Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Article
Published: 2011-06-10
Page range: 297–318
Abstract views: 163
PDF downloaded: 176

Photography of Trichoptera in flight

103 St. Michael’s Avenue, Nature’s Valley, P O Box 266, The Crags 6602, South Africa
Department of Freshwater Invertebrates, Makana Biodiversity Centre, Albany Museum, and Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6139, South Africa
Trichoptera Leptoceridae flight photography technique


Whereas photography of insects at rest is used for a wide variety of purposes, including illustrating publications and aiding their identification, photography of insects in flight is more challenging and little practiced. This paper describes a system that uses a digital single-lens-reflex camera combined with commercial-level flashes (with electronic power settings to give very short exposures) and simple electronics in a rig that can be used to capture high quality images of night-flying insects. With such a rig, hundreds of images of free flying Trichoptera have been obtained. Preliminary observations of night-flying Athripsodes bergensis (Leptoceridae) indicate that this system could be used for studying the mechanics of flight, wing beat frequency, aerodynamics, flying speed, aerial activity, and behavioural ecology of night-flying insects in their natural environment.

      This paper briefly describes the technique as applied at a site on the banks of the Groot River in the southern Cape region of South Africa between October 2008 and April 2009 and presents a selection of the images obtained.