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EAT, Prey, Love

August 31, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

It surprises and fascinates me when I photograph an insect eating. So I think it is time to present the EAT part of the Eat, Prey, Love theme I introduced last year.

How an insect ingests food depends on the structure of its mouth. For example, beetles (in the order Coleoptera), dragon and damselflies (Odonata) and grasshoppers (Orthoptera) all possess chewing mouth parts.  Butterflies and moths (order Lepidoptera) have sucking or siphoning mouthparts, and flies (order Diptera) and true bugs (order Hemiptera) have piercing and sucking mouthparts.  Now there are exceptions (the insect world is full of exceptions) – for example, some adult moths have no mouth parts at all because they don’t eat, and some flies, such as the common house fly, have only sucking mouth parts (and aren’t we glad they don’t pierce and suck the way their cousins the mosquitos do.)  But so much for explanations, I really just want to show you the pictures.

Shield bug nymph dining on tiny larvae of another insect. The long 'beak', which which it can pierce and suck, is called a rostrum.

dragonfly with leaf hopper meal

dragonfly with leaf hopper meal

skipper sipping nectar

Assassin bug nymph on a leaf dining on very small insects -- note how the markings on the rostrum (between the antennae) beautifully compliment the black and white patterning on its legs and antennae

And the BEST feeding photo of the season is this one of a Monarch Butterfly.  (See my post from March 2014.)  It is one of four Monarchs I saw yesterday. They were actively (and I like to think happily) feeding at this large buddlea plant in Hancock, New Hampshire.

 


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