Juvenile Praying Mantis

One day in Costa Rica I was collecting jumping spiders and this juvenile praying mantis appeared on my beating sheet, jumping all over the place. I didn’t even know that praying mantises jumped! I figured, why not try photographing it jumping? It turns out that the physics of their jumping has been studied and you can read about it here.

Juvenile Praying Mantis
Juvenile Praying Mantis
Fruit Fly genus Drosophila, preparing to take off from a strawberry

Photographing flying insects presents some extra challenges compared to spiders. It’s more difficult to predict where they will be in space and many of them travel much faster through the air than a Jumping spider jumps. For now, I am just going for the low hanging fruit flies, ha ha! To capture these photos, I allowed the flies to alight on the piece of fruit, with the light beam just above, and startled them into flight. It sound’s simple, but only about ten percent of my attempts resulted flies triggering the camera.

Fruit fly, genus Drosophila

Fruit flies beat their wings 200-250 times per second. This images is about 1/30,000 of a second, or less than 1/100 of a wing beat.

Stingless Honeybees at the entrance to their next

This group of social bees has more than 500 species world wide. They often nest in holes in trees, but this one was in a concrete wall. I did not need to use my light beam triggering system for this photo, because the entrance to the nest is busier than any airport with bees coming and going.

A Stingless Honeybee bringing pollen back to the hive