Holey

The tiger swallowtail nectaring in the bull thistles has a small hole in its left wing, like a missing pane in a stained glass window that tempts bored children with a glimpse of the sky.

There are so many holes in my knowledge. The harvestman hiding in the bergamot is missing a pair of legs on its right side — does that mean it must keep two of its eyes closed if it wants to avoid walking in circles?

A bergamot leaf with a large hole plays temporary host to both a treehopper and a tumbling flower beetle, who completely ignore each other: the former has as little use for tumbling as the latter has for hopping.

A green, spotted leaf beetle scales the tip of a leaf and stands motionless for more than a minute as if suddenly self-aware, gazing at all the green leaves spotted with meal-sized holes.

9 Comments


  1. Great photos, Dave! Having a digital camera really helps one “see” small things much better. don’t you agree? I had that experience the other day photographing a moth in my window.

    Reply

  2. Thanks, Marja-Leena. No doubt about it: I never would’ve noticed that hole in the butterfly’s wing, for example, if I’d been using binoculars rather than a telephoto lens. Similarly, I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t notice the two missing legs on the harvestman until I was well into post-processing. The beetle photo, however, I spotted with the naked eye, and I think it’s one of my best invertebrate photos to date.

    Reply

  3. Holey cow, Dave! I like this group of photos showing wear and tear in the world of small things. I had an amputee spider post recently:

    http://pocahontascofare.blogspot.com/2007/07/six-legged-spider.html

    and for some reason, people are visiting my blog after googling the phrase “six legged spider.” In fact, that has outstripped my usual top search, “inbred hillbilly canibals” (I used to be the top Google hit for that phrase, but the competition is stiff.) What do you suppose prompts that search?

    As a point of nomenclature, the membracids are usually called “treehoppers” and the cidadellids are “leafhoppers.” Cercopids are “froghoppers” or spittlebugs. I have a lot of trouble keeping the hoppers sorted out, what with grasshoppers and all, so I usually say “membracids.” Your bug is a membracid, or treehopper.

    Reply

  4. Hi, Rebecca – Glad you liked the post, and thanks a lot for the correction. I’ll change that to “treehopper,” then. (I understand your preference for the precision of scientific names, but obviously in this context it’s precisely the hopping I want to invoke!)

    It’s funny the things people are curious about. One of the top search results for Via Negativa is “raccoon sex.” But now you’ve got me thinking I really need to do more inbred hillbilly cannibal blogging, too.

    One thing I only recently figured out, BTW, is that a great number of searches these days are actually image searches. So I’ve started putting descriptive titles in the HTML tags for each photo (the default title for a photo hosted at Flickr is the totally unhelpful “photo sharing,” but I don’t think it’s a violation of the TOS to change that). Even if only one in a thousand searches results in a new reader, it’s still worth it, I figure.

    Reply

  5. I enjoy these posts of photos with captions.
    I’ve got Japanese beetles in the backyard making holes in the roses. They are complete hedonists: eat only the flower petals and generally seem to be eating and getting it on at the same time. At night, I think they drink too much and watch blue movies.

    Reply

  6. The tiger swallowtail nectaring in the bull thistles has a small hole in its left wing, like a missing pane in a stained glass window that tempts bored children with a glimpse of the sky.

    Oh, Dave. Such a sentence! Had I written one such sentence today, I would be content.

    Reply

  7. Brett – Yes, Japanese beetles are the house sparrows of the insect world. There’s a recent why certain exotic species become invasive, I guess.

    Rachel – Uh, thanks! It came a little too easily to me, though, so I suspect I’m actually paraphrasing myself; I have such a porous memory. (Assuming it isn’t – Whoever forbid – unconsicous plagiarism.)

    Reply


  8. Your wonderful photographs of all things holey call to mind Vincent van Gogh’s evocative paintings of sunflowers past their prime.

    Reply

Leave a Reply