e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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Beauty and the Weird

Yesterday in the field I photographed a Green Lacewing (late in the season, I thought, but no--there were plenty--but in broad daylight?) and a Harvestman (Daddy Longlegs). 


Lacewings are in the Order Neuroptera; they're tiny, ethereal-looking insects.  This one was a lovely green, with an opalescent shimmer to the wings, and blood-red-bronze metallic eyes, a vivid enough dark red to be seen in real life without magnification, though it was so tiny.  The color combination was striking.   In the closeup of the head, you can see a dark red stripe as well.  Other Neuroptera include Owlflies, Dobsonflies, and Antlions.  All very strange looking.

Next (quite a while later, actually, with some birds in between) was the Harvestman.   Though eight-legged, these guys aren't spiders--the body is all in one, rather than divided into cephalothorax and abdomen.  Again, it was unusual to see one out on a bright sunny day, though it was on the edge of the woods.


On the left, this gracile, shy scavenger has been spooked into the light by my attempt to photograph it--those long thin legs tickle if one walks on you.  On the right, one of the two eyes is visible at about 11 o'clock on the body close-up.  INotice that the legs aren't obviously hairy or spiny, as most spider legs are.   Harvestmen use their second pair of legs as feelers more than locomotion; in the first image, you can see tha the animal is facing to the upper-left, the first pair of legs are on the ground in front, and the second pair are out to the side--feeling around.  I had a Harvestman for a biology project once, and discovered that if the habitat is set on the bass speaker of a stereo, and the right music is on (that Harvestman did this only to certain classical pieces--it was apparently quite fond of Beethoven's 5th Symphony),  it would "conduct" with its second pair of legs, holding them up and waving them in time with the music. 

Tags: invertebrate, photography, willdlife

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