Posts Tagged ‘molting’

Black snake

April 3, 2016

A black snake was spotted in a thorny thicket of greenbrier (Smilax sp.) during a photowalk along Barnyard Run at Huntley Meadows Park on 30 March 2016.

A black snake spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is either an Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) or Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor).

This individual is either an Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) or Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor). I’m guessing the snake is a Northern Black Racer, as indicated by the coloration on the underside of its body. Expert opinions are invited and welcome!

A black snake spotted at Huntley Meadows Park, Fairfax County, Virginia USA. This individual is either an Eastern Ratsnake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis) or Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor constrictor).

Notice the milky blue/blue-gray color of the snake’s eyes, especially noticeable in the preceding photo. This may indicate the snake is pre-molting, that is, it’s getting ready to shed its skin.

Tech Tips: Photos like these illustrate why I prefer to shoot using single-point focusing and spot metering. In this case, I looked for a “window” through the vines and placed the focus point on the snake’s eyes/head.

Copyright © 2016 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Spider exoskeleton

February 12, 2015

A spider exoskeleton (after molting) was spotted during a photowalk along the boardwalk at Huntley Meadows Park. The exoskeleton is probably from a species of fishing spider, possibly a Six-spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton). The smaller insects are water striders, possibly in the Family Veliidae.

Spider exoskeleton (after molting)

26 September 2014

The following fishing spider was spotted for several days in the same location as the exoskeleton. It’s possible, perhaps probable, the exoskeleton formerly belonged to this individual.

Fishing spider

15 September 2014

Editor’s Note: Thanks to Ashley Bradford, amateur naturalist/photographer extraordinaire, for identifying the spider exoskeleton and water striders.

Copyright © 2015 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.


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