Monday, February 27, 2006

More mislabeled critters!

Back in October, I had found an obvious error in an insect book that was part of a popular children's science series. Well, today I found another mistake in a magazine ad.

While flipping through National Geographic this morning, this critter-filled ad for Go RVing caught my attention.

But on closer inspection, look at the mistakes!!

The Go RVing website has this same art on their banner, alternating with several other nice-looking banners with things like birds, fish, favorite campfire foods, etc. (You can refresh their page to see the different banners.)

On their banner, they have apparently realized that the toad is not a bullfrog, but they have also decided that the bullfrog is another kind of toad. And they still have the monarch caterpillar wrong. Sheesh! I wonder how many of the other items on the other banners are wrong, too? Who's responsible for this? Do they really think that nobody knows any different, or cares? And what about National Geographic, among other quality magazines that no doubt are running this same ad. This looks pretty bad on a magazine renown for its nature and animal articles. I wish I had nothing better to do than follow up on this one....

....and, dang it, those RV ads make me want to go camping!!!

Mantis Monday for 2-27-06

I have several praying mantis drawings made by my kids when they were little. This is probably the earliest by Michael, when he was 4 1/2.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Australian Prickly stick insect update

Here's my little ET stickbug. After several days of eating his eucalyptus leaves, he has lost his orange and black coloring, and is not moving around very much. I think he's getting ready for his first shed.

tadpole diary, day 14

Here is the big plastic jar that my tadpoles are living in.

He has his whole world in this jar, and look how happy he is!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A long-awaited hatchling

After checking every day for 4 months, this little monster greeted me today. He is from one of the three Australian Prickly Stick insect eggs that I bought at the insect fair last fall.

So far, he has been very active, running all over the inside of his container. I have put some different kinds of leaves in there, but I don't think he's eaten anything yet. I'll try to get some better pictures of him soon. And maybe his siblings will be hatching soon, too.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Tadpole diary, day 8

I have finally gotten my camera problems sorted out. I'm out of the movie biz for now. Too much thinking. My brain can't take it. Anyway, everybody has hatched, and most of them spend their time just hanging around the sides of the container or on the plant.

I have now put 3 tadpoles into a larger container that I will be keeping on my back porch. At this point, they are so tiny, and the container has lots of plants in it, so I may not be able to see the tadpoles again until they have grown a bit. The rest of the tadpoles will be distributed among my network of teacher friends.

Mantis Monday for 2-20-06

This is artwork from an ad for a natural pest control company. I don't remember the name, and it's several years old.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Tadpole diary, day 6

First of all I should say that, even though I haven't posted about them, the taddies are fine. For the last few days, their appearance has changed a little, but not enough to justify posting more pictures.

I have been trying to capture their little wigglings on video. My little Nikon point-and-shoot has a 30-second video feature that I have barely figured out how to use. I have managed to get a video of the blob of eggs, but the next step is getting it from my computer to this blog. To further complicate matters, I spent all this evening trying to puzzle this problem out on my own while the computer geniuses in the family were busy watching TV in the other room. The result is all this typing, no video (yet,) and in the meantime, the first of the baby tadpoles has left the blob and is now more or less independent.

...and...I'm not sure I can figure out how to turn my camera back into a regular camera again before the little guys starts sprouting legs.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tiny, exquisite snails

I like snails. They may be garden pests, but I think they look cool. And this morning at the arboretum, I found a variety I had never seen before. (Love it when that happens!!)

As much as I hate it, here's my finger for size reference.

Milkweed on the rebound

It's been just over a month since I posted about the devastated milkweed at the arboretum.

On January 13, it looked like this.

Today, there is fresh green new growth. The yellow aphids are gone.

The chrysalids are all empty.

And...some of that new growth is sporting new caterpillars.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tadpole diary, day 3

Tonight you can distinguish the heads from the tails. And every now and then, one will wiggle!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tadpole diary, day 2

The egg mass is still all bubbly. Maybe the embryos are doing it. In just one day, they have become elongated.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Tadpole diary

For the first time in three years, I have been able to collect a few frog eggs. These are Pacific tree frog eggs that I found this morning at a "new" (to me) location several miles from home. My once-favorite and closest frog-collecting place is now a neighborhood of ridiculously large and lavish homes. Other good, nearby frog places were literally swept away by the torrents of rain we received last year. This new place has a steady trickle of water from somewhere, and several slow, weedy areas where frogs can thrive and breed. I've been watching this spot for several weeks now, since some friends who teach at a school adjacent to the location told me about it. (Thanks, Lydia and Alice!)

Last night, I was hopeful that the combination of warm weather, good water supply and a full moon would make for some froggy romance. I drove over there, just to listen to see if I could hear them croaking. (I'm too chicken to actually look for frogs at night. It's too dangerous in the dark, and I'm too klutzy.) I was encouraged to hear lots of croaking, so I went back this morning, and sure enough, I found some eggs.

You can see in the picture that the egg mass is infused with lots of tiny bubbles. I think this is from all the jostling and jiggling they had to endure in transport. I'll try to post more pictures as they continue to develop

Mantis Monday for 2-13-06

Today’s Mantis Monday started out as the sharing of a single image, and has grown into an adventure of multi-hobby, multi-species and multi-national proportions! Here’s the story so far, in a rather large nutshell:

The picture above, of a praying mantis postage stamp, was sent to me by fellow bug aficionado and photographer extraordinaire Ethan Miller. (see his photoblog here) I thought it would make an excellent Mantis Monday submission, and I decided to search for a photo of this elegant, exotic species to go along with the stamp. It was then that I found a web page of praying mantis postage stamps from all over the world, which, in turn, was part of a whole large website of all kinds of insect stamps.

Anyway, along the bottom of the praying mantis stamp page, there were photos of some plastic model mantids. Cute ones I’ve never seen before. (That is, I’d never seen the models before. I am familiar with the species.) I especially liked the little orchid mantid, Hymenopus coronatus. I emailed the contact person (He’s in Japan) to see how on earth I could get one of those little plastic buggers for myself, and he replied that he would send it to me, in exchange for… postage stamps!… U.S. stamps, with birds on them.

So, Google was searched, eBay was utilized, and U.S. postage stamps with birds on them are now on their way to Japan. Hopefully my plastic mantid, along with some other little treasures to even up the trade, will be crossing the same airspace coming in the opposite direction!

Oh, and it turns out that the plastic mantids are part of a huge line of tiny, detailed animal figures sold in Japan inside a hollow chocolate egg. This article explains what Chocoegg is all about, although it is several years old, and after selling bazillions of the popular collectible creatures encased in chocolate shells, they are now doing the same with tiny model cars.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A predator with its prey

A jumping spider made a meal of this bee.

From this angle you can also see a tiny fly clinging to the bee.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mantis Monday for 2-6-06

I made this cute sticker into a refrigerator magnet.

No real bugs for a whole week? Just another piece of praying mantis-obelia for the week. I better get busy and find something interesting!
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