Salticidae

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Not sure specifically what kind of jumping spider this is — the list of possibilities is long. I’m in Southern Ontario at the moment, Platycryptus undatus are supposed to be common around here. I like jumping spiders. They’re quite charismatic as spiders go, always waving their silly little pedipalps around. How do you feel about spiders?

Graphocephala coccinea

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Known as the red-striped leafhopper or the candy-striped leafhopper, these colourful creatures are common garden pests. They are also kind of adorable. I noticed a handful of them in the garden outside the place I’m renting in Salt Lake City, and having never seen them before, snapped some photos for later identification. Turns out that they’re responsible for spreading Pierce’s …

Parasitic Fungus in Bullet Ants

Bullet Ant with Cordyceps Fungus -- Public Domain image by James Marchment via Insects Unlocked

This specimen, collected by J.C. Abbott in the Refugio Bartola of Nicaragua, shows a bullet ant (Paraponera clavata) in the later stages of Ophiocordyceps infection. Members of this genus of parasitic fungi, thought until 2007 to be part of the genus Cordyceps, are frequently referred to as the “zombie fungus” for their unique and gruesome life cycles.

Gladiators

Spider and ant silhouette

My apartment is home to several Pantropical jumping spiders (Plexippus paykulli). I think these guys are adorable, but the new tenant might disagree, so I’m ushering them outside before I move out. After catching this one in a glass, I went to get my camera, and found an ant (Solenopsis invicta?) crawling around in my camera bag, so I threw …

Ants in Action

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I came across these ants just outside my apartment, so I ran off and grabbed my camera bag. These shots are coming from a Nikon D3200, three of them with a 55mm kit lens + a cheap macro screw-on attachment, and the fourth with a 200mm telephoto and the same cheap macro. The telephoto shots came out quite cloudy — …

Unidentified Moth

Big Brown Moth

Speaking of moths at today’s meeting, here’s a photo I took of the largest moth I’ve ever seen (although I haven’t seen nearly as many moths as most of you, I’m sure). Its abdomen was as thick as my thumb. It was relaxing on the bark of a tree beside my apartment’s swimming pool, where it did a fabulous job …