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Old Nov 26, 2007, 12:56 PM   #1
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An Unseen Flying Object

While reviewing older photos I came upon this picture of a little wasp whichhad beenunseen in the viewfinderas it traversedthe field of view while I was concentrating on photographing the flowers. I have no idea what it is, except that it is very small (see the Argentine ants on the flower for size comparison). The flower is on a giant South American milkweed, Asclepias physocarpa,marked on the nursery tagas the "Family Jewels tree" The larger of our twospecimens is about 8 feet tall and still growing (the other lags at 6 feet). I have been unable to get a decently sharp picture of the flowers, which are pendant rather than erect like other milkweeds, and photograph with an unusually "soft" out-of-focus appearance. The plant produces round seed pods which hang in pairs. There is a more earthy name for the plant in the nursery trade, but I will leave that to your imagination. Ours are not setting seed well, so far producing only a couple of single pods, probably due to the lack of a suitable pollinator. We have not seen them visited by butterflies, and the only things we have seen entering the nectaries are the ants. Monarchs lay eggs on the leaves, and the caterpillars eat the largeleaves voraciously, but the butterflies prefer to feed on the other milkweeds. Aphids like them, too, unfortunately.

The picture is not great, but I thought it amusing enough to post. Pentax K10D, Tamron 70-300 LD Macro @ 300MM, 1/350 sec, F5.6, ISO100. Hand held, availabe light.

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Old Nov 26, 2007, 8:32 PM   #2
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penolta wrote:
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An Unseen Flying Object

While reviewing older photos I came upon this picture of a little wasp whichhad beenunseen in the viewfinderas it traversedthe field of view while I was concentrating on photographing the flowers. I have no idea what it is, except that it is very small (see the Argentine ants on the flower for size comparison). The flower is on a giant South American milkweed, Asclepias physocarpa,marked on the nursery tagas the "Family Jewels tree" The larger of our twospecimens is about 8 feet tall and still growing (the other lags at 6 feet). I have been unable to get a decently sharp picture of the flowers, which are pendant rather than erect like other milkweeds, and photograph with an unusually "soft" out-of-focus appearance. The plant produces round seed pods which hang in pairs. There is a more earthy name for the plant in the nursery trade, but I will leave that to your imagination. Ours are not setting seed well, so far producing only a couple of single pods, probably due to the lack of a suitable pollinator. We have not seen them visited by butterflies, and the only things we have seen entering the nectaries are the ants. Monarchs lay eggs on the leaves, and the caterpillars eat the largeleaves voraciously, but the butterflies prefer to feed on the other milkweeds. Aphids like them, too, unfortunately.

The picture is not great, but I thought it amusing enough to post. Pentax K10D, Tamron 70-300 LD Macro @ 300MM, 1/350 sec, F5.6, ISO100. Hand held, availabe light.
Now do more of them...LOL
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Old Nov 26, 2007, 9:53 PM   #3
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Interesting shot - don't think I've ever noticed those types of wasps. Why is it that some flowers just don't photograph well? There are a couple I've tried over and over to get a good picture of, and it just doesn't work.
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Old Nov 27, 2007, 8:08 AM   #4
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it's amazing what turns up sometimes. a new thread perhaps???

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Old Nov 27, 2007, 9:58 PM   #5
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Thanks for looking anxd commenting. It was a hoot to see it hanging there in midair with no visible means of support (its rapidly beating wings are just a faint blur around its head).
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