09.26.2019 Painted Lady and the Assassin

Sounds like a mystery novel, eh?  🙂  But it’s just two more insects from our yard.

The Painted Lady-Vanessa cardui was dining on the asters when I checked on them again yesterday afternoon.  I photographed one the other day while doing a house call for the day job and it was much more patient a model, but this one was flitting about and always, it seemed, behind some of the flowers making it difficult.  The asters grow in a corner of our vegetable garden so I was running in and out of the garden gate trying to get a clear chot.  This was the least obscured view.

Another fresh specimen, it won’t be around here much longer as this species also migrates to Mexico.

We have several plantings of sedum in the yard and this one bunch had a not very well hidden orange assassin bug-Pselliopus cinctus lolling atop the flowers.

I think it was nectaring up while waiting for more meaty prey to happen by.  Their main source of food is other insects but who doesn’t have a sweet tooth?

Happily, things insect related have picked up in the yard lately.  It’s been a quiet summer out there and now that more insects are appearing it is the end and pretty soon they’ll be gone until spring.

About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
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21 Responses to 09.26.2019 Painted Lady and the Assassin

  1. Ann Mackay says:

    Beautifully detailed shots! I was intrigued to see the two small blue dots on the painted lady’s lower wing – never got close enough to see those before!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We can paraphrase your last comment: the most effective insecticide is winter.

    I’ve often noticed how inconsiderate butterflies are in the way they land behind an obstacle, face the wrong direction, or keep fluttering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For the most part they are not at all accommodating. Maybe it’s a survival instinct that keeps them moving. But at times they stand still and make for good models.


    • I am not much of a fan of insecticides except when it comes to disease carrying mosquitoes and ticks. However, they are more effective than winter for those who wish to kill insects as many insects overwinter quite well, surviving underground as larvae or in between rough bark, or burrowing under leaf litter, etc. Some have chemical reactions inside their bodies that lowers their freeze point so they just slumber the season away. I am always a happy photographer when spring wakes them and they dawdle along in their waking stupor.


  3. Worth the effort. I share Steve’s observation about flutterbys. I would not want to mess with the assassin.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A very nice pic of the Painted Lady. It shows its identification really nicely. I see the four dots showing in the underwing which distinguishes it from the American Lady which has two dots on the underside- I believe. I have had both species in the fall- three- four years ago. I had an absolute hellacious time trying to keep up with who was who, so that I had a record of both species. Those pics are all somewhere in my photo files that I can not access because I have not a clue of how to work the system of the my new W10. But one day I will hire someone the teach me what to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve avoided upgrading to W10 to this point. Mary Beth has W8 on hers and it can be troublesome. I’ll have to eventually but W7pro has been good.
      Yeah, close relatives can be hard to discern sometimes. Moths are even harder as there are tens of thousands and for quite a few the difference is very subtle.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. shoreacres says:

    Ha! I’ve got W7pro with the service pack, too, and it’s been entirely trouble free (can you hear me knocking on wood?) When I had my new system built, the gurus said it was the only way to go, Windows-wise, and it seems they were right.

    I had an assassin bug nymph living on a Texas nightshade on my patio for a while. The plant itself was a volunteer, so I didn’t mind the assassin bug eating it up, bit by bit. I didn’t realize they’d eat plants, but that one certainly did. Now I’m going to have to check my butterfly photos to see if my painted ladies actually are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I “designed “ my computer with Puget Systems, default was W8. I had heard some bad reports so paid an upcharge to go backwards to W7 Pro. With all the trouble folks had with 8, I spent my money well. When the time comes that MS no longer supports 7P or if my computer needs replacement, currently five years old, then I will have to move on up.

      I guess assassin bugs are like beagles, they’ll eat anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pete Hillman says:

    Lovely detailed shots Steve!


  7. Andrew says:

    Terrific photos Steve. The insects are not so easy to find here now but happily migration has started so I just switch from bugs to birds. The Painted Lady is a cracker.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am partial to butterflies, as they are nectarivorous, but the zebra legs and antennae of this predominantly carnivorous assassin bug are rather astounding!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bluebrightly says:

    I should be more open, but I’m going to pass on the assassin bug. 😉 The Painted lady – yes! I love their underwings. They have more intricate detail and subtle color gradations than I could digest in hours of gazing. Wonderful.


    • I recognize that not everyone appreciates the less attractive members of the insect world. I do find them fascinating although not enough to go full entomologist. I was happy that our asters were receiving so many butterfly visits. Painted ladies are gorgeous.


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