Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Montrose to Garfield

These fellows were hanging out on a milkweed plant at the Magic Hedge. Looking at this motley crew, what would you say - hemimetabolous or holometabolous? anybody? anybody? Seems like a quiz question....

Garfield Park had some things going on, especially back in the conservatory part. Thanks to Amanda with the chutzpa to just suggest we simply walk through the conservatory with our nets.

At the park's pond we found some various water bugs, beetles, water striders and damselfly larvae. And then these two kids found us. Clearly nature lovers from the looks of their nature-themed shirts.

Chris, as is his character, is spreading knowledge to every corner of the world, here to young minds as he busts this log open to catch some very quick irridescent beetles.

And look at all these aphids. Man , this plant is lousy (and kind of loused) with them, sucking away its planty life blood...

Alexandra won the award for "most unique" insect in catching this lacewing, Order Nueroptera. The stuff is out there!

And in closing, this installation art piece done by an anonymous fungus, perhaps a Basidomycete or "puffball." It looks like a lost prop from the Woody Allen movie "Sleeper." Nature is always stranger than anything we could dream of.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

bomb-sniffing bees

"LOS ALAMOS, NM - NOVEMBER 30: Tim Haarmann, principle investigator with the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory, checks on his bomb-sniffing honey bees November 30, 2006 at Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Using Pavlovian-like techniques, researchers are taking advantage of the bees' keen sense of smell and their love of nectar to produce weapons in the war on terror."
(from here)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Cyborg insects, controlled by computer.

Monday, September 22, 2008


If there is nothing else you can rely on in life, at least there are the autumn mantises of Chevalier Woods! They are out in force, The invasive and large "Chinese" mantis (I feel like a race traitor talking about them in these terms.... )were everywhere - you couldn't walk a meter without seeing one (or not seeing one is the case it was actually sitting there right in front of your nose and you were oblivious).

Some native Carolina mantises were out as well, and overall it was a good insect time. They were having a good time too and good be found eating bees and wasps with abandon:

In fact, looking at the top's of all the Queen's Anne's Lace it was like Cloud City of Star Wars fame, all the buzzing flies, wasps, bees, bugs and butterflies.

Monarch season did not disappoint either, at least if you were as diligent as Sam in tracking them down with net.

And Bumblebees? HUGE!

Kara also spotted a toad (a spotty toad at that) - and some snakes and even field mice could be found, depending on what kind of piece of wood you turned over

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

120 million year old ant still living!

German biologists have discovered a new species of ant they believe is the oldest on the planet, dating back around 120 million years.
"It's by far the most spectacular find of my 26-year career," said museum biologist Manfred Verhaagh on Tuesday.


Monday, September 15, 2008

mantids can take down humming birds

maybe this is old news, but i am still impressed.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The inaugural insect trip of the fall insect course went well! The dragonflies were the welcoming committee, hundreds flying all over acres and acres of Montrose Beach Park and the bird sanctuary as well. What was with this swarming? Theories are out there and there as numerous as dragoflies themselves (and of course obligatory YouTube footage is as well) but the jury may still be out.

They were still hard to catch, but the sheer number made it more possible than usual - like the endless herds of bison out on the western range back in the late 1800's, getting one was simply a matter of time to bag one.

Of course there are always all the "dragonfly" themed songs to keep one company of an autumn afternoon as well: like this one, a creepy anime bootleg one, and of course the best one by the band Vitapup.

Odd caterpillars, milkweed bugs, grasshoppers, wasps, bees, earwigs and all the like were also enjoying the park. It was a hexapodarific day for collecting.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"Theater of Insects" exhibit

This week (Sept. 2nd) in Washington DC at the National Academy of Sciences a very interesting photography show is opening up: The Theater of Insects. This exhibit shows the work of Jo Whaley
who photo-collages insects and environments into ambience of a six-legged kind.

Its hard to deny how photogenic these little beasts are. Tho see images from the exhibit, check out here!