Tag Archive | Coelioxys

Coelioxys cluster


Last night, Catherine and I were out again all night, performing what was ultimately a futile spider experiment on Cordova Spit (TIXEN in the SENĆOŦEN language). The one thing that did go right was that the dawn had some decent light, so I set out early to try to get some photos of sleeping hymenopterans.

I did not end up shooting very many, as I found this absolutely lovely cluster of Coelioxys which were just begging to be shot. These parasitic megachilids are wonderful subjects, and seem to sleep in small aggregations, sometimes with Ammophila wasps.  Their preferred perches are the dried seedheads of the Puget Sound Gumweed (Grindelia integrifolia), a fragrant seaside plant that is a good place to find halictids in the daytime.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took this morning!


Shot with the 100 mm macro, this shot shows the mixed cloud of dawn, and the dew collected on the bees

The same bees shot with the A720IS, in the wideangle macro style.

The same bees shot with the A720IS, in the wideangle macro style. This gives the bees more of a bugeyed look!


A lone Ammophila shot with the 100 mm. These wasps are so elegant!


A similar view of the Ammophila with the A720IS. With this wide a shot you can really see the extent of the sky


I turned around with the A720 to show the vegetation of the spit to the north


As usual, when I find a great subject, I try to frame some up in portrait orientation, just in case I get the call for a National Geographic cover!


Back to the beach!


Catherine and I had to make a quick run back to Iona Beach last night to retrieve a fallen Raynox DCR-250 and to search out some Micropezid flies for Morgan Jackson. It was a quick trip, but we succeeded on both counts! Of course, I also took the opportunity to do some shooting as well. Here is what we got.


A Tibellus (Philodromidae) feasts on a damslefly.


A damselfly feasts on a chironomid midge.

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First Coelioxys of 2014!


I am so excited to have met up with (on Saturday) my favourite little bees, Coelioxys! Something about these streamlined little wonders is just so appealing to me. Of course, they were sleeping in their usual manner on the rainy morning, so I had good opportunities to play with the lighting.


Here is what a cluster of Coelioxys looks like, on a dead flower stalk.


Because of the rain, this one had quite a bit of water accumulated.


Like with the Ammophila yesterday, the water adds something to the already pretty texture.



For this shot and the one at the top, I used some hard light from the rear and to the right to make these droplets shine. The green streak is a plant stem in the background.


This bee is starting to wake, and grooming begins even before detaching her mandibles.


In the midst of waking up…


Now the bee is detached, and looking for a place to groom all this water off.


After a couple swipes with the feet, the thorax is drier.


This pretty little bee had a bit of a drier perch for the night.




Early morning in Beacon Hill Park


The past week has been rather hectic, with a flood forcing Catherine and I from our home, paper revisions made and further plans for Honduran fieldwork underway. I did not get a chance to post these shots I took from our time on the Island, where I spent part of Sunday morning out shooting in the dry grasses of Beacon Hill Park.


I saw lots of moth eggs on the dry grasses.


Now is the time to find sclerotia of ergot (Claviceps spp.) which contains chemicals studied by Albert Hofmann (from which he synthesized LSD-25).


This sleepy robber fly was not as sleepy as I thought, and flew off after this shot.


The skipper was more accommodating.



A peacock stalks the Garry Oak meadow.


Coelioxys rufitarsus hanging from grass in the dawn light.




I tried a couple wider shots with the 18-55 on 11 mm of extension (around 24 mm focal length). This is something I would like to try more of…


Weekend Expedition 31: Sleeping Hymenoptera!


What is the perfect arthropod photographic subject? Cute jumping spiders, powerful robberflies, shiny tiger beetles? I would argue that all these are great, but they are not very easy to do full photographic justice to. No, what you need is something that stays still for long periods of time, at a handy angle for posing against the light, and is pretty to boot! Sleeping bees and wasps fit this bill perfectly! Many solitary bees and wasps perch with their mandibles locked into a plant substrate. making for some fine shooting opportunities. I was lucky enough to come upon two sleeping aggregations with Coelioxys bees and Ammophila wasps at Island View Beach on Friday morning. Because they were so still, I was able to try many kinds of shots with them, I hope you will enjoy seeing them as much as I loved taking them!


The colours of the dawn sky show from the east , while a diffused flash and a fill card light the subject. This is Coelioxys rufitarsus, one of the parasitic Megachilids. These beauties lay their eggs in other Megachilid nests, and their larvae consume their host’s provisions.




This Ammophila was shot using my standard lighting using the Monster Macro Rig.





I love the elegant pointed abdomens of these awesome bees!


This shot of the two sleeping insects was shot from the tripod with all natural light, 1/8 sec, f13.


Tripod shot of the aggregation, silhouetting them against the dawn sky.


This shot shows the Coelioxys waking up.


When I have the time and a great subject, I like to compose some “cover shots”.


Of course I also shot them on white!




This is the second aggregation, a bit further up the beach.