An eating machine

Images of undisturbed subjects in their natural environment. All subject types.

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leonardturner
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

An eating machine

Post by leonardturner »

A.jpg
This late stage larval Tobacco Hornworm is a prodigious eater (and pooper), well into his defoliation of a tomato plant. It can be distinguished from the Tomato Hookworm by its diagonal white body markings and the harmless but scary looking red horn on the lower body.

B.jpg
After the vigorous eating session, the upper body reclined and he became temporarily relatively motionless, appearing to rest and digest.

C.jpg
Instruments of choice for decimating plant parts and stuffing them in; not pretty, but pretty effective.

Natural light, Nikon 105 macro

Leonard

NikonUser
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Re: An eating machine

Post by NikonUser »

Superb images.
Last image: those are the 6 true legs, have no function in feeding except to hold onto the plant. All feeding done with the mandibles, hidden in these images
NU.
student of entomology
Quote – Holmes on ‘Entomology’
” I suppose you are an entomologist ? “
” Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name.
No man can be truly called an entomologist,
sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
The Poet at the Breakfast Table.

Nikon camera, lenses and objectives
Olympus microscope and objectives

MarkSturtevant
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Re: An eating machine

Post by MarkSturtevant »

Beautiful pictures. I really like these!
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

leonardturner
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Re: An eating machine

Post by leonardturner »

My thanks to you both! I made an assertion based on an assumption, always a dangerous process, and I'm glad to know the truth. I wonder if there are any good images of mandibles; probably pretty difficult without dissection. I can attest to the effectiveness of his attaching mechanisms (are they comprised of both false and true legs?) I tried to remove this chap from the stem but was unable to do so without risking his destruction, and removed and banished the tip of the stem with him still attached.

Leonard

Sumguy01
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Re: An eating machine

Post by Sumguy01 »

=D> Very nice.
Thanks for sharing.

zook
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Re: An eating machine

Post by zook »

Very nice set, especially no. 3!

rjlittlefield
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Re: An eating machine

Post by rjlittlefield »

A lovely image!
leonardturner wrote:
Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:01 am
I wonder if there are any good images of mandibles; probably pretty difficult without dissection. I can attest to the effectiveness of his attaching mechanisms (are they comprised of both false and true legs?)
https://bugguide.net/node/view/974542 shows the mandibles of a related species. The dark brown toothed sections are only the hardened ends of the mandibles. The basal portions are green in this image, and stick back into the head where they are attached to massive muscles.

The legs shown in your images are the true legs. There are also several pairs of "prolegs" along the rear part of the abdomen. The prolegs are fleshy pads equipped with numerous sharp stiff hooks called "crochets". The pads can be hydraulically expanded to grip the stem. See for example my stereo macro at viewtopic.php?t=31879 . But note that the ones I show are for a different family. The arrangement of crochets varies systematically and is used for identification in some keys. For Sphingidae, the reference at hand (Moths of Western North America) says "Crochets are in biordinal mesoseries" , which means two rows running lengthwise, versus the single row shown in my photo. (The short brown stubs in my photo, forming a sort of second row, are actually the bases of the long hooks, partially hidden inside the pad.)

--Rik

leonardturner
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Location: Atlanta, GA, USA

Re: An eating machine

Post by leonardturner »

My thanks, Sumguy and Zook, and most especially Rik for the information and references; that was a superb stereo you made 4 years ago!

Leonard

hayath
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Location: Bangalore, India

Re: An eating machine

Post by hayath »

Fantastic images!
the texture on the close-ups is amazing, the "folded hands" makes them look adorable

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