Category Archives: Arthropods

Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.

The current Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Close ups and Macros.’ See more responses here. Here’s a selection of some little creatures up close and personal.

Bugs

A Bee on a Maiapilo flower

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Summer Bugs.’ (See more responses here.) To the best of my knowledge, Hawaii’s bugs are pretty much the same year-round. Here are some of them.

The top photo shows a bee showing impressive balance on a maiapilo flower.

Next up, clockwise from top left: Getting down to eye level with a juvenile praying mantis. A painted lady butterfly on a kiawe tree. A katydid wondering what it’s done to deserve this much attention. A seven-spotted lady beetle being watched.

The final gallery: Top left: A mango flower beetle explores a spider lily. Top right: A watchful cane spider wondering if it should run, very fast, away. Bottom left: A Hawaiian carpenter ant (Camponotus variegatus), one of too many that have taken up residence in the house. Bottom right: A rusty millipede deciding that it’s all too much!

Pallid ghost crab

A Pallid ghost crab on a beach in Hawaii
A Pallid ghost crab on a beach in Hawaii

I saw this crab on the beach south of Kohanaiki Park. Pallid ghost crabs are small, with a carapace only an inch or so wide. They’re also speed demons, zipping across the sand, usually to disappear into their holes. That’s how I saw this one, on the move. But instead of diving for cover, it remained above ground.

I took some photos from distance before edging closer to try and capture more detail. The crab didn’t move. My biggest challenge was finding it in the camera’s viewfinder. Even though I knew where it was, half the time I wasn’t sure whether I had it in shot or not, they blend in so well.

The top photo shows the best of the close-ups. The second one gives an idea of the crab’s perfect coloration for its environment.

Abstracts: Dragonflies mating

A pair of Black Saddlebags Dragonflies mating as reflected in a pool

The pool at the south end of Kiholo State Park Reserve is a hotspot for birds and insects. When I go there, I’m lured in to taking photos of dragonflies. I ran one at the bottom of this post. This is another from that visit, showing a pair of black saddlebags dragonflies mating. I failed to get the actual dragonflies in any of my photos, but did get this reflection of them in the pool.

A rainy day in North Kohala

A rainy day at Upolu Airport, Hawaii
A crab spider web in the rain

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Rainy Day.’ See more responses here.

I had just finished my walk around Upolu Airport when the weather closed in. Usually, clouds and rain are blown in by the northeast trade winds, but on this day a system was moving in from the west. I’d been watching its progress as I walked, but still got caught out as it moved faster than I expected. Still, I did make it back to the car, waiting for me in the wet parking lot, before the next deluge arrived (top photo).

The crab spiders didn’t seem to mind the weather, and the raindrops made a picture of their webs (middle photo). It also made them easier to see so that I could avoid my usual trick of blundering into them and having webs wrapped around my head.

On the drive home, after my walk, I carved an avenue of spray as I motored along the puddled road (bottom photo).

A rainy day in North Kohala, Hawaii

A walk around Kiholo Bay

Kiholo Bay sits midway between Kailua Kona and Kawaihae on the west side of the Big Island. There are two main access points to the bay. One is via a gravel road south of the Kiholo Scenic Overlook on the main highway. This road takes you down to Kiholo State Park Reserve where there’s a campground and access to the beaches. I usually go that way, but on my last visit I wanted to try the hike from the main road.

There’s an unmarked parking area north of the scenic overlook. From there it’s about a mile to the coast, along a dirt and gravel road. This passes through scrubby trees where it’s likely goats will be encountered. They’re abundant in this area. The private property alongside the road is well marked, as is the public trail through to the beach. This trail comes out near a funky building decorated with things the tide washed in.

I headed to the right, along the beach towards Wainanali’i lagoon. There are a couple of houses along here, a palm-circled pool, and usually a canoe or two under the trees. Beyond the houses, a small bridge traverses a channel which connects the ocean to Wainanali’i fish pond. This is believed to have been built by King Kamehameha I, as part of an extensive fish collection and farming operation in the bay.

A bit farther along, a blue Kiholo Bay Fisheries Management Area sign marks where the trail forks. To the right, inland, it follows the old King’s Trail to Keawaiki. To the left, it hugs the shoreline heading north alongside Wainanali’i lagoon (top photo). The trail is loosely marked with white coral and/or cairns, but it’s not vital to follow them. I stick to the shoreline.

The lagoon is the remnant of a much larger fishpond, which was around 2 miles across and protected by a 20-foot wide lava rock wall. Much of it was destroyed by a lava flow from Mauna Loa’s 1859 eruption. Today, the lagoon is a prime area for seeing green turtles. They haul out on a rocky island marking the mouth of the lagoon and on the spit that separates it from the ocean. This is where they rest so it’s important not to get too close and disturb them. I also usually see turtles in the water. They putter along the edge in blue-green water, which can give them a wavy appearance. Small fish are abundant here and are often seen.

Once at the head of the lagoon I watched humpback whales splashing and slapping offshore. It’s possible to walk down the spit (not disturbing the turtles), and if it’s calm you can wade or swim across the lagoon entrance back to the trail. Following the coast northwards will take you to Keawaiki, but I retraced my steps until I got back to where I first reached the coast. Then I carried on along the beach.

The waves were rolling in, good news for surfers. The beach here is sandy and vegetation borders it. If the tide’s in a bit of paddling is required. On the other side of this, some private houses border the beach including the Bali House and a sprawling, yellow structure.

Farther along, behind the beach, is Keanalele waterhole, also known as Queen’s Bath. This is a collapsed lava tube, filled with a mix of freshwater and saltwater, where it’s possible to take a dip in the manor of Hawaiian royalty of yesteryear. The parking area for Kiholo State Park Reserve, back in the trees, is followed by the Loretta Lynn house and the campground.

Here, along with several places along the walk, a fair number of birds can be seen including black-crowned night herons, wandering tattlers, Pacific golden plovers, yellow-billed cardinals, and northern mockingbirds.

The southern end of the park is marked by Waia’elepi anchialine pool. Anchialine pools form in volcanic rock and are connected underground to the ocean. The water is brackish, but the pools can be home to a wide variety of species. I saw goats drinking here as well as a variety of birds and insects flying about.

From there, I headed back to the car on the gravel road which parallels the coast and connects to the trail I came down on. My walk was about 5 or 6 miles, but I took more than 4 hours to cover that distance since I do tend to stop a lot!

For more walks worldwide, see Jo’s Monday Walks. Also posted in response to the current Friendly Friday challenge theme of ‘On The Way.’ See more responses here.