[Week 43 – 25 Oct] The Phantom Ghost

[Log Friday 25th, October, 2019]

I was hesitant to start my ‘nature journalling’ for the day and just wanted to hug the bed for the rest of the day. Well … let just say I pushed myself and rather got unexpected results: 2 ROBBER FLIES! I have been wanting to see them live in action ever since I managed to find a female Stichopogon deserti back in Oct 2016.

Started the day with finding a lovely hudhud / hoopoe feather on the ground, till I noticed from the corner of my eyes a strange ant activity that is taking place. I plan to familiarize myself with ants as time goes by with the different species found in the UAE and their social/colony behavior fairly soon. The behavior I saw today was an aggressive interaction between black carpenter ant (?) and red imported ants (?). For some reason, the black carpenter seemed to target at random if any red ants happens to cross its path, and the way it was circling around, it is as if it was looking for a reason to be mad 24/7. It seemed like the red ants were moving its colony location nearby, but I still did not understand the aggressive behavior exhibited by the black ants, which seemed to kill and create a graveyard of the red ants. Another behavior the black ant exhibited was rubbing its ventral/mouth part on the concrete floor every time it caught something by its mandibles. It reminded me of dogs behavior whenever they start rubbing their chin on the floor as it could either be playfulness or to ease that itch. I enjoyed watching till I noticed mosquitoes were ensuing an attack looking for blood and decided to move on.

(see video below of the ant behavior)

I certainly have not expected to find robber flies today, and it honestly made my day. I believe the right identification for both robber flies is: Ommatius tenellus (based on Huw Robert image). I did not realize I captured two different individuals till I uploaded the images on the computer, and of a different gender … (((; ఠ ਉ ఠ)) – I wouldn’t have known if they were two males or females though

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Without a prey, they seem to hardly stay still in their perching spot. I relaid on automatic settings of the camera to take the shots for me as I was not quick enough to take proper pics (hence the female one, but I had raynox 250 on, which made it a bit more difficult.) Now that I know where to locate them, I will frequent the area and be on the hunt to find them and hope for a better + proper shoot!

I found various Diptera species – but I am not really able to identify and have not captured them all by camera. I am not fan of the Diptera species that fall under the spectrum of “house flies” morphology, though they make the best subject to practice your photography on in my experience as they tend to be very stationary once they settle on a spot for some time.

I really like it when I stumble upon spiders, I always find them fascinating. I am happy that my identification skills are much better than before thanks to Twitter account @RecluseOrNot & UAE Spiders website. I spotted this spider that I initially thought it was a fishing spider due to its coloration and pattern, but boy was I wrong (… and how could it be a fishing spider anyway?). It turned out to be a Wolf Spider – Pardosa sp. (based on the image provided in UAE Spiders). I practiced manual photography on it, not sure if it was a female or male, but looked like a female as the abdomen inclined toward a rounder shape than slender. I couldn’t see the pedipalps properly as well.

After the spider scurried away to the grass, I decide to poke the water hose because I tend to find insects lodged underneath most of the time.

This time however, I decided to look closely at the water hose and the crawling organism that seems to prefer commute across it…? Turned out it is full of black looking mites (or ticks).

…. oh, and the phantom transparent insect that caught my eyes initially. It reflected in yellow color with the sun (maybe because of the hose too?), but through the camera lens and image, its quite pale transparent in coloration. No idea of the species, but could be a book louse?

Took a video as well just for the sake of it while trying to focus manually


Ant Behavior Video:

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