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New Projects

It has been a busy autumn with a number of workshops, both in Pembrokeshire and Yorkshire, and with talks. Ponds at this time go fairly quiet but often have good examples of mature water bugs and beetles. I have been photographing the Greater Water Boatmen (Notonecta sp) and the Saucer Bug (Ilyocoris cimicoides) to try and show the quite vicious proboscis or beak used for sucking blood of its prey. if you pick them up they will happily try to bite.  As the proboscis is long extending down from the head I made a number of composite/focus stacked images and then stitched them vertically. The resulting 45 megapixel images had incredible amounts of detail when zoomed in. Click here to see the results. 

 In October there were a reasonable number of Great Diving Beetles (Dytiscus sp) in the local ponds. In a narrow glass tank I took many shots of the female (I usually seem to pick out males with their spectacular suckers on the front legs to hold the female). She, unlike the male, has grooved wing cases. It was very compliant and let me get some 1:1 stacks without moving. One composite was of the air bubble at the end of the abdomen. Not overly exciting but the video I took as well showed the changes which occur. It is not just carrying a bubble. It extends under the wing cases where the spiracles (entrance to the breathing system) are located amongst dense hairs (see photo above). The bubble acts like a gill and allows the exchange of gases (carbon dioxide and oxygen) between the water and the bubble. This "gill" is called a plastron.


Female Great Diving Beetle, left, and right is a stack composite (18 images) of the air bubble at the tip of the wing cases.

Pembrokeshire Light