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Wooly aphids! Get your genuine wooly aphids here!

 
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rjlittlefield



Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 727
Location: Richland, WA, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:24 pm    Post subject: Wooly aphids! Get your genuine wooly aphids here! Reply with quote

I found these while out backpacking last weekend. On alder, I think, right next to a creek.



It was a bit tricky to get a decent picture of these things. For one, the critters who were neatly lined up were in the shade. It was fairly dark and low contrast, and I wasn't carrying a flash.

"No problem!" I say, "I'll just bend a branch out into this little patch of sunshine."

A wonderful idea, except for one detail.

It turns out that unlike ordinary aphids, these critters are highly mobile. A bit of unnatural vibration, and they're on the move. I clocked them at 5 mm/second, 10 when they're really excited. This little chunk of animated gif is at 3X actual speed, but you get the idea.



The trick finally turned out to be looking around harder, and finding a tastefully arranged bunch of bugs on a branch that was already in the sun. I shot a small set of pictures trying not to move around too much, and it turned out that three of them were close enough to the same view that Helicon Focus could do a good job stacking them.

I also took some bugs home and followed them around for a while with a flash until (by chance!) they happened to get into a good position when I snapped the picture.

Here are both results -- on top is in the field in direct sun, bottom is on my kitchen table with flash at 6 inches.



Those of you who have been tracking the forum for a while may remember some spirited discussion a few months ago, regarding the ID on some critters that Ken shot, and whether they were really springtails or some kind of wooly aphid (Adelgidae). Hopefully, these won't stimulate quite so much controversy. Family Pemphigidae, I believe, and almost certainly not related to any human illness. Laughing

--Rik

Canon 300D and Sigma 105mm macro, mostly at 1:1.
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MacroLuv



Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 131
Location: Croatia

PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yummy. Some kind of cotton candy? Very Happy
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rjlittlefield



Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 727
Location: Richland, WA, USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand that it's wax, extruded from a lot of little pores on the abdomen. They must just keep squirting this stuff out, sort of like really low quality spider silk!

--Rik
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Beetleman



Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 362
Location: Southern New Hampshire USA

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent photos Rik. I like the last one because you can see some of the animal.
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Ken Ramos
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Joined: 04 May 2004
Posts: 4809
Location: Western North Carolina

PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik brought up:

Quote:
Those of you who have been tracking the forum for a while may remember some spirited discussion a few months ago, regarding the ID on some critters that Ken shot, and whether they were really springtails or some kind of wooly aphid (Adelgidae). Hopefully, these won't stimulate quite so much controversy. Family Pemphigidae, I believe, and almost certainly not related to any human illness. Laughing


I certainly hope not but I don't think Dr. Bugman will show up again Twisted Evil but you never can tell... Rolling Eyes Thanks for showing what a "real" wooly aphid looks like. Very Happy They look nothing like what was shown in my photo and I have yet to find anyone, anywhere, who knows what it is! Confused There has to be some et...? bug expert who knows what I have photographed some where. I find it hard to believe the little moss denizens have gone unnoticed since the invention of the microscope. Laughing Thanks Rik, great photographs! Very Happy
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