May 022010

I noticed these critters at the end of an hour long bike ride.  One in which I had the bejesus scared out of me because I nearly hit a snake… what kind, I don’t know.  It is the first one I’ve seen here not in captivity. Both the snake and I shrieked and moved out of each other’s way without looking back.  I don’t think it was a Rattler… but…

So when I saw these shadows racing across the concrete sidewalk (I was back to civilization, or, so I thought… it is all relative), my first reaction was to keep pedaling. One thing you have to remember about desert wildlife… it always finds ways to hurt you.

But then I saw some beautiful yellow flowers and I finally slowed down enough to stop (yes, I was still pedaling like crazy even though that snake was a good 2 miles back!)  And after shooting some flower pics (which I’m sure I’ll be sharing), I decided to head back to see what those bug shadows were about.

It was further back than I thought, that is how fast I was going! And, apparently I was still going at a good pace because when I finally got back to the bugs, I stopped suddenly and heard this man swear and yell, “why’d you stop?”  I had not realized that someone was biking in my draft.

Of course, when I said, “Bugs!”  He must have thought I was afraid to pass them or just plain nuts.

This is an Iron Cross Blister Beetle. As far as I can gather from Google… it is indigenous to the Sonoran Desert, which Quartzsite lies within — the Sonoran Desert is the only one with Saguaro Cactii thus easy to know its boundaries.

Its bright coloring is a warning to potential predators because blister beetles contain the irritating compound cantharadin that can cause skin blisters or severe to fatal poisoning if ingested. Apparently humans die if they ingest 20, alive or dried.  (Makes you wonder how they tested this fact…) Horses die from far less.  If alfalfa hay has any of these beetles (and there are more blister beetles than this kind) mixed in, it has been known to fatally poison the horse.

Normally these beetles emerge in large numbers in mid to late spring and move together in bands crawling or running across the ground. They feed on succulent leaves and flower petals. Exactly as I found them.

  10 Responses to “THEME: Wildlife”

  1. Amazing photos!!

  2. Judi, these images are amazing!! You have captured several different scenarios that are difficult to find. The shadow in the first image is incredible. How often does a bug stay still long enough to photograph it much less capture a shadow as well. Great work!!

  3. Hi! We are in this months group…
    Love the first image..the shadow and the bug are wonderful! Loooking forward to checking out all your images :-)

  4. Cool little critters – so colorful! I like the first two the best – that shadow in the first one and the interaction between the two in the second one do it for me.

  5. It seems the the FBI is on to you, first the Bugs and then your being tailed without knowing it, don’t you have a rearvision mirror, or is that for make-up? As for the snake, some of them can’t talk and just bite you to say Hello! Love the narrative to go with the great bug shots, and thanks for the warning on the up coming flower shots.

  6. I LOVE seeing your photos and reading your blog! It makes my day to see great shots, learn a little and be so tickled that I am still chuckling hours later!! Thank you!

  7. These are all fantastic…especially love the second image…you are good to get two together! I am glad the biker behind you didn’t run into you…I am still chuckling that you said BUGS when he asked you why you stopped…I am sure he thought you were a fruit cake…what we don’t do for our pictures LOL

  8. I like your interesting and funny narrative. And the three shots you posted are super. I especially like the way the beetle and his shadow stand out against the background in the first one – a perfect composition.

  9. Good looking bugs and excellent photos, thanks for showing!

    christina, sweden

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