Europe's largest water insect Ranatra linearis

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dunksargent
Posts: 227
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:50 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire UK

Europe's largest water insect Ranatra linearis

Post by dunksargent »

Another visit yesterday to study pond life at the Langdyke Countryside Trust's 'Swaddywell Pit Nature Reserve' near Peterborough UK where the first insect spotted approx. 3m from the pond edge was Europe's largest water insect, Ranatra linearis

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300 million years of evolution.


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The second image shows the moment when the water stick insect suddenly submerged before manoeuvring and disappearing under the leaves. Compared to other pond insects, Ranatra linearis is huge … over 7cm from head to tail end … plus the length of its front legs displayed 'mantis-like' in the first photo. The insect flies and uses its two front prehensile legs to capture its prey. The long tail is a breathing tube … used as an underwater snorkel. Note the 'shadows' of the two legs on the leaf.

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Again used the ancient Novoflex Noflexar T 400mm f5.6 achromat with Novoflex trigger operated 'follow focus' mount coupled to a Leitz R bellows and Leitz R 2x APO extender … with Leica SL 601 full frame mirrorless camera. Resultant 800mm lens plus bellows enables close-ups of insects which are active on the 'middle of the pond' foliage. The 4ft x 2ft plywood sheet enables safe tripod use at the very edge of the pond. Yesterday the usual Jobu gimbal was not used … a Novoflex 'fork mount' on a small Gitzo tripod was substituted and it worked quite well.


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Best wishes

dunk
And now for something completely different.

Troels
Posts: 516
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:06 am
Location: Denmark, Engesvang
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Post by Troels »

What a pleasure to meet that strange fellow again.
Luckily you were at the right place at the right time. I believe is is rare to see them out of water.

When I studied fresh water biology I had a pond aquarium and happened to get some juvenile Ranatra by accident.

I had much fun watching them (well - soon only one) grow. I have several times seen them catching prey just like a Mantis.

I even took some very unique pictures. Of course on Codachrome 64 diasfilm.

That reminds me - I must get some of those old slides digitized.

Thanks for sharing.
Troels Holm, biologist (retired), environmentalist, amateur photographer.
Visit my Flickr albums

dunksargent
Posts: 227
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:50 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire UK

Post by dunksargent »

Troels wrote:What a pleasure to meet that strange fellow again.
Luckily you were at the right place at the right time. I believe is is rare to see them out of water.

When I studied fresh water biology I had a pond aquarium and happened to get some juvenile Ranatra by accident.

I had much fun watching them (well - soon only one) grow. I have several times seen them cathing prey just like a Mantis.

I even took some very unique pictures. Of course on Codachrome 64 diasfilm.

That reminds me - I must get some of those old slides digitized.

Thanks for sharing.
Troels, I hope it's possible to find more specimens … I'd like to photograph a side view. Fascinating insects.

Best wishes

dunk
And now for something completely different.

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