Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chicago = Mosquito Heaven

Surprisingly hot weather and heavy rainfall has resulted in Chicago having a 20 year peak in the summer mosquito population (I can personally attest to the fact: they are bad this year!).

The season has now shifted to Culex species of mosquito that carries West Nile virus, with the first human case in the region just being reported.

All this buggy and biting news makes me think of the classic comic by John Porcellino, Dairy of a Mosquito Abatement Man, which chronicles his own experiences working the mosquito-ridding beat in Chicago land back in the 1990's... If only John was in Chicago to join the fight!


Thursday, August 12, 2010


On a recent visit to Shikoku, Japan I found myself bathed in cicada songs. In Japan the biodiversity of cicadas is quite something in terms of size, coloration, and indeed song. Some even sound like birds calling! Occasionally one could spot a cicada (like to the right), but it was tricky as they are usually either very well camouflaged, very high up a tree, or both.

Finding their old clothes, however, was much easier. Hanging lightly on tree bark and across the ground their molted husks from being a pupae could be easily spotted, delicate but colored like amber.