Monday, September 25, 2006

Mantis Monday for 9-25-06

Brice drew this picture when he was 4, I think. The mantis is jumping on one of those gymnastic"horses."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Blog catch-up

I've been really lazy about updating, even though I have still been taking pictures.
So here are a few recent things:

ET had her final moult. See her little wings?

Seon has these cute green grasshoppers at her house. I don't have this kind here.

Here's a blurry view through the container of one eating (and smiling!!)

This is a little white checkered skipper I saw on my plants last weekend.

I tried to make this swallowtail caterpillar extend its "stinkhorns"

This faterpillar (fat+caterpillar) was multi-tasking.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mantis Monday for 9-18-06

I bought this life-size mantis at the arts and crafts store. He's made of wire and silk, and he was in the aisle with the artificial fruit and little feathered birds.

He is very fragile, and has deteriorated over the years. His antennas fell off a long time ago, and I replaced them with a couple of Boomer's dog hairs (!) for his photo shoot. Since then, I have left this mantis on one of my plants on my front porch, even though it will probably only hasten his deterioration. And even though he doesn't look that real, his size and positioning have been tricking me on a regular basis.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Mantis Monday for 9-11-06

This is a little sterling silver pin that I bought for myself at the gift shop of the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

A little moth

My parents yard has generally been pretty devoid of interesting insects since just about forever. I don't know why. Even when I was a kid, the selection paled in comparison to our old house, where my love for bugs began. So I was glad to see this little moth flying around the towering old juniper bushes. He was upside down, above my head. That's why the angle seems so weird. I don't know what it is, but I think it might be a Geometrid species. It has a lovely pattern to it, though.

The joy of grasshoppers

I never get tired of looking at all the colors that gray bird grasshoppers can be. The adults are always the same dull brownish-gray, but the young ones have tremendous variation.

Usually, they are masters of camoflauge, but on these magenta-colored leaves, they just can't come close. This plant at the arboretum is always a good place to find them.

This guy has leg spots to match the markings on the leaves.

I especially like the dusty gray ones.

Here's a "basic green" one, illuminated from behind by the setting sun, just like the leaf.

There is even variation in the green ones. This one had darker green highlights.

A moment of elegance in a bug's life

In my grasshopper observations at the arboretum the other day, I came upon this big brown gray bird nymph that matched the dead leaves that she was resting on.

What I didn't realize was that she was nearly ready for her final moult. When I returned the following morning, I found her hanging beside her old skin, her new wings just stretched out, pale and soft. Her color still matched the dead leaves, if only for a while.

She had an "onlooker", a much smaller nymph who just happened to be there, but he appeared to be watching her with interest.

About half an hour later, her wings had folded neatly. This morning, I returned to the arboretum to find her still there, but her coloring had turned the dull grayish brown that all gray birds wear. (and I didn't have my camera.)

Living the good life...upside down

I came across this mantis just as he was finishing his lunch, and cleaning up afterwards.

What are you lookin' at?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A parasite makes it's appearance

A couple of nights ago, I collected some more anise weeds to feed Mrs. W's caterpillars. While I was at it, I "accidentally" collected a few more tiny caterpillars. I decided to keep them, since we will be having 2 bug-themed events at the arboretum later this month, and they will be a welcome addition to the display table for the children to see.

One of the caterpillars was bigger than the others, but still tiny. Yesterday, I noticed it looked bigger. Fatter. It didn't appear to be eating, and I thought it might be getting ready to shed its skin. First thing this morning when I checked on it, I thought I had actually caught it in the act of moulting, and got my camera. On closer inspection, I was bummed to see that a parasitic wasp larva had just emerged from the caterpillar's body, and was putting the finishing touches on its cocoon.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Enjoying my stapelia flower

After waiting for 3 or 4 years for my little cutting to grow into an actual plant, I have my first stapelia flower. And I'm not the only one that appreciates it.

The first night after it opened, a slug came to check it out. I like how the slug and the flower have similar spots.

The flower has a kind of putrid smell, (but not too overpowering.) The flies like it. A green bottle is in the lower right corner.

Here's a big flesh fly. He hung around for a long time.

I love it when the bugs look like they're smiling!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Berkeley's Anise Swallowtails

Everything you need to know, and more, about Anise Swallowtails

Mantis Monday for 9-04-06

This is the third plastic mantis that I received in trade for bird-themed postage stamps from the guy in Japan. (How that whole thing started) It comes on its own little plastic log.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

ET 9-03-06

I assembled this little photo 4-square of ET this morning. She is scary-big now, but soon will shed her skin one last time and be bigger still.

Beauty even in death

Hatched and gone.

I noticed these eggs the other day, as I was peering up into the crepe myrtle tree and getting peed on by sharpshooter bugs. I didn't realize until after I took the pictures and could see them up close that all the little bugs (maybe stinkbugs?) had already split their natal skins...and split.
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