Nearly a month has gone by without any new posts, despite my recent statements about blogging in earnest. I'm finding that teaching writing classes not only involves lots of time grading papers but also focuses my interest on writing. I'm actually writing a lot in various journals and notebooks, but not focusing in the short run on material I want to post here. We'll see what develops. Let's just say, my cessation of blogging is not due to deterioration of my health. I might be back soon. It probably depends on how spring unfolds - wildflowers, lizards, interesting insects, etc., usually fire me up and prompt me to keep my camera batteries charged.
I have been teaching since 1965 and have recently joined the English Department as an Associate Faculty member at Feather River College. Recently taught Nature Literature in America and am currently teaching Interpersonal Communication and Basic Reading and Writing.
In the longhorn beetle family which I featured in my previous post, the Red Milkweed Beetle, Tetraopes basalis, is one of my favorite photo subjects. The plant, Showy Milkweed, Asclepias speciosa, is the host. When the beetles are eating or mating, they seem oblivious to my presence. Before they began either of those activities, around a month ago, they would bend their antennae back like a cat guarding its territory, then fly away if they couldn't get me to back off. Then, as if over night, they became engrossed in eating and breeding and became an easy photo subject.
In this head-on view I got the camera to within 9 inches. Below, I turned over a leaf and revealed what I think are eggs. It's time to do my annual review of this beetle's life history. I do know they spend the winter in the roots of the plant below the ground surface. I guess that's redundant. :)
I've never been bitten, although I think they're capable of it. They do take good-sized chunks out of the leaves of the milkweed.
An aerial shot against a bright blue sky - I was actually holding the blade of grass, and my picking it did not seem to bother the beetle. I made a point of placing her on another blade of grass when I was done photographing.
I think I may have satisfied my beetle photography needs for this season - unless I encounter a new species.