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Sep 18 2012

Pareidolia Play Along 3: The Reveal

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger.

In this installment, Ellen reveals the answer to last week’s Pareidolia Play Along.

It’s a bee, a blue bee! The genus is Osmia, the species probably pumila. The disk-like thing in the center of the shot is called a tegula and is positioned just above where the wings attach to body. If I’d been the one to name that particular bit of bee anatomy, I would have called them epaulets.

When I took the shot, I thought my oh my, this looks like a painting.

I was teaching myself to take pictures through a microscope. When you do this kind of photography, depth of field is small. Only a small slice of the subject will be in focus in any one shot. So you take lots of photos, adjusting the focus as you go, and you use software to combine them.

There are fancy rigs that cost big bucks, that will take the stack of shots for blending automatically. I was doing it by hand and enjoying the changes wrought by each tiny turn of the focus knob. Living things are so beautiful. Insects are so beautiful, when you get a chance to really see them. You might have this very species flying around a tree outside your window some fine spring day, and never know it. You will see a little black speck and probably not even recognize her as a bee. So now you know.

Osmia Pear Intercept © Ellen Bulger

I took some pains to light her, to show just how lovely she is.

• Susannah is this week’s winner! Well I didn’t really fool anyone very much. You all knew you were looking at insect bits.

• ericblair and Nepenthe, She is not a dip. It was the color that threw you, yes, not the hairs? Bees are pretty hairy, except for the cleptoparasitic ones and a couple of oddballs who carry pollen in their crop.

• katkinkate, Yes an insect. But that’s an epaulet, err I mean a tegula, not an eye.  ;)

• machintelligence, Hey, can I help it if bees>dragonflies?

• Michaeld, Mess? She’s marvelous! If you examine her jaws, you will have reason to be impressed. Megachilidae are badass bees, They have awesome choppers.

• Sluglie, I too see spiders, pretty much everywhere. Probably it’s just flashbacks.

• Nathaniel Frein, Bees have compound and simple eyes both. Spiders have more eyes. They seem to have a whole damn array of eyes. Probably because they have no necks to turn. I don’t want your doubts make you feel cramped, go for the style points, not the accuracy points.

• Stevarious, Umber? Maybe a Cyan Hulk… Do they come in cyan? How about magenta?

• kim, Works for me. It is awfully blue.

• birgerjohansson, Shoggoths are much, much bigger. As for the Cirith Ungol, have you got a nice non-linnean* dichotomous key we can use to try to make a determination? (*seeing as how lovecraftian geometry is non-euclidean and all.)

• robb, I can work with foodelee-doodelee, especially when I squint my eyes at it!

• Leafhuntress, IZ NOT TEH pr0n. Bees aren’t so blatant about it, flying all around the pond all hooked up like they were auditioning for the part of this year’s friendship bracelet. Honey bees do, however make a popping sound after they mate. The drones do anyway. It doesn’t work out so well for them. But if it is bee pr0n that you want, here is some hot Megachilid secks.

Anthidium on Anthidium ACTION © Ellen Bulger

The male here is much bigger than the female. And unlike a honey bee drone, he does not die after one mating. He is a busy, busy bee.

• bksea, Hey diddle-dee-dee, a cryptobiologist’s life for me! I shudder to think how you’d get the sample…

• Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion, If the religious can claim knowledge based on what they want to be true, then I am claiming the knowing of this based on what I fear being true. And I fear you may be correct! Also, are you now, or have you ever been a pastamancer?

rilian, Strictly speaking, an insect not a bug. But a pareidolia play along is no place for precision. So yes, yes!

6 comments

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  1. 1
    michaeld

    I went with mess cause the photo was (probably intentionally) blurry as all get out. I’ve been in and TAed an invertebrate zoology lab. If I’d seen someone with that as their photo I’d probably have a talk with them about what they were trying to get out of it. I think its just hard to turn that off.

  2. 2
    maddog1129

    Hmm. I thought it was a plant. D’oh!

  3. 3
    Susannah

    Such a beautiful bee! I love the textures of the wing.

  4. 4
    embertine

    Interesting that the thingie is called a tegula. That’s a Roman word for a flat roofing tile which is sometimes overlapped (and also is a brand name for a type of block paving, which is where I had heard of it). I like it.

  5. 5
    Nepenthe

    I have no good excuses; it was the hairs. Since not many bees live inside other animals, I tend not to think about them. Thus, hairy insect = dip.

    Okay, sometimes I think about bees, but only as hosts.

  6. 6
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    • Stevarious, Umber? Maybe a Cyan Hulk… Do they come in cyan? How about magenta?

    Huh. Umber is a color. *mind blown*

    I really had no idea.

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