Arthropods

It wasn’t hard to spot this small beetle at Oklahoma’s Salt Plains NWR – look at that rainbow of colors! I visited the refuge late in September, hoping to see migrating waterfowl. The trip was a total bust for waterfowl, but a GREAT trip overall. This little beetle was just one of the animals that made the trip great. I believe this tiger beetle is a Festive Tiger Beetle (Cicindela scutellaris) – isn’t that a perfect name!? (If I’m wrong about the ID, then it would still be a perfect name). While browsing through my photos I noticed something interesting…

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Have you ever seen a bee like this one? Blond, blue-eyed – gorgeous! I have used up most of my free time today, trying to identify this bee. (What? That’s not how YOU would spend your free time? ;-) ) I’ve had to stop searching, and can only offer guesses…and some really cool looks at this not-so-everyday-bee.

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I visited northern Oklahoma’s Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge last month, hoping to see lots of migrating waterfowl. That didn’t work out so well since the area had not seen enough rain to fill the many marshes and ponds surrounding the main reservoir. The trip was still great fun, and I met a new tiger beetle species on the salt flat.

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This is such a proud moment for me – sharing my photos of my first encounter with a species of dung beetle! Not only was this my first time to lay eyes on such creatures, it was my 2nd day with my new macro lens – so this is about the clearest photo I got of these active Coleopterans. How did I know these were dung beetles, you may ask?

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This is one topic that I never imagined I would be writing about. The behavior I witnessed seemed like it must have been something more than the simple call of nature. I watched an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) expel copious amounts of fluid on the ground in a half-hour period. That I could actually see the butterfly doing this is a tribute to my telephoto lens.

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