Zenfolio | Photography by Dan Quinn | 9/17/2016 Butterfly in Dewdrops: Fall Ant Survey
Visitors 101
Modified 21-Sep-16
Created 21-Sep-16
22 photos

Each spring and fall, Jasper Ridge surveys for ants. This is an interesting event: we look at places spaced on a grid, 100 meters apart — so we go places not usually seen if you stay on the trails. (as you should!) This year, I visited the ridge, along Road F.

By the time we arrived at the ridge, it was after 9 am. Fog still covered the sky; the grassland was speckled with dewdrops. Banded garden spiders had set up their large vertical webs, and were waiting patiently near the centers, waiting in vain for a passing insect. In vain, because the insects were themselves bedecked with dewdrops, too heavy to fly -- waiting for the sun to come out and dry them off, before starting their day.

Quickly, I captured some images: spiderwebs in dew, backlit; a grasshopper, wet with dewdrops; and an acmon blue butterfly on a thistle. It was covered in tiny jewels, tiny spheres of dew. Each dewdrop was a lens, showing what lay beyond, inverted.

Suddenly, the fog lifted. Blue sky, lovely day. The dewdrops evaporated. I looked for the spiders and their webs, but could not see any. The day had started. Good luck, spiders!

I captured a few more images before the light became flat toward the middle of the day. Then I gave my full attention to the ant survey. We did find ants at most of our 11 survey points!
Ant Surveyors, Fall 2016Grassland in Heavy Fog with SpiderwebsDew-covered SpiderwebSpider in Dew-bedecked WebSpider in Dew-bedecked Web (Closer)Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) in DewBanded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) in Dew (Detail)Butterfly on ThistleButterfly on ThistleAcmon Blue Butterfly (Plebejus acmon), Covered in DewAcmon Blue Butterfly (Plebejus acmon), Covered in Dew (Detail)Dewdrop Lenses on Butterfly AntennaeDewdrop Lenses on Butterfly Antennae (2)Dewdrops on Butterfly WingDew-bedecked GrasshopperDew-bedecked Grasshopper (2)Lifting Fog on the RidgeLifting Fog on the Ridge (2)Decaying Log, Poison OakSerpentine Rocks in Grass