Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CANDYSTRIPERS

We arrr-teest types have our creative whims and eccentricities. Picasso had his Blue Period…while I’ve recently entered what could turn out to be my Bug Period. Of course ol’ Pablo used a paintbrush and captured his monomaniacal renderings on canvas. My capabilities with paint and brush being best limited to such media as sheetrock and plywood, I instead favor a digital camera and save my images on gobs of pixels.
Besides, in my case, to refer to this latest passion as artistic fanaticism may be stretching the point, since I’ve also been making lots of pictures of things that certainly aren’t bugs. Not to mention that the way cooler photographic terminology, I think, would be to say it is “focused enthusiasm.”
With that disclaimer complete, I’ll admit that of several hundred images I made yesterday and today, at least half were of various insects—bees, beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, crickets, mayflies, ants, and so on. Or what most non-scientific folks commonly call bugs.
The problem I have with this latest photographic preoccupation is not in making the portrait, but in putting a name to the creature. Of course the same is true for wildflowers and birds—but if you think figuring out asters or goldenrods is tricky, or find the fall warblers confusing, wait ‘til you take a whack at ants, aphids…or leafhoppers!
Ahh, leafhoppers. The snazzy-looking bugs in the pictures are leafhoppers—of the Cicadellidae Family, and Graphocephala Genus. (I believe the Species here is G. coccinea, the Candystripe Leafhopper or Red Banded Leafhopper; some texts also call them Scarlet-and-Green Leafhopper or Red-and-Blue Leafhopper. I could easily be wrong, however; alternatively, they might instead be a G. fennahi, or Rhododendron Leafhopper.)
You’ve probably never noticed them before because they’re only about a quarter-inch (6-8 mm) long. They’re found all over North America and, I believe, in at least parts of Great Britan.
These colorful little insects can have either red stripes with a green, turquoise, or blue base, while the red stripes can be scarlet, vermilion, crimson, or orange. Coloring around the head area ranges from pale yellow to sherbet orange.
Candystripe Leafhoppers feed by sucking juice from the leaves and stems of various plants. As it is feeding, it releases a chemical via its saliva that sometimes makes the leaf wilt and die.
I might worry about this if any plants in my yard showed such damage. But since they don’t, I’ll simply focus close and have fun making photos of these goofy looking little bugs sporting their wild paint jobs.

36 comments:

Mug said...

A rose by any other name is.....still a rose:)...

What beautiful "bugs"! There is such a blissful beauty about your blog....the hushed beauty of God's creations....Thank you for sharing...

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Mug…

They are pretty bugs, aren't they!

I'm so very glad you enjoy your experience here on Riverdaze…; that's truly the aim. Thank you, always, for stopping by and spending time.

Tom said...

Very Nice- I haven't been able to get an image of two of these together before.

Tom

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

Oh my, what beautiful colors - stripes divine. :-) I love learning about such things from you -
your command of language and your photos leave me captive and breathless. woohoo!!

Love you
Gail
peace.....

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

You can't fool me! They are dead and you took time to paint them with neon colors before taking your shots . . . no bugs look like that. ;)

Really, quite amazing. I'm glad to have seen them - probably never will again. Mother Nature never ceases to amaze.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Tom…

I have no idea why, but I've become enamored with photographing such things recently. The trick here, of course, was to be able to stop down sufficiently to get both in focus at the same time. I was lucky…and these guys were quite cooperative. Both shots, BTW, were handheld. I like to work off a tripod, but for my "bug safaris" I've mostly just been creeping around the yard and trying to manage without the tripod.

(BTW you double-sent your comment so I deleted the duplicate.) Thanks for writing. I really enjoy your work.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

"Stripes Divine"…now that would have been the perfect post title!

I'm always glad you like the posts—and welcome your enthusiasm—but promise me you'll breathe regularly. Can't have you turning blue in front of the computer!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

If you saw how tiny these things are in real life, you'd know there was no way! I can slather paint on an Adirondack chair with a firm and steady hand, and I'm practically an Old Master on doghouses. But on bugs the size of a sesame seed—deceased or live-and-willing—I'd have a nervous breakdown. And Stevie Wonder could do a better job.

Nope, they're real as leprechauns, and as an Irishman, you know I wouldn't lie about such sacred matters.

Trust me, Candystripe Leafhoppers are out there!

Jain said...

Terrific detail and gorgeous color!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jain…

That's the neat thing about bug…they're just so vivid and colorful! Like micro-tiny jungle birds!

Richard said...

Great pictures. Don't think I've ever seen one. And the post title of "Candystrippers" should run up your hit numbers....lol.

Bernie said...

Grizz, amazing photo's of this critter....I love, love the colors, would make a fabulous broach, ok so I'm a jewelry addict but I have never seen anything so pretty and the way you describe this little bug, I admire as well.
Take care....:-) Hugs

Jayne said...

I've never noticed them! They are so very colorful.

Rita said...

I am a gardener so I see lots of bugs and I am so amazed at the brilliant colors and patterns of some of them.
Glad you are enjoying your new photography subjects!!
Aren't nature's creatures amazing??....humans and our little quirky habits and hobbies being some of the most amazing creatures. Jejeje!
Great photos!!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Richard…

They're actually pretty easy to find once you know where to look, and more important, realize just how small a critter you're looking for; you have to get your eyes and mind set to "really tiny."

Hadn't thought about the post title pulling in hits. Guess some of them are going to be disappointed when they see a bug, huh?

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

I think their color combos are just fabulous, too. If you wanted to design a reproduction of one as a broach, you'd sure have to enlarge it many times over—otherwise, no one would ever notice. And if you're like most women I know, you'd never find it in your jewelry box! :-)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

I'll bet you have them in your own back yard—right close to that former hole in the ground that used to be a pool and is now a really neat garden. They're hiding in plain sight…

Think just a bit bigger than chigger-size.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Rita…

Nature is so filled with wonder and beauty and astonishing, amazing sights that you'd have to have several lifetimes to see even the most obvious stuff.

