I’ve been enjoying taking pictures of the pollinators on the plants in my garden. It’s easy to spot butterflies and bumblebees in the garden and see some of their details with the naked eye. I find it hard to get a good look at many of the other insects without stopping their motion with a camera. Getting an in focus picture can be challenging, but I find the results rewarding and worth the difficulty.
Having a close-up image reveals interesting details. The feather-legged scoliid wasps have tiny hairs on their legs and rings of hairs around their abdomen. The fly in the last picture below has wicked looking pointed hairs on its body and strange looking mouthparts. I am calling them hairs because I do not know what else to call them. The great purple hairstreak below has an orange and blue body. A close-up image makes it easier to see behaviors such as how a butterfly extracts nectar from a flower.
I have been using iNaturalist to help identify them. According to the website at www.iNaturalist.org, “iNaturalist is an online social network of people sharing biodiversity information to help each other learn about nature.” I upload my pictures to iNaturalist and it makes suggestions on identification. I make the selection I think is most correct. If I can not determine which is correct, I select the highest taxonomic order for which I am comfortable. That can be as simple as identifying it as an insect. Knowledgeable people either confirm the decision or make a further identification. iNaturalist allows for uploading pictures of all life forms. I have used iNaturalist for posting microscopic life forms I found while doing oyster spat counts at the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM NERR). I took the pictures with my cell phone through the eye piece on the microscope.