These images were taken during a trip with Ted MacRae and Chris Brown this past April at Tingler Prairie Conservation Area in Howell County, MO. The first shows an exceptionally colored spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) in peak bloom.
This beetle larvae was something I had read about for years. Ted found several oak twigs that the mother beetles prune to serve as safe nurseries for their developing offspring as they rest on the forest floor. Ted delicately opened up the gallery to expose its occupant so we could take some photos.
These Buprestid beetles were gorgeous as they foraged in the wood sorrel. Once in a while, they would stand still long enough to let us photograph them.
Finally, we found this black rat snake as it attempted to climb a tree near the trail. Maybe caught a whiff of something higher up?