Sunday, October 31, 2004

Spiders: Creepy and delightful for Halloween

This seems like as good an excuse as any to post a few of my favorite spider pictures. Some of them are a couple of years old.

A young green lynx spider moults.

Hanging out to dry.

Araneus spider

Crab spider. This is one of my favorite pictures from last year.

White female crab spider

Male of the same species

Spider romance. The much-smaller male embraces the female.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Hope for next year

This was a female that I did not originally keep in captivity, but I had marked her with 2 tiny dabs of green paint, and I kept tabs on her in my yard. She survived some serious rainstorms and temperatures that may have dropped into the lower 50's. Maybe even in the upper 40's. (That's actually pretty cold for this area at this time of year.)

Anyway, I felt sorry for her, having to endure the weather. Almost to the end of her life cycle. I brought her in and fed her. This afternoon I could hear her, restlessly scratching away at the side of her jar. Tonight I returned from an event at the arboretum to find her beginning an egg sac.

I don't know if she had mated, but hopefully, there will be more baby mantids next spring.

Ootheca in progress.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Other people's bugs

I continue to be amazed and delighted that there are other people who share my interest in bugs! Here's a guy who takes some really cool pictures of bugs and other nature stuff.
Ethan's Blog: Praying Mantis

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Look what the rain washed up.

It's a gray and soggy day. I just looked outside to see scores of earthworms, driven from their saturated homes, forced to cruise the concrete in search of drier ground.

Stranded earthworms in the driveway

Another casualty of the weather was this big Black Widow spider, who apparently tried to take refuge under our mailbox. (She was not living there before. I would have known about it!) I don't normally kill spiders, but in this case I made an exception. Sorry.

My mailbox

Too close for comfort!

This is why I call it "Bug Safari"

It's my favorite job at the arboretum, and the reason I signed up to become a Nature Guide. I take kids around and we just look for whatever bugs we can find. Of course, I try to locate stuff beforehand, so I can take them to areas where they will find something interesting.

This past weekend, we started out behind the Heritage House, where there is a good-sized square planter that the kids can access from all sides with their bug nets. There were bees, stinkbugs and harlequin bugs, an inchworm, several grasshoppers and katydids, and a pretty yellow crab spider.

Then, on to the deciduous woodland, where there were an abundance of box elder bugs in all sizes running around in the leaf-litter.

From there, the thorn forest, where a Green Lynx spider was guarding her egg case while eating a bee. Several other bushes along the way had miscellaneous and variable critters. Not too many butterflies. Not enough sun for them. But all in all there was enough for the kids to see, and I was able to contain it to about 30 minutes per tour.

I didn't have time to take pictures during the safaris, but I went back on Monday, to get shots of the grasshoppers, as part of my continuing series on grasshopper color variation:

Classic green


2 nymphs

Dark nymph

The Green Lynx spider had caught another bee, too.

Monday, October 11, 2004

More on grasshopper coloration....

I noticed a few more grasshoppers in my desolate and neglected side yard. Despite the harsh conditions, they have managed to survive, and have camouflaged themselves accordingly.

Side yard wasteland

This grasshopper matches the dead weeds.

This one blends in with the dirt.

Little dirt-clod nymph

A mottled brown nymph jumped onto the wall.
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