitalia of many insect groups). An even closer view of the epigyne of A. marmoreus can be seen in this BugGuide photo.

Araneus marmoreus (marbled orb weaver) | Washington Co., Missouri

This is actually the second time I’ve featured A. marmoreus in a quiz—the intricate pattern of the dorsal abdomen being the subject of Super Crop Challenge #2. Folks had an easier time identifying the critter in that challenge than this one, which I guess is not surprising since people tend to know animals more by their color patterns than the structures of their genitalic openings. As in that first challenge, I encountered this adult female during a hike along the Ozark Trail, this time in Washington County in east-central Missouri. Unlike before, however, I found this spider crawling on a fallen log in the dark forest floor rather than resting in her web. The colors of this species are diverse and spectacular—a recipe that makes them almost irresistible to insect macrophotographers. That this is true is demonstrated by the 360! photos of this species posted to BugGuide.

Hot orange and yellows glow against the dark, moist wood of a fallen tree trunk.

While my previous photos of this species were colorful, these simply glow due to the more orange coloration of this individual and its contrast with the darkened color of the moist wood. It’s a November color scheme if there ever was one—appropriate since I took them exactly one year ago today on November 23, 2011. She was a lot more cooperative than the first subject, and because of this and the stable substrate on which she was sitting I was able to get my favorite shot of all—the face portrait! Not quite as endearing as a jumping spider face (with its large, anthropomorphic median eyes), but striking nevertheless.

The obligatory BitB face shot!

A word about the challenges—I’m not sure if the lack of response to this one is an indication of difficulty or further evidence of declining relevance of blogs as an interactive social medium. I can’t help but notice that blog commenting in general has dropped with the rise of more functionally interactive media such as Twitter and Google+. What do you think—was this challenge too hard, or has the concept of challenge posts lost its appeal?

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

A non-black background is better… often!

In my previous post, A black background is better… sometimes, I came to the defense of the oft-maligned pitch black background. Some macrophotographers studiously avoid black backgrounds (BBs), claiming that they look ‘unnatural’. However, as I discussed in my previous post, there are situations—primarily with light-colored or translucent subjects or those that are seen only at night—where BB can be aesthetically pleasing or more consistent with the subject’s natural history (or both, as in the case of the subject of my last post). On  the other hand I do agree that BBs are overused, showing up in many photos where a non-black background would have been a better choice. The reason for this is simple—BBs are easy! All one must do is ensure that the area behind the subject is clear of light-reflecting objects. While this is certainly preferable over cluttered backgrounds with random leaves, branches, grass stems, etc. that distract from the subject, a BB may nevertheless not be the most aesthetically pleasing  choice for the photo (I am guilty of this myself). Non-black backgrounds, on the other hand, require more forethought, not only about what color to use and how to achieve it, but also regarding camera and flash settings which can be a bit trickier due to the fact that both background and subject must be properly exposed.

Argiope argentata (silvery argiope) | Santa Fe Province, Argentina

Choice of background to a large degree reflects the style of the photographer. Some may choose a particular color based purely on aesthetics, but as an in situ macrophotographer I prefer backgrounds that are consistent with the natural history of the subject—diffuse green for subjects typically seen on foliage, gray or brown for those typically found crawling on trunks and branches, and sky blue for those found out in the open (e.g., perched atop flowers). Each of these backgrounds requires different technique, and this large orb weaver, Argiope argentata (silvery argiope), which I encountered in a corn field near Villa Cañas (Santa Fe Province, Argentina) back in April, is an example of the latter. In contrast to the strictly nocturnal orb weaver (Eriophora ravilla) in my previous post, this species and its congeners are commonly seen suspended on their webs in broad daylight. BB worked well with E. ravilla, but it would not be a good choice for A. argentata due to the large amount of dark coloring on the subject. More importantly, it contradicts this spider’s diurnal nature. I could have used natural light, but the sun was shining on the other side of the spider. However, this actually made it easier to achieve the blue sky background while illuminating the subject with flash. The large size of the spider (the body alone measured ~35 mm in length) put a lot of distance between the subject and the lens, which allowed the use of a larger aperture (f/10) with still acceptable depth-of-field. With a bright sky and the sun nearly behind the spider, I was able to keep a low sensitivity setting (ISO 100) to prevent graininess and a fast shutter speed (1/250 sec) to prevent motion blur. The slightly larger aperture was all that was needed to achieve a natural blue sky color in the background. More difficult was actually clearing the background between the spider and the sky, as the web was slung low amongst the tall corn plants. The series of photos below (click to enlarge) shows the results of my earlier attempts to photograph the spider; at first not thinking about the distracting corn plants, and then trying to avoid them by angling myself lower relative to the spider, which ultimately resulted in a bad angle on the spider:

I finally decided to just break over the offending corn plants (above the ears!) to clear the background and give me the angle that I preferred. After that I was able to snap away to my heart’s content. Here is a closer view of the spider:

Lastly, I show the following series of photos to demonstrate the dramatic effect that aperture can have on a blue sky background. If you have a bright sky and don’t need a lot of DOF (e.g., you have a large subject-to-lens distance or a small subject lying within a narrow plane), adjusting the aperture up or down is a great way to achieve the precise color of blue desired. Larger apertures (lower f values) will result in a paler blue color, while smaller apertures (higher f values) create a deeper blue. In the photos below (click to enlarge), flash and camera settings are the same as those mentioned above except aperture: f/10 (left), f/13 (center) and f/16 (right).

