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Cannibalflies Mating

Dude! Dude!

I spotted these Red-Footed Cannibalflies in the garden when I saw the bottom one trying to escape. He(?) was firmly attached and wasn't going anywhere, so he eventually gave up and dangled. (Cue me yelling "Kevin! Kevin! Get the camera!" and him muttering "This is my life...")

The really amazing thing is that the top one had another, smaller robberfly, of a different species, and was eating it. It's mostly hidden by the flower there, you can sort of see the edge of an eye. Apparently in some robberflies, the males will bring an offering to the females, possibly to avoid being eaten, so that may be what happened here. She didn't seem to care that there was a male almost her size dangling off the back.

(I am starting to think I really do need to fork over the money for a good macro-lens. This was taken with my iPhone and I don't know if the camera shots will have come out, given how far away he had to stand to get the focus.)

There are a LOT of robberflies in my garden this year. I think we may have hit some kind of tipping point in insect population where it can now support large numbers of insect predators, because I don't remember ever seeing anything like this quantity before. We've always had dragonflies, but this is wild.

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That picture is amazing. For a phone it is a very good camera, in fact it now looks like you have a camera that can make calls too. As and when you do get the same sort of lens for your camera it will be interesting to see which bit of tech gets the best results.

I agree that your pictures are coming out very well, cellphone or not. My 100mm Canon macro lens  might give somewhat sharper images, but it is so big and awkward that it would miss a lot of these great behavior shots that you are getting.

I love your garden journals so much. You've been a direct inspiration to me to get out and garden in my postage stamp and I thank you. Yesterday I found my first cucumber!!

On a different take, I remember you bewailing getting Smashwords to cooperate with formatting for Nine Goblins? I'm researching self pubs for my first novel and would very much like your opinion on formatting and only formatting. I've already taken your post about self pub in general to heart. (^_^)

RE: That is so cool!

...honestly, I kinda gave up on the meat grinder. I use Scrivener (which is weird! And frequently generates spaghetti formatting!) and export from there to Calibre and then to various sites. I've found that Draft2Digital gets everything out faster than Smashwords, so I go through them now.

Kindle's 90% of everything, but I keep all the others up for people who may love me but not Amazon.

Draft2Digital. Thank you. Your ebooks are beautiful and easy to read, so I'll be looking into that.

Um, I would very much like to send you a copy once it's formatted and published. It might not be to your liking, but you've been a great inspiration to me both in writing and gardening and this is the best thank you I can come up with. Would that be all right?

Re: That is so cool!

Absolutely! I'd be delighted!

Those guys are just splendid! Minnesota has three or maybe four robber flies, but nothing this fancy.


There are outfits like LensProToGo (used them multiple times) who rent lenses. You can try one out for a few days and decide if it's really what you want. I generally do this with big telephoto lenses, but I'd be astonished if they didn't have macro stuff too.

She's quite the little multi-tasker!

.....so this wasn't just a date, it was dinner and a show too? Nice!

And now you make me seriously want to find something like this for my phone too.

Depending on the lenses you already have for your DSLR, you might want to try an extension tube. This is simply a tube that fits between your lens and the camera. It can radically shorten focal distances. With the kit 18-55mm lens on my Nikon D5000, a 25mm extension tube shortened focal distances to a couple of inches. There are lots of trade-offs, but they cost less than a tenth of a decent macro. Just do some research in advance, some of the cheap alternatives either don't let you use any of the automatic features of your lens, or can attach themselves to your lens in such a way that surgery is required. (I have a disassembled 25mm Vivitar extension tube to prove it.)

the things some males will do for love . . . it's a great shot, though!

I can't speak for all the different types of dragon flies but I can definitely say there has been a huge increase compared to last year - don't know if it was the long drawn out winter (New Hampshire) or what.


So I watched "The Great Escape" last night (it was very good, I just didn't realize it would be three hours!) and the prisoners mentioned that they are calling it tunnel seventeen because it's the seventeenth one they've dug... And suddenly I was thinking about a certain wombat.

That's such a great photo! :D

I keep being impressed with how good your phone pic are... and that you don't keep it with you while you garden for this reason alone. One of the reason I carry my not-loved celluar device everywhere with me is that it's a really really GOOD camera for getting candids and quick up close details.

You interrupted a very romantic moment, Ursula.

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