Aphid on nettle

Aphids are a garden pest; they feed by sucking the sap of plants and exude a sticky fluid called honeydew that encourages fungal growth. They are unusual among insects in giving birth to live young called nymphs, which look like miniature versions of their mothers.

This photograph shows a winged female feeding on a nettle stem. You can see the mouthparts penetrating the plant. She’s in the process of giving birth, and there is another nymph between her legs. Note also the stinging hairs on the nettle – they are the large ones with cylindrical glands at the base that hold the poison.

Canon MP-E 65 lens; Magnification x5; A 17-image stack processed with Helicon Focus.