This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Macro or Close-ups.’ See more responses here.
I saw this cricket climbing up the spadix of a white anthurium at Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden. As it neared the top, I zoomed in for a close up. I haven’t been able to find out what kind of cricket it is (open to suggestions), but I was very taken by its extravagantly long antennae.
For more information about Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, go to htbg.com.
Updated 9-17-2022: Thanks to Forest and Kim Starr at Hawaii Insect ID for pointing out this is probably a cricket, though exactly which kind remains unknown.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘A Numbers Game.’ See more responses here. I put all my fingers and thumbs to work for my response, starting with ten Sheep in formation (and ten Cattle Egrets, too, as a bonus).
Next we have nine Spinner Dolphins playing, eight Wild Pigs foraging, seven Cattle Egrets heading to work.
Then there’s six Dung Beetles at work, five Black Triggerfish feeling blue, four Japanese White-eyes bathing.
And finally, three Horses watching, two Hawaiian Monk Seals resting, and one Pueo anticipating zero and lifting off.
My house has been surrounded by spiders and their webs for most of the winter. One female Hawaiian Garden Spider has a web which angles across the living room window. I can follow the activities there from the comfort of the couch.
One morning, I raised the window blind and found this scene. The large, yellow-backed spider is the female. The much smaller drab, brown spider above her is the male, and when a male is seen on a female’s web there’s only one reason – he’s looking to mate with her. I’m not sure what the third character in this scene is. It might be a mango beetle, but it was securely trussed to the web.
What happened can be seen in the gallery. The male tried his mating moves, the female remained largely unmoved. Much of the time the male stayed on the relatively safe opposite side of the web to the female, but to mate he must venture to the other side. When he did, sometimes the female swung into action. Mostly, she seemed responsive, but one time the male disappeared in an instant. Then I saw him climbing back up the thread he’d dropped on. Something must have gone awry, but no harm done. Through all this activity, the beetle looked on, waving its little legs and antennae.
The presence of the beetle seemed to affect the delicate negotiations going on between the spiders. Sometimes, the male went over to the beetle and sort of prodded at it, but nothing more. In the early evening, the female lost patience. She straddled the beetle, shot out strands of threads, and rebound the beetle as she spun it with her legs. It turned like a rotisserie chicken in overdrive. I didn’t get photos of this as the light was fading.
Next morning, nothing much had changed. The female was still the central figure, the male still holding his position. The only difference is that the beetle had managed to push its legs and head through the engulfing threads and it was back to waving its little legs and antennae. Later that day, the male appeared to successfully mate with the female and escape alive. I last saw him wandering over to the next web along where he positioned himself carefully on the opposite side of the web spun by another large female.
The next day, there was still a female on the web but I think it was a different, smaller one than the one in these photos. The beetle was still there, still waving its little legs and antennae. That evening, the new female did the rotisserie chicken move on the beetle and retrussed it. Next morning, the beetle had freed its legs and head again and was waving its legs and antennae again.
The following day, only the new female spider could be seen!
Posted in response to this month’s Becky’s Squares challenge theme of ‘Odd.’ See more responses here.
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!
This dung beetle was clearly getting a workout pushing its ball of dung up and over the grass and other obstacles. It occurred to me that this could be the next big workout craze. Just make yourself a nice big ball of 100% organic, 100% recyclable dung and push it up and over the sofa, around the living room, through the kitchen. Great exercise and environmentally friendly. What do you think?
Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.
One of the nice things about the hike up Pu’u Wa’awa’a is the selection of benches available for rest and contemplation, on the way up and at the top. This bench sits halfway up the steep slope that accesses the top of the hill. It gives a good view of Mauna Loa and the pastures on and around Pu’u Wa’awa’a. If you’re lucky, you might even see a dung beetle or three doing what they do.
When I first saw this bug, with its red back and gold sparkles, I thought for sure it was a beetle. But it turns out, it only resembles a beetle. It is in fact a cockroach, which left me with slightly less warm thoughts about it.
But it turns out that the Pacific beetle cockroach is quite interesting. It’s one of a few that are viviparous, meaning that it gives birth to live offspring. A couple of years ago, this cockroach was in the news because the ‘milk’ it feeds its young is a more complete food than cow’s milk and was being touted as the next superfood. Not that cockroach dairies were about to be set up, but the thought was that the protein crystals in the milk could be reproduced in labs.
This hasn’t happened yet, but who knows. I bet Gwyneth Paltrow is out there, milking cockroaches, even as I post this.