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Europe's largest water insect Ranatra linearis

 
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dunksargent



Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 209
Location: Cambridgeshire UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 5:32 am    Post subject: Europe's largest water insect Ranatra linearis Reply with quote

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




300 million years of evolution.




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.



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.




Best wishes

dunk
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Troels



Joined: 15 Feb 2016
Posts: 504
Location: Denmark, Engesvang

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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Troels Holm, biologist (retired), environmentalist, amateur photographer.
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dunksargent



Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 209
Location: Cambridgeshire UK

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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
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