Sunday, October 13, 2013

Natural Selection

This week's assignment is to take photographs that depict ten adaptation categories; size, coloration-Mimicry, Coloration-Warning, Coloration-Hidden or Blended, Shape, Behavior - Advertising, Behavior-Nesting, Behavior-Warning, Behavior-Showy display, and Behavior-Food Gathering.
I headed out to the Bray Conservation area on this beautiful Fall day with my camera in search of some examples of each category. It was a beautiful afternoon with temperatures around 70 degrees.  It doesn't get much better than that!  I wasn't able to find all ten categories at Bray so I had to search back into my collection to fill in those I could not find.

First on my list was size.  I had no idea what I was going to use as an example of size as I wandered the trails. I stopped for a drink of water at the top of a hill and sat on a bench to enjoy the beauty around me.  I glanced down at my feet and saw this acorn.  It reminded me of a saying "Mighty oaks form little acorns grow" and gave me the idea for my first category. Oak trees can grow to a height of 120 feet.
I looked up and thought the view was interesting so I decided to take a photograph of this mighty white oak tree. It's leaves are just beginning to change color. 

My next photograph is an example of Coloration-Mimicry.  This photograph was not taken at Bray as I was unable to find anything that fit in this category while I was there. This photo was taken a few weeks ago on a road trip with a friend.  It was taken on a scorching hot day in September in a field of sunflowers in Lawrence, Kansas. Mimicry means that one species of animal resembles another species closely enough to deceive predators.  This is a Viceroy butterfly, and they mimic Monarch butterflies as a way of avoiding predators. Monarch butterflies are toxic to predators because they eat milkweed when they are caterpillars and if eaten will make the animal sick.

Next on my list is Coloration-Warning.  I took this photograph of a Milkweed Bug at Bray Conservation Area this afternoon.  I did some research in order to learn why an animal would be such a bright color that would cause them to stand out to predators. I found that they do this so that predators would know that they are not good to eat and can make them sick.  Warning colors tend to be some combination of red, yellow, or orange with some contrasting color. I thought these were rather pretty.

This photograph is an example of Coloration-Hidden or Blended.  This little frog was so well camouflaged that I nearly missed it.  Isn't it cute?  I love my zoom lens.  I was actually a distance away and was able to zoom in on it for this photo.

I had to really think about the category of shape.  I wasn't sure what I could use and then I remembered a photograph I had taken at Meramac Springs of some Rainbow Trout a month or so ago.  I decided that the shape of a fish would work just fine. Fish have a streamlined body that enables them to move through the water with ease.

When I thought about the advertising category I immediately thought about one of my favorite things, flowers!  Flowers advertise to insects to "come pollinate me".  I took this bee photo in early July.  It was a beautiful warm day and the bees were very busy working on this Rose of Sharon bush that is in my yard.  I loved how you could see all the pollen on the bee's legs and body.

  Colorful berries would also fit in this category.  They advertise to birds and other animals by telling them to come and have a nibble, we are sweet and taste good.  This helps to spread seeds when the animals eat them and leave their seeds in their scat later. (Photo taken at Bray Conservation Area Oct. 13, 2013)

My next category is Behavior-Nesting.  As I continued to walk the trails at Bray Conservation Area I happened to look up and see this squirrel nest.  Squirrels nest high in the trees in a nest made of small branches and leaves.  They build their nest in the fork between the trunk and a branch or between large branches.  I was able to zoom in to get a better look at its construction.

I was a little worried about the Behavior-Warning category, after all who wants to come across an angry critter?  I wasn't sure what I would find that fit this category.  I was walking along the pond at Bray when I came across these interesting looking beetles.  I'm not certain, but I think that they are stink bugs.  Stink bugs keep predators away by emitting a foul odor when they are  harassed or crushed.

Showy display is shown in this photograph of a male cardinal.  He uses his bright red color to attract a mate.  This is another photograph that was not taken at Bray.  This photograph was taken on a walk on the Acorn Trail in the Spring.

My final category is Behavior-Food gathering.  This is a picture of a hummingbird moth that I took during my visit to the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City.  I felt that it was a great picture to show this moth's proboscis which is an adaptation for getting nectar from flowers.

I also loved the transparent wings!  This little moth was very busy feeding on these purple flowers.  I was very excited to see one!

Well, that is all for now.  I hope you enjoyed my photographs and that they will inspire you to get outdoors and see what you can find.

I'll post again soon.  Thanks for dropping by.


  1. Your photographs are phenomenal! But what I like most is that you go back and research about the things you discover in nature. I wonder, do you do that with your students also. It really makes learning fun and based on experiences....experiences that will not soon be forgotten.

  2. Great job, you could use these pictures to create a powerpoint for your students that demonstrates various adaptations. Very impressive photos and post.