Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ad infinitum

"So nat'ralists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller fleas that bite 'em,
And so proceed ad infinitum."

Jonathan Swift

About parasites, saprophytes, epiphytes
and other living things.

This newsletter is to introduce some of my favourite images of interesting animals and plants, and the ways they succeed in the natural world. All these images and more, of course, are available from my on-line image catalogue (click here), where 600 pixel files can be downloaded at no charge for review and comping, where 50 meg files can be purchased with payment via Paypal, or ordered for delivery with payment later via invoice.

I hope you enjoy looking at and learning a little about these interesting natural phenomena.

An ichneuman wasp, Trogus pennator, emerging from the chrysalis of a Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Papilio polyxenes. An adult wasp deposited an egg on the butterfly larva. The wasp egg hatched after the butterfly larva pupated, then consumed the butterfly larva, reached maturity and changed to an adult wasp to emerge from the chrysalis shell. Note emergence hole at upper left.

Indian Pipe, Monotropa Uniflora - the Ghost Plant. A parasitic herbaceous perrenial without chlorophyll, hosted by certain fungi that are mycorrhizal with trees, meaning it ultimately gets its energy from photosynthetic trees.

Earthworms and millipedes are detritivores.

Saprophyte is a botanical term now considered obsolete. Plants that were once known as saprophytes, such as non-photosynthetic orchids, are now known to be parasites on fungi.

Saprophages or detritivores obtain nutrients by consuming detritus and are important to many ecosystems. Saprophages include earthworms, millipedes, wood lice and other small animals.

This large African Millipede, Archispirostreptus gigus, is infested with mites (not identified).

This House Centipede, Scutigera coleoptrata, is neither parasite nor detritivore, but an insectivore. It kills and eats arthopods - insects and spiders.

A dragonfly, Sympetrum sp., very heavily parasitised with water mites. a common affliction of dragonflies. One wonders how an animal in such condition can survive.

A heavily parasitised Sphingid Moth (Hawkmoth) larva and, below, an inchworm (Geometrid moth) Phigulea titea.

The larvae of many flies, beetles and mites live on and in the foliage of many plants and trees, sometimes between the very surface layers of leaves like this Burr Oak.

I very much enjoy photographing interesting things in the natural world and will be working diligently to add to my image files now that a new growing season is upon us. If there is something special you need, or have been trying to find without success, please let me know via email. I'll try my best to find it or shoot it for you at regular stock photo rates.

Thank you for taking time to read this newsletter. Please be assured that any request for imagery will receive my best efforts to help you find what you need.

PS. For a visual index of my complete on line catalogue, organized into 28 gallery collections by subject matter,
click here.