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

A black background is better… sometimes

Eriophora ravilla (a tropical orb weaver) | Pinellas Co., Florida

If there is one subject that causes more disagreement among macrophotographers, it is the pitch black background. Granted, black backgrounds are common—almost ubiquitous in macrophotography, since they are easily created by using full flash illumination and ensuring that nothing lies behind the subject close enough to reflect the light from the flash. Detractors, however, claim that it gives subjects an ‘unnatural’ look, as they are rarely seen this way in nature. This may be true, but I still believe that for some subjects the black background simply cannot be beat for its aesthetics, even if the subject is not normally seen in this manner. Take, for example, the Great Plains ladies’-tresses orchid—nothing but a pitch black background could better showcase the delicate, white blossom and its almost crystalline lower lip!

That said, however, there are some subjects for which a pitch black background actually can be considered a ‘normal’ background. This tropical orb weaver spider (Eriophora ravilla) is one example. Unlike many other members of the family Araneidae (orb weavers), species in this genus are strictly nocturnal and not seen hanging on a web during daylight hours. Hiding in a curled leaf during the day, they emerge at night and build a large web (up to 1 meter wide), only to consume it by morning and return to their hiding place until the next evening. My nephew Jack and daughter Madison and I first saw this spider during our nighttime foray into the intertidal mangrove marsh behind my sister-in-law’s condominium in Seminole, Florida last month while discovering rare, endemic beetles and their larvae. Knowing that it would likely build its web in the same place on subsequent evenings, I went out a few nights later with my camera and took a few shots.

Some claim that black backgrounds are undesirable for even nocturnal subjects; that there is nothing ‘natural’ about an artificial, narrow beam of light illuminating a single subject at night since no animal other than a person with a flashlight would see something like this. This contention seems a little strained, as one could take such a stance on illumination of any kind. Technically speaking even colors don’t actually exist, so the rendering of subject images on camera film/sensor, whether by natural or artificial illumination,  is itself biased towards human sensibilities. Regardless, the sight of an eerily glowing spider hanging in the blackness strikes a familiar chord with anyone who has wandered the bush by night. A black background not only recreates that human experience, but also emphasizes the subject’s (in this case strictly) nocturnal nature with stark elegance.

At first I took this spider to represent the very common barn spider, Neosona crucifera—widespread across North America. However, after noting the dark femora and yellow “shoulders” of the abdomen I began to rethink that ID. Fortunately, I took one photo of the ventral side (not shown) that shows well the color pattern diagnostic for the circum-Caribbean species E. ravilla.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae

Damon diadema—Tanzanian giant tailless whip scorpion

Damon diadema, Tanzanian giant tailless whip scorpion (adult female)

I’ve reared more than my share of arthropods over the years—from easy ones like Madagascan hissing cockroaches to hard ones like certain tiger beetles (in fact, I’m the only person to have ever seen the larva of Cylindera celeripes, much less reared them from egg to adult) to the innumerable tarantulas, scorpions, millipedes, hickory horned devils, darkling beetles, etc. that fall somewhere in between. And that’s just as a hobby entomologist—nevermind that it has often been my job over the years to rear dozens of species of insects and other “critters” as part of my professional duties. One group of arthropods, however, that I have not yet tried to rear are tailless whip scorpions or whip spiders. Members of the arachnid order Amblypygi, they are not scorpions, not whip scorpions, not even spiders, but rather something else. Like other arachnids they have eight legs and the combined head and thorax (cephalothorax); however, more than any other arachnid, tailless whip scorpions have stumbled upon a most insect-like body plan—the first pair of true legs are modified to long, thin, sensory appendages that mimic in form and function insect antennae, leaving—again, like insects—only three pairs of walking legs, and as predators they have the anteriormost pair of appendages (pedipalps) modified into grasping,  jaw-like structures analogous to the toothy mandibles of predaceous insects.

Adult males have the pedipalps extending past the ”knee” of the first pair of walking legs…

Of course, any resemblance to insects ends right there—tailless whip scorpions look like they belong not only to another class, but another world! Flattened, scuttling sideways at blinding speeds, and with legs all asplay at odd angles, they are as frightful and menacing in appearance as the hairiest, jaws-dripping-with-venom spider imaginable. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Lacking the sting of a scorpion, the venom of a spider, the powerful bite of other “jawed” creatures, or even defensive chemicals of any kind, tailless whip scorpions have only their speed and ability to hide in the slimmest of crevices to prevent them from becoming easy meals for the vertebrate predators with which they share their world.

