Saturday, September 24, 2005

A Nice Snail

Here are a couple of views of a nice looking decollate snail. They actually eat the "regular" garden snails. I have managed to naturalize them in my yard. I think that means there is plenty for them to eat. This guy was out in the middle of the grass after a recent rainy day.

Beetles on Mars

These little beetles, (I think they're weevils) were climbing on the stucco wall of the outside of my garage, under the sodium light. The pictures look like beetles on Mars.

Three lined potato beetles

This year for the first time, I have spotted the eggs of these destructive pests. At first glance, the cluster of tiny yellow eggs looks like ladybug eggs, except when you look at them under magnification, they have a disctint "head" end, and also they appear extra shiny, even a little slimy looking. (which is fitting, since the larvae themselves are sort of slimy as well.)


Young larvae, working together to devour a leaf.

The thing that's so interesting (and gross) about these beetle larvae is the way they protect themselves. They feast on plants in the nightshade family, even though the leaves are loaded with natural toxins. It gives them "toxic poop", which they excrete from an opening in the middle of their back. The muddy-looking toxic poop blobs keep would-be predators from eating the little grubs. As a result, the plants can get damaged quite a bit.

Bigger larva with "protective layer".

Adult beetles are similar in size to ladybugs, and much cuter than their larval state!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Not aging gracefully

Only a few weeks ago, she was so beautiful. Now her eyes have these big spots on them. And it's difficult to hold her, because she grips down with those prickly front grabbers instead of holding herself up on her toes. It's so sad to see big mantids grow old.

I have decided that I'm not going to try to play "matchmaker" for them this year. I'm just holding on to this old girl for a couple more weeks. There's some kids I want to show her to. Then I'll let her go. Hopefully she will find a mate. Hopefully when we have our trees trimmed next month, the eggs will not be on the branches that end up in the chipper.


Visit the Fullerton Arboretum in the evening!

The arboretum is so rarely open late, and usually only for an exclusive special event. Finally, they have given us a precious few free evenings to enjoy. I would like to see this as a weekly thing for next summer.

Fullerton Arboretum

More evening bug shots

Remember these guys? I saw them for the first time almost a year ago, but not as many as I saw last night! They are genista moth caterpillars.

(These caterpillar shots were taken by Jerry)

Spiders don't get much prettier than this.

Stinkbugs in love. (and rather well camoflauged, too.)

Some katydid eggs (also by Jerry)

Mother Nature's pottery: Some kind of little wasp nest, I guess. It was only about the size of a garbanzo bean.

Another grashopper gallery

Looks like this little guy just ate a little window for himself.

Recently moulted.

Just green.

I like the way the sunlight was illuminating this one from behind.

Another attractive color/pattern.

A couple of face shots, above and below.

An adult too, for a change. I'm seeing lots of adult grasshoppers, too, but they are always the same color.

Grasshopper photo comparison

On the one hand, I feel a little redundant taking so many pictures of grasshoppers. On the other hand, this is my blog, and I really am fascinated by all their color morphs. Maybe it's an artistic thing. In any case, the following shots are of the same grasshopper under different lighting conditions. When I take bug pictures, (among other things), I am trying to keep that same look and feeling of "ooh, wow, that's cool!" Not being too educated in matters of photography, I'm pretty much just flying by the seat of my pants, point and shoot, hope for the best. And sometimes, I have a hard time deciding which picture best captures that feeling.

With the warm glow of the evening sun. (yes, I know it's not quite in focus. Too bad.)

Same shot, but I took this one with my own shadow blocking the light. So which picture has better color?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Look: I found another bug blog!!

Am I Bugging You Yet?

This was just added to Blogger's list of "blogs they've noticed lately."
(I'm just a little bit bummed they haven't noticed mine.) But that's OK.

Looks like this lady likes the colorful grasshoppers, too.

Speaking of which, I have a bunch of new photos, (including grasshoppers, of course) which I will post tomorrow. I still have to sort through them a little bit first.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Yes, I'm still here.

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted here. I've been busy with other things, like my art blog. Plus I was pretty much glued to TV and internet coverage of Katrina. I haven't had time to do much bug-hunting. I still have the two female mantids that I was saving to show people at the arboretum next month, but I found out yesterday that they're not going to have their big plant show next month with all the booths and displays, and there will be no Bug Safaris. Bummer. I will have one more Bug Safari in a couple of weeks, and that's it for the year. Then, I think I'll set my the mantids free.

One weird story: A few weeks ago, I was trimming some bushes in the back yard. I was trying to be careful, because I knew this guy lived in there. I didn't see him. After working outside, I went inside for a little while, looked at my email and stuff, and decided to do a little work out front. I was on my front porch, and I felt an itch inside my clothes. I scratched around a little, thinking a twig had gotten under my clothes, and what did I pull out? Yes, him! You don't want to know where I found him; I haven't a clue how he got there, or how I managed not to crush him.

He was mangled and weak, but he survived. He had one iffy-looking hind leg, but he had his final shed the other day, and the leg survived too. He has been living on a basil plant on my patio. Last night he caught a good-sized moth that just happened to fly within his reach. I expect that soon he will be flying away to find a mate.

There have been grasshoppers aplenty, in a rainbow of colors. After admiring them briefly, I have been feeding them to the mantids, the lizards, and my little yellow frog.
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