If you enjoy taking images of insects and spiders, enter the 65th international Insect Salon competition. The deadline is Oct. 28.
The contest, open to photographers throughout the world, is sponsored by the Peoria Camera Club, Illinois, in conjunction with the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Photographic Society of America.
Coordinator Joe Virbickis of the Peoria Camera Club said the images are restricted to insects, spiders, and related arthropods (such as barnacles, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, centipedes, and millipedes.)
You don't have to be an ESA or a PCC member to enter. You can enter four images for a total cost of $10. Entries are restricted to insects, spiders, and related arthropods (such as barnacles, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, centipedes, and millipedes)
Best of Show (PSA Gold Medal)
Peoria Camera Club (PCC) Medals: Most Unusual Image; Best Story Telling Image; Best Image by an ESA Member; Best Image by a Non-ESA Member; Best Image by Peoria Camera Club Member.
2022 Best of Show. The Best of Show medal went to Kenneth Gillies of West Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom, for his “Peppermint Shrimps Inside a Sponge.”
Gillies was joined by the five other top winners:
- Medal for Most Unusual Image: Weihua Ma of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, China, for “Pretending to be a Branch.”
- Medal for Best Storytelling Image: Dre Van Mensel of Tielen, Antwerpen, Belgium, for “It's Mine.”
- Medal for Best Image by a ESA member: Kathy Keatley Garvey (yours truly) of UC Davis/Vacaville, Calif., for “Checking You Out.” of a golden dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria.
- Medal for Best Image by a non-ESA member, Tim Sanders of Bideford, Devon, England, for “At Work.”
- Medal for Best Peoria Camera Club member: Ladean Spring of Creve Coeur, lll., for “Hummingbird Moth.”
See the 2022 winning entries at https://insectsalon.peoriacameraclub.com/results/2022/Html/sect_1.htm
The theme for Entomology 2023 is “Insects and Influence: Advancing Entomology's Impact on People and Policy.” The 7000-member ESA, founded in 1889 and located in Annapolis, Md., is the world's largest entomological organization. It is affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, pest management professionals, and hobbyists.
This is the story of how two native bees from Vacaville, Calif., traveled 1872 miles to Oklahoma City.
But a photo I took in Vacaville of two Melissodes agilis bees zipping over a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola, happened to win a top prize at the 63rd North Central Insect Photographic Salon, co-sponsored by the North Central Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Photographic Society of America.
Judges scored it "Best Image by an ESA Member." All 7000 ESA members are invited to contribute, as are non-members. I wasn't planning to enter--this was my first time--but Insect Salon coordinator/ESA member Tom Myers posted a note on Facebook seeking images to be showcased at the 2023 Joint North Central and Southwestern Branch meeting in Oklahoma City. The theme: "Branch Cross-Pollination: Seeking Hybrid Vigor in Science through Communication, Collaboration, and Societal Impact."
The North Central Branch covers Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, plus parts of Canada (Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario) while the Southwestern Branch encompasses New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, and all of Mexico, except Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa and Sonora.
To be accepted for display, a photo must score 85 points or more. The image of the male and female bees, which I titled "Catch Me If You Can," scored 94 points, and two other Garvey images, one of a golden dung fly (Scathophaga stercoraria), "Checking You Out," and the other titled "I Do," of two Gulf Fritillaries (Agraulis vanillae), tallied 92 and 89 points, respectively. "Checking You Out" earlier won "Best Image by an ESA Member" in the 64th annual International Insect Salon competition.
The M. agilis species are fun to photograph, but set your shutter speed high. These bees are the Usain Bolts of the bee world. Catch me if you can!
I captured the image of "Catch Me If You Can" with a Nikon D500, mounted with a 200mm lens. Settings: shutter speed set at 1/8000 of second, f-stop 5, and ISO 800.
For "Checking You Out:" Nikon D500 with a 105mm lens, 1/320 of second, f-stop 9, and ISO 800.
For "I Do": Nikon D500 with a 70-180 lens (110 focal length), 1/640 of a second, f-stop at 10, and ISO of 800.
All were taken in our family's pollinator garden. (No tripod, no flash.) The added benefit of planting a pollinator garden includes capturing images of the residents and visitors.
Me? I'm just a guest in their habitat. I don't poke 'em, prod 'em or pin 'em. I just photograph them. When. They. Let. Me.
Thar's gold in them thar hills, and then there's that ol' golden dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria.
It's a red-eyed blond that definitely demands your attention.
You can find the larvae--if you're looking for it and know where to look--in the feces of large animals, including horses, cattle, sheep, deer and wild boar, where the insect breeds. The larvae eat the dung, and that's why this insect is important to natural decomposition. One of nature's recyclers...
The adult is a predator; it hunts for flies and other small insects. The adults also sip nectar, just like honey bees and other pollinators. BugGuide.net provides more information on the golden dung fly.
Carl Linnaeus first described the insect in 1758 as Musca stercoraria, according to BugGuide.net. Cathophaga originates from the Greek word, "skatos," meaning "excrement" and "phagein" for "to eat." Stercoraria is derived from the Latin "stercoris," meaning "of dung."
So, Happy Friday Fly Day--from a Golden Goddess...of sorts.
So there we were, on Mother's Day, looking at the yet-to-bloom English lavender in our yard.
And there it was, something golden staring back at us.
It was showing a face that "only a mother could love"--or an entomologist or an insect enthusiast.
Scathophaga stercoraria, the golden dung fly. A red-eyed blond fly.
It's a beneficial insect. The larvae are often found in the feces of large animals, including horses, cattle, sheep, deer and wild boar, where the insect breeds. (Note: We have no horses, cattle, sheep, deer or wild boar near us!) The larvae eat the dung, making this insect important to natural decomposition.
The adult is a predator, it hunts for flies and other small insects. The adults also sip nectar, just like honey bees and other pollinators. Nearby was another golden dung fly, dead. Art Shapiro, UC Davis distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, looked at its swollen belly and said it died "from entomophagous fungus--perhaps the same one that 'glues' houseflies to window panes."
For more information on these fascinating insects, check out the BugGuide.Net entry on the golden dung fly. The insect was first described in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus as Musca stercoraria, according to BugGuide.Net.