…while in females the pedipalps are distinctly shorter.

The male and female Damon diadema, or Tanzanian giant tailless whip scorpion, featured in these photos belong to Martin Hauser, a dipterist with the California Department of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento who I had the pleasure to spend some time with last month. Like me, Martin is a fan of invertebrates as pets, but unlike me he has strayed into unusual taxa that I haven’t yet tried—these tailless whip scorpions being perhaps the most impressive of these odd groups. Hailing from east Africa (eastern Tanzania and Kenya north to Ethiopia and Somalia), this species has gained some popularity in recent years among hobbyists due to their adaptability to culture, relatively docile nature, and—of course—their terrifyingly impressive size (body length up to 30 mm according to Prendini et al. 2005, although some hobbyist forums state as much as 2 inches, and with “whip” spans many times that). In this species males and females are immediately distinguishable by the relative length of the pedipalps—highly elongate in males and with the “elbow” extending past the “knee” of the first pair of walking legs, while shorter in females and not reaching the knee. Damon diadema is the largest of the East African Damon variegatus species-group, and while there are other amblypygids in the world that are larger (e.g., Acanthophrynus from Central and South America, with up to 10″ leg-span and nearly 20″ whip-span), none are so tolerant of captive rearing as this species. There seems to be some confusion about identification of Damon spp. among hobbyists, and even Martin wasn’t sure which species his represented; however, according to Prendini et al. (2005) all of the species are easily distinguished morphologically. Damon diadema is one of only two species in the genus with two spines rather than one on the ventral surface of the pedipalp trochanter, the other being D. brachialis from southern African and unknown in captivity. In the closeup face shot of the adult male below, two spines can be seen on the right pedipalp trochanter, just visible between two of the pedipalp apical spines.

Pedipalps modified as raptorial ”claws” make these arachnids formidable predators.

I visited Martin at a good time, for not only did he have these marvelous monsters available for me to photograph, but one of the females had just recently produced a brood of young. All of them had reached 2nd instar by the time of my visit, with one or two already at 3rd instar. It was interesting to note the tendency of the juveniles to aggregate under the adult female, as if they needed/wanted her for protection. While seemingly obvious, this is actually quite interesting because most amblypygids are considered to be solitary and intolerant of conspecifics (Walsh & Rayor 2008). Damon diadema, however, is known to live in prolonged subsocial groups, apparently aided by kin discrimination abilities. I find this fascinating, considering the extraordinarily limited neural capacity of these creatures—there are only so many brain cells available for conducting the business of life without diverting any of them to the ability to recognize unrelated conspecifics, much less their own kin. It is the reason so many spiders and other predaceous invertebrates tend to live solitary lives and have evolved elaborate courtship dances to convince a potential partner that they are, in fact, a mate and not a meal.

Two ventral spines on the pedipalp trochanter distinguish Damon diadema in east Africa.

I was so impressed by these creatures that after returning home from California I set about finding a source from which I could purchase one of them—or better yet a male/female pair. Sadly, I could not find any sources—my dream of seeing these fantastically fearsome-looking fellows in an aquarium in my office would have to wait. I happened to mention this in passing during correspondence with Martin about other matters, and although it was not intended as a suggestion (or even anticipated that it could be interpreted as such), Martin immediately offered to send me a couple of his juveniles. How could I refuse?! We corresponded a little more about preparations for and timing of the shipment, and on Friday last week the package arrived. Neither of us were completely sure how well the little guys would handle a 3-day transcontinental journey, so it was with a blend of anticipation and trepidation that I opened the package. Imagine my surprise when I found them not only alive and well, but all six of them were alive and well! Well, for now they are all going under the name “Baby Damon,” but I suppose as they grow and (hopefully) develop some distinctiveness I can start giving each of them their own, unique name. It may take awhile—individuals of this species don’t mature sexually until around 12-15 months. Martin was also kind enough to include some small, temporary containers that will provide better confines until they are large enough to move into the large terrarium that I readied for them, and just as Dave has been  doing with his tarantulas, it will be fun to monitor the progress of each individual through their molts. This will continue to provide entertainment even after they reach adulthood, as amblypygids continue to molt and increase in size all of their life. Their lives could also be long ones—I’ve read of people maintaining this species for 10 years or more as adults, so it looks like I am in this for the long haul. A formidable challenge it might seem, but in addition to the invertebrates I mentioned above, I’ve also spent the past several decades being responsible for cats, dogs, rats, salamanders, and—most recently—two hominine juveniles (and females at that). Now that’s a challenge!

This 2nd instar youngster can already handle crickets its own size.

REFERENCES:

Prendini, L., P. Weygoldt & W. C. Wheeler. 2005. Systematics of the Damon variegatus group of African whip spiders (Chelicerata: Amblypygi): Evidence from behaviour, morphology and DNA. Organisms, Diversity & Evolution 5:203–236.

Walsh, R. E. & L. S. Rayor. 2008. Kin discrimination in the amblypygid, Damon diademaThe Journal of Arachnology 36:336–343.

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012