Here’s my Abstract submission to the Weekly Photo Challenge. I’m calling it Bananascape.
Category Archives: Macro
This Canada Violet was growing along a hiking trail in Shenandoah National Park when I was there last May.
This daisy fleabane was blooming along a hiking trail in Shenandoah National Park at the end of May.
Knowing “bane” loosely means something that is hated by or makes something’s existence more difficult, I thought fleabane was an interesting name for a wildflower so I looked it up. Folklore has it these plants can be dried and used to keep fleas away. That explains the name.
Sometimes when I’m hiking I like to stop, at seemingly random places, and look closely at my surroundings. I might spend 5 or 10 minutes just trying to discover the little things that most people walk right by completely unaware. If you’ve never done this before I highly recommend it. Almost anywhere you go you will be amazed at some of the small wonders that present themselves if you just slow down and take a little time to become acquainted with your surroundings.
This Goldenrod Crab Spider was one such secret, hiding right in front of my eyes. I stepped off the hiking trail into a small meadow just to see what might be there. I looked around a bit and was about to move along when I noticed this spider sitting motionless, the embodiment of patience and stillness. Goldenrod Crab Spiders will sit for long periods of time, waiting for an unsuspecting insect to come within reach. You can frequently find them inside blooms using the flower as natural bait.
I had a little trouble identifying this species of wasp but I believe it is a paper wasp. In my experience they are not aggressive unless you disturb their nests. In this case I was photographing wildflowers when the wasp approached to gather nectar. I sat still, watched and photographed it and the wasp didn’t even seem to notice me.
I believe our subject is Brochymena arborea, also known as the Rough Stink Bug. After photographing it I did a little research and was surprised to learn there are several beneficial species of stink bugs, the Rough Stink Bug being one of them. While many stink bugs feed on plants and cause crop damage there are also species, such as this one, that prey on caterpillars and other crop damaging insects.
Virginia Integrated Pest Management published the Field Guide to Stink Bugs which explains how to identify stink bugs in the Mid-Atlantic region and identifies the beneficial ones.