Bugs on Basil

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

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rjlittlefield
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Bugs on Basil

Post by rjlittlefield »

Last fall my wife brought a basil plant inside from the garden, so we could have fresh herbs over the winter.

But of course some other things came inside with it, and over the last several months it has become apparent that we have a thriving ecology growing in the pot on the floor.

In this shot there appears a whitefly, one of the tiny wasps that parasitize the whitefly immature stages, and a small mite that essentially photobombed the scene in a fortuitous alignment with the whitefly and wasp that I was intending to shoot. (I did not even know the mite was there until I was processing the photo.)

For an earlier post about the wasps, see HERE .

IMG_0669_fp.jpg

Photo equipment was pretty minimal: Canon T1i camera with Componon 50/2.8 reversed on M42 extension tubes flocked with Doodlebug black cardstock, illuminated by the camera's built-in flash shining on a piece of Pec Pad that was rubber-banded to the lens and flipped up in front to be illuminated by the flash. Handheld, shot at 2X on the half-stop between f/4 and f/5.6, so effective f/14, cropped as indicated by the scale bar. This collection of gear was selected to be lightweight and maneuverable, since these critters move around constantly and randomly. I missed focus by a little, but sharpening just the subjects with Topaz Sharpen AI helped a lot.

--Rik

Edit 5/20/2022: add link to earlier post.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Bugs on Basil

Post by rjlittlefield »

I just couldn't resist showing the camera setup for this shoot:

IMG_0679b-fp.jpg

This has a certain back-to-basics vibe, but hey, it got the job done. Sometimes you don't need high tech.

One snippet not showing here is a piece of tape over the aperture window. With the lens reversed, there's actually no issue with the window leaking light, because it just leaks light from outside the lens to back outside the lens. But without the tape, it's way too easy to accidentally twist the lens and change the aperture setting. Taping across both rings prevents that. I use blue painter's tape because it peels off easily and cleanly.

--Rik

rjlittlefield
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Re: Bugs on Basil

Post by rjlittlefield »

A couple more shots from the same session...

IMG_0662_fp.jpg

IMG_0676_fp.jpg

The ratio of wasps to whiteflies is surprisingly large, probably more than 1:1 over the whole plant. The numbers suggest that it'll be a miracle if any whiteflies make it through the next generation. But these things have a long history of living together in a predator-prey relationship, so I figure that somehow it'll work out.

--Rik

leonardturner
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Re: Bugs on Basil

Post by leonardturner »

Rik, I really appreciate the detail in which you explained your layout. As I get (a lot) older, simplicity is gaining ever greater appeal. Nice shots, too.

Leonard

MarkSturtevant
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Re: Bugs on Basil

Post by MarkSturtevant »

Good shots. Whiteflies are curious insects and the terminology around their life cycle can raise some eyebrows. Although classified as now belonging with the hemimetabolous insect order Hemiptera - which are insects with nymphal juvenile stages - young whiteflies soon become legless and immobile and are described as being larvae. Their last immature stage carries out metamorphosis and this is marked by the larval cuticle becoming hardened, forming what is called a puparium, and inside is a pupa (!). Whatever the stages are called, the whitefly life cycle is weird. You can probably see these stages.
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

Adalbert
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Re: Bugs on Basil

Post by Adalbert »

Hi Rik,
But this deters vegetarians. So they get a salad with meat added :-)
BTW, great photos!
Best, ADi

rjlittlefield
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Re: Bugs on Basil

Post by rjlittlefield »

MarkSturtevant wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 5:08 am
Whatever the stages are called, the whitefly life cycle is weird. You can probably see these stages.
Indeed, quite weird.

I forgot to link here my post from a few weeks ago showing the earlier stages, viewtopic.php?p=281022#p281022 , in the thread titled "Black spiky extruded capsule".

--Rik

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Re: Bugs on Basil

Post by rjlittlefield »

Adalbert wrote:
Mon Apr 04, 2022 5:41 am
But this deters vegetarians. So they get a salad with meat added :-)
Indeed! I thought about entering one of these in a recent photo event about "Edible". But there were lots of other, um, marginal entries so I figured they did not need mine also.

As for my own meals, it happens that we have another basil plant that remains almost pristine. Probably we nibble a few eggs and larvae from time to time, but I figure a varied diet is a good thing! (When I was a kid, we often had dermestid beetle larvae in the flour. My mother had no concern about my including them in chocolate chip cookies, but she did ask that I sieve them out when making biscuits, solely to avoid the dark spots. You can perhaps see where I get some of my own quirks. O:) )

--Rik

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