And yes, indeed, we humans are perhaps at the top of the list when it comes to quirky behaviors. Personally speaking, I can probably hold my own with most anyone when it comes to unconventional and—so my friends insist—goofy.

But it's often our peculiarities—bugs or people—that make us interesting…and good photo subjects.

KGMom said...

My goodness--only 1/4 inch? Fantastic photos. I love the dazzling iridescence of color.
You can go buggy and share these lovely images anytime.

Now, can you do anything about the midges that have been biting me all summer. First time that has ever happened to me...and I resent it.

Speaking of running up hits numbers, a while back I kept getting all kinds of hits on one of my posts. It was about dandelions--I wrote about the name deriving from dent de lion, i.e. mouth of the lion. And I posted an internet-sourced photo. That's what all the hits were on. I kept wondering, WHY do people want to see the mouth of the lion? There's no accounting.

KGMom said...

By the way, many of those hits on "mouth of the lion" were coming from countries around the world, including several middle east countries. That made me a tad nervous, to be truthful.

giggles said...

Beautiful!!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

Actually, a quarter-inch is about the middle average; I don't think any of the three Candystripe Leafhoppers pictured here measured a full quarter-inch.

And don't worry, I do have bug photos to share.

However, as to your biting midges (no-see-ums) you'll have to fend for yourself. I've been driven half-crazy [But then if it was full-crazy…would I now know?] by them on more than a few trips. Black flies can bite worse, horse flies and deer flies are absolute terrors, but for sheer pestilence factor, those gnawing gnats are without peer. Cover up, stay inside, take up cigars—and schedule weekly transfusions, and make an appoint to see your dermatologist for skin repair after the first frost.

It remains to be seen whether the "Candystripers" title will draw in the heavy-breathing crowd. I'll let you know on that one. I am thinking there's an opportunity for some fun here, though. Think how attractive a trout fishing piece would be if the title was "Twitching Your Nymph" (about adding a slight, quick motion when fishing, to the artificial fly which imitates the aquatic, nymphal, stage of a mayfly.) Now wouldn't THAT disappoint some furtive clickers!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I love those wild paint jobs Scribe - if there are any like that in UK I have never seen them - but then maybe they are a drabber colour scheme over here. I do not like bugs but i must say that those two have a certain attraction.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

Well they're hard to see unless you really look close. I do know at least one UK web site is posting photos shot locally. Also, several references said they were accidentally shipped into Great Britain sometime in, I believe, the 1930s. I'll bet they're around, but trust me, you really have to have your eyes geared to see these guys.

They are really bright and pretty (for bugs) when seen close up.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

Hey, I'm sorry about answering you out of order. I got distracted between comments (which is quite easy and happens frequently) and messed up.

At any rate, it's good to hear from you again. I'm glad my bright bugs drew you out of quiet lurking, or wandering astray in Blogdom's hinterlands.

Wanda said...

That's exactly how my grandchildren would color bug pictures when they were little...I guess they knew more then than I do now...

They look like a fancy fishing lure to me or something from a tropical sea...I will be looking more closely at leaf hoppers.

giggles said...

Aaaaaawww...Thanks!! I was just getting ready to be offended!!!

Yes... I've been lurking...not feeling particularly witty these day...and others seem to have picked up that ball and run with it....

But trust me... I've been by...looking, no! drooling at your lovely photography!!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

They remind me of angling lures, too! And any kid could have easily invented their paint scheme. The more I look at bugs, the more I realize you probably can't come up with a color combo that isn't already out there on some strange critter. You just have to look really close.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

You wit and comments have been missed.

I'd never intentionally offend you, or ignore a comment. Please understand, overlook, and consider the limitations of who you're dealing with here—I can do some goofy things sometimes.

Kelly said...

“focused enthusiasm” -- I likeee! What colorful and adorable little creatures. Since I've been toting the camera, I too have started noticing bugs, but haven't seen anything as cute as these Candystripers. I'll have to start looking at the leaves more closely. These remind me of little Neon Tetras (only out of the water and walking).

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Kelly…

They do look like tropical fish, in both color and shape. Not as jewel-like as those hummer shots you posted recently—which are as good a shots as I've even seen, BTW, and so far as I'm concerned, the benchmark for any future attempt I might make at humming bird photography. But for colorful bugs, these little Candystripers are pretty neat.

Hey, attitude is everything: "focused enthusiasm" projects a far more stable and professional persona than "monomania," don't you think? (Oh sure, it's the same thing…but just don't admit it.) :-)

Gail said...

Hey Grizz-

did you lose the directions to my place? :-) there is a celebration(s) going on over here and you haven't stopped by..:-(

miss you
love Gail
peace.....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

No indeed! I just haven't had much time these last few days. I will get there soon, promise.

(If there's a celebration going on, save me a big ol' piece of cake!)

giggles said...

No worries!! (Really??? My wit has been missed??? You flatter me!)

I've been very busy with vacation trvelling and now end-of-summer- getting-ready-for-school projects.... All of the sudden there is not enough time to get everything done.... Where did the summer go??????

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

Yes'um…missed! You—your witty comments, your excitement, your pithy observations.

We've all been busy, too. At least I have. Not actually accomplishing much of genuine value to humankind…but busy. Like a ponderous bee. Beezy.

So get your back-to-school stuff done and don't be such a stranger. Got that?

Wellllll…allrightythen!

giggles said...

YES! SIR!

(Beezy... I LOVE it!!!!!!!!)