|The brilliance of this Dogbane Leaf Beetle is certainly eye-catching and he is truly a creature of beauty. As he moves about, it appears he constantly changes color from every hue of red, gold, blue and green. The surface of this beetle's body is covered with tiny, slanting plates that overlap a special pigment. Some light rays reflect from the plates, while others reflect from the pigment. These different reflections cause interference that result in a psychedelic changing-of-colors. This prismatic phenomenon helps protect the insect by communicating to possible predators that he may be poisonous so chances will be less likely that he will be eaten or harmed. He will emit a foul smelling enzyme if disturbed. This gorgeous insect is very fun to watch! The beetles feed mainly on dogbane and milkweed and they pose no harm to humans or important vegetation.
|The metallic "armour" covers every bit of his body from his head down to his toes! Brilliance in motion!
|Here is the full view of the Gray Hairstreak. He is actually very tiny and flies about eratically-you may not even notice him, but in good lighting he is very vivid. I love the tiny little stripes on his antennas and legs.
|This was the last picture I took before the killer carried the cicada away. The female will glide with its victim and either climb another tree and glide again, or drag it (or both) until it reaches its burrow. The paralyzed (but alive) body is placed in a "cell" within the burrow were she will lay an egg on it. Within a couple of weeks, the egg hatches into a larvae and it will feed on the cicada and develop into the next stage (pre-pupa). It will remain in this stage the remainder of the winter and then emerge the following summer where the cycle is repeated.
The cicada killer is beneficial because it controls the cicada populations.