A predator in the flowers

August 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

As the effects of a dry winter start to wane, the first signs of spring begin to present themselves. There is no better indicator of this then the profusion of colour that is associated with the first flowering of the local wattle trees.

As the trees burst forth in a proliferation of yellow flowers, the early emergers of the insect world start to congregate around this new food source. And as with most forms of animal life, where there are congregations of insects there will also be predators lurking. In this instance, a spined predatory shield bug (Oechalia schellenbergii) sits nestled amongst the flowers waiting for prey to come within its reach.

* Please note: Images can be clicked to view larger *IMG_6197Spined Predatory Shield Bug (Oechalia schellenbergii)
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 2x, Full flash

IMG_6205Spined Predatory Shield Bug (Oechalia schellenbergii)
Canon 5D, MPE-65 @ 2x, Full flash

Interestingly in the second shot above, the shield bug can be seen blowing a small bubble of liquid from it’s mouthparts. This is the first time I have witnessed this behaviour in a shield bug, but have previously noticed something similar being performed by a paddy bug.

On a technical note, shooting amongst these sorts of flowering trees can be a little tricky. Not only can the bright yellow flowers cause problems with exposure, but it can also be somewhat difficult to physically get the lens in to the subject! With a bit of patience and by keeping your eye on the cameras histogram, these challenges can certainly be overcome though.

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