Down by the riverside
Down by the Riverside…This song often plays in my head when I’m on photo safari along streams, canals or wetlands. And while I didn’t first meet my wife down by the riverside, I’ve always been able to find lots of beautiful insects. Most insects don’t like dry surroundings, so the water’s edge is always teaming with life.
First of all, any insect that has a larvae that lives in water, like mayflies, cane beetles, alder flies, dragonflies and damselflies, can be found nearby. The wet environment also has many flowers that attract other insects.
Many beginner photographers will head out to shoot on bright sunny days, but it’s usually better to leave the camera at home. If it’s warm, insects are very active and will not sit still. Also, full sun creates harsh contrast with deep black shadows. Cool weather with overcast skies is actually ideal. Because it will be a little colder, insects won’t fly away immediately, and even more important, the overcast sky provides a wonderful soft light.
Top left: This downy emerald (Cordulia aenea), a species of dragonfly, just came out of it’s larvae-skin.
Top right: The large red damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)
Middle above: Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Middle bottom: Leaf beetle (Donacia semicuprea) The larvae of this beetle live underwater and feed on waterplants.
Below left: Mayfly species (Ephemera vulgata Linnaeus) Mayfly larvae live underwater on the bottom.
Below middle: Crane fly (Tipula spec.) are often near water. The larvae (leatherjackets) live in the ground, and come out at night to feed on plants.
Below right: Alderfly (Sialis lutaria) These larvae also live in water, and you will usually meet the adults for the first time down by the riverside.