On many occasions I have considered making my own contributions to the “Wordless Wednesday” meme. Unfortunately, I find it impossible to post photos of insects and not be allowed to say anything about them. I suppose I could follow Dragonfly Woman‘s “Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday” example, but that seems like horning in on somebody’s trademark. At last it finally occurred to me a meme that I could use for Wednesday’s that gets around these issues—”One-Shot Wednesday”! Ever photograph an insect and only get off a single shot? Not just one keeper from a series of photos, but only one single photo of the insect, like it or lump it! That’s what I’m talking about here. The subtext, of course, is that there was only that one chance to get everything right—exposure, focus, composition, lighting, etc. Obviously, it’s not my plan to show crappy photos as part of this meme, but rather that occasional instance where I only got off a single shot, and for the most part everything worked pretty well to produce a decent photograph. I would, of course, be more than happy to see this meme take off and spread throughout the insect blogging community, but if it doesn’t and it remains a BitB exclusive then that’s fine also.
Here is contribution #1 in the meme: a leaf-footed bug (family Coreidae) feeding on flowers of Solidago chilensis that I photographed a couple of weeks ago near Corrientes, Argentina. According to coreid-specialist Harry Brailovsky (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), the expanded hind tibiae place it in the large, mostly New World genus Leptoglossus. Which one, however, is a good question—according to Coreoidea Species File Online, ten species in the genus have been recorded in Argentina, but browsing through available images didn’t immediately turn up a good match for the individual shown in this photo.
I’ve often wondered about the purpose of the leaf-like expansions of the hind tibiae of coreids—which reach truly gargantuan proportions in some tropical species—and their adaptive significance. One can imagine they might serve as a “false target” for potential avian predators, and supporting this idea is the fact that the hind legs seem to break off rather easily when handled. It’s not rare to find individuals in the field missing one or even both hind legs.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012