The Common Whitetail Dragonfly


The IUCN Red list of threatened species shows this dragonfly as of least concern for extinction–one of the lucky ones. However, according to Wikipedia:

The decline [in many insects] has been attributed to habitat destruction caused by intensive farming and urbanisation, pesticide use, introduced species, climate change, and artificial lighting. The use of increased quantities of insecticides and herbicides on crops have affected not only non-target insect species, but also the plants on which they feed. Climate change and the introduction of exotic species that compete with the indigenous ones put the native species under stress, and as a result they are more likely to succumb to pathogens and parasites. While some species such as flies and cockroaches might increase as a result, the total biomass of insects is estimated to be decreasing by about 2.5% per year.

To see more recent insect photos, see Insectorama.

As Australia Burns, It Exports More Coal to Provide Electricity for 25% of the World’s Population

We humans evolved a short-term focus because it was adaptive to survival prior to industrialization. Unfortunately, our economy has evolved faster than our brains so now we do things that are not in our long-term interests.

Carl Sagan was likely right when he speculated that intelligent life might be self-extinguishing.

www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/climate/coal-adani-india-australia.html

Are the Amish Ahead of Their Time?

The Real Thing
Hauling supplies

Many of us look down upon the Amish for avoiding the use of modern technologies (in fact they use more of it than we think, e.g., they use cell phones, albeit with many restrictions). But in fact, they might be well ahead of the rest of us. As I wrote on my page last year, one way or another we will go from post-industrialization to micro-industrialization once we either stop using fossil fuels, or they run out within the next 100 years. Alternative energies and muscle power simply will not be able to produce nearly the same energy levels that we rely on today.

Although this will be a difficult (catastrophic?) transition, humanity will likely adjust over the following 100 years, with a much larger proportion of people farming any remaining arable land.

Amish Countryside
Lancaster County, PA

A Progressive Insurance industry?

Strange as it might sound, this part of the business community might be more effective at slowing climate change than our federal government. Aside for higher costs for flood insurance, I foresee exclusions for rebuilding in flood-prone areas. In other words, you would be compensated by your flood insurance only if you rebuilt/ purchased elsewhere.

www.nytimes.com/2019/07/24/climate/moodys-ratings-climate-change-data.html

The “Deadly” Scorpionfly

Well, it looks dangerous, but it isn’t. It only looks a bit like a scorpion. I found this guy in the reeds along side the Oatka Creek. Found in the eastern U.S., the “stinger” is the male’s copulatory organ. They feed on dead insects. You can see more of what I’ve photographed at Insectorama. More insects to come!

Biodiversity loss threatens humanity

Yet another major report documents the effects of climate change. Although there are many local and regional initiatives around the world that will slow this down a bit, a concerted world initiative is necessary to stop the sixth extinction. I do not see this as likely to happen, given that it has to start now. The result will be a great die-off, including some of humanity. Although the developing countries will be most affected, many in the developed world will be affected by mid-century–just thirty or so years away.

And to think that we did this in about 170 years (in the “blink of a geological eye”).

www.nytimes.com/2019/05/11/opinion/sunday/extinction-endangered-species-biodiversity.html

Emerging Insects

Recall two of my recent posts, The Bugs Are Coming, where I discussed the bugs that are bad for us, and Where Have All the Insects Gone?  . . . , where I reported that many of the good insects are disappearing. Well, things are starting to gear up with the bugs now emerging. It has been a bit of a late start given the lower than average temperatures we have been experiencing here in the northeast.

Margined (Burying) Carrion Beetle

The first and third photos were taken in Connecticut in April. I found the Carrion Beetle on a driveway.  It is found mostly in farm and other rural areas. The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species) categorizes this species as critically endangered, likely due to the use of pesticides, and land “development,” among other factors.

My next subject is the Ebony Jewelwing. I will leave you to guess why it is so

Ebony Jewelwing

named. This species is categorized by the IUCN as of least concern, due to its stable population.  It is found mostly along lakes and streams. I photographed several of these back in 2011 in western New York and present one here since the photo quality is excellent.

Chocolate Dun

The Chocolate Dun is a Mayfly usually found in the pools of fast running streams and rivers with clear rocky bottoms. However, this one was on a window of a glassed in porch. They are not listed in the IUCN data. Fisherman refer to the adults as spinners. You just have to love the googly eyes of these winged insects. “All the better to see you with.”

I photographed the Jewelwing in strong sunlight using a Canon 60D with a Canon 100-400mm lens @ 390mm and exposed at ISO 500, f/11 @ 1250/sec. The current and future insect photos will be shot using a Canon 7D II with a 15-85mm Canon lens at 85mm. A ring flash attached to the lens will allow manual exposures @ ISO 100, ~ f/11 @ 125/sec., enabling me at get sharp images with relatively good depth of field on the insects.

 

SmugMug Joins Stephen Fielding Images

I’m happy to announce that going forward I will be posting all my new images on SmugMug. I think this platform has a better look and provides greater flexibility for managing images. The complete transition to SmugMug will take several months so during this period both platforms will be available.

Want to see it now? Go to SmugMug (or click on its tab on the header menu).