Nature Pictures 3
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17. Pink Cactus
Sorry I can't name this one. I was on a trip through the desert southwest for the first time and it was 110F, in the shade, everyday! I have no idea how this beautiful cactus kept from bursting into flames! Photo taken near Portal Arizona on 6 August 2003.
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18. Micropezidae
These are know as the stilt legged flies. They lay their eggs in rotting logs. I've seen this species wave its white tipped forelegs in the air while it inspects a log. When it does so, it looks very much like a particular parasitic wasp which exhibits the same behavior, only using its antennae. Photo taken in Capen Park, Columbia, Missouri on 23 July 2004.

19. Syrphid on a Pink
This is a small hover fly on a Fire Pink. The little guy is not much more than a quarter inch long and harmless, but is colored to resemble a bee or wasp. Photo taken in Capen Park, Columbia, Missouri on 20 June 2004.
 
20. Blue Racer
I was placing a cache in Cosmo Park, Columbia, Missouri when I found this beautiful snake in a cedar tree. Its eyes were frosted indicating a molt was about to occur, so I had the opportunity to take a few photos. Only a very small section of the photo is actually in focus, coupled with the "flow" of the snake, I think this is a really cool photo. Taken 13 June 2004.

21. Anax junius
This is a spectacular specimen of a male Common Green Darner dragonfly. This species is found throughout the United States and Canada. Note the white leading edges of the wings, bright blue on the face and base of the abdomen, green thorax, and maroon abdomen. Photo taken in Three Creeks CA, Boone Co., Missouri on 31 May 2004.
 
22. Tachopterxy thoreyi
Can you see it? This is an immature of the Grey Petaltail dragonfly. It is a somewhat rare species, and can only be found in seeps or fens. The adults are very large and will even land on people (especially if you are wearing a white shirt), but the immatures are very hard to find. This is exactly how I found it after removing the leaf with which it was covered. Its centered and facing left in this photo which was taken in Benton County, Missouri on 12 June 2004.

23. Tortoise Beetle
This beetle is in the family Chrysomelidae. Its front wings, which form the hard covering over its thorax and abdomen, are transparent, making it look like a skinny beetle caught in a droplet of water. Photo taken in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, Thailand on 16 May 2003.
 
24. Parasite
This is an ichneumonid wasp which is attempting to parasitize a caterpillar hanging from a single thread of silk. I happened upon this lucky sight while seeking a Geocache in the Mark Twain National Forest, Boone County, Missouri on 9 May 2004.
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