To take a photograph literally means "to draw with light."
And this time of the year, the light takes on a golden hue.
Many people come to Ijams to walk around quietly taking photographs. Golden treasures abound.
Ijams regular Timothy Reeves sent me this photo taken at the nature center, wondering about the insect on the woodland sunflower.
There are roughly 455 species of soldier beetles in North America. Nature loves diversity. This one is perhaps a Pennsylvania leatherwing (Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus).
Soldier beetles are generally brightly colored. As defense, when molested, they emit droplets of white viscous fluid from pores along their sides. Yuck! Studies have shown they are consistently rejected as prey by birds, mice, other beetles, mantids, assassin bugs and centipedes.
The common name comes from one prevalent British species that is bright red like the coats the English army wore. Also known as leatherwings, as a group they are handy to have around your home because they feed on garden pests like aphids, caterpillars and grasshopper eggs. (I wonder how many grasshopper eggs you'd need to make an omelet?)
- Text Stephen Lyn Bales, photo Timothy Reeves.