In the fall I usually decorate my front steps with a pumpkin or some mums and this year I found some beautiful pinkish purple ones that really look different depending on the light. As you know from reading this blog, I try my best to replicate what I saw with my eyes and I don’t do a lot in the way of crazy post production, HDR or over-saturation. So with that in mind it’s really interesting how different the late afternoon sun lit these flowers. Oh and the dead flies are interesting, too. At least I think so.
This is a hoverfly, but I don’t know which species. I like these little nectar eaters since they’re fun to watch and are quite cute. At first though, I thought this was some kind of tiny bee. It’s barely a centimeter long and so without magnification it was hard to tell. Only when I got it into the viewfinder did I suspect it wasn’t a bee. It was that strange white stuff on its abdomen that made me think it was.
After some different google searches, I still have no idea what it might be and what type of substance/organism would leave such perfect rectangles around part of the fly’s carapace. Very strange indeed. It looks a bit like pollen, but how would pollen make these shapes? Then I though it might be eggs, but again, how would they get arranged so precisely?
After a day or so, the white disappeared and I have no idea what happened to the fly itself which also eventually disappeared. It was really windy for a couple of days, so that probably had something to do with it. Very intriguing.
Another fly died on a flower just above this one and had no traces of these white granules.
What a fun little mystery and it all played out on my front steps.
I used the legacy Olympus 90mm macro combined with a 25mm extension tube for all of these. I think I was at f8 for all of them, too since there was so little depth of field in the first place. The color shots were processed as naturally as possible in Lightroom, but I used a yellow filter preset for the black and white one. I like how it basically neutralized any color gradient in the flower petals which let the fly’s body stand out more dramatically. I also added a slight vignette. IRL I didn’t notice its poor little leg fallen off behind it.
If there are any entomologists out there who have an idea about the white substance, let me know!
What an intriguing little insect – great close-ups with lovely purple color dominating….
Thanks so much. Stuff like this stops me in my tracks usually. There can be beauty even in death.
the theme of my blog – beauty in the minute details of our lives!
Great blog and photos, Kristen! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entomophthora_muscae
Thanks so much. Someone on flickr enlightened me earlier this year, but I forgot to update the blog post. Doh! I’m glad you posted the link so at least there will be a solution to our mystery.