Friday, June 22, 2007

Beach Bugs

From Sonoma Coast State Beach. More pictures here.

Northern California bugs

I am in Northern California this week, Sonoma County. Brice is doing his internship at a local business up here. (Details about this do not fall within the normal bug-related topics of this blog, but if anybody wants to know more, just say so in the comment section, and I'll reply by email.)

Anyhoo, here I am basically keeping myself busy during the day while Brice is working, so I have been finding nice places outdoors and taking pictures of bugs I find. A pre-trip check of revealed very few listings of bugs from this area, so I didn't really know what to expect. I have been pleasantly surprised, though. Here are a few highlights.

This was my first Sonoma County bug, and it turns out, these beetles seem to predominate, and devour, many plants around here.

At Crane Creek Regional Park, ticks like this one positioned themselves on tall grass stalks with front legs outstretched, the better to grab ahold of a passing host. After I saw this one, I began obsessively checking my pant legs every so often, and I did find a few to flick away.

Sonoma spider solitude

Still need to find out what this is. There were lots of them.

A ladybug with stripes

More pictures from my visit to Crane Creek Regional Park can be seen here. I find that when I have lots of pictures, it's easier to put them up on Flickr than on Blogger.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

It's a spider-eat-spider world

In my garage tonight.
With a generous side-order of dog hairs.

The magnificent bug poster

When Kim, the leader of the nature guides, asked me for pictures of bugs to display in the arboretum's new Nature Center, I put a bunch of them together in Picasa as a picture grid. I figured it would look cool, and be easier than printing out individual images. (I actually don't even know how to put the little 4x6 papers in our printer and fix the settings to make it all happen.) Anyhow, I put a grid of 25 colorful bugs on a black background, titled it Bugs of the Fullerton Arboretum and emailed it to Kim.

Well, today she showed me the poster she had made up. It was amazing! So beautiful and so professional looking. It is truly magnificent. Here it is in small form:

It's really big, like 2'x3', and it looks awesome! I hope all my local Bug Safari fans will come and see it in person.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Mantis Monday for 6-04-07

I haven't been faithful in posting mantis images lately. I don't always feel like searching the web for new and interesting pictures. This week the web came to me. My mom sent me one of those FW: fw: fw: pass-this-along bits of email fluff that contained a bunch of photos of carved bars of soap, of all things, and one of them was this praying mantis. Unfortunately, there was no credit given to the sculptor.

praying mantis soap carving
Thanks, Mom!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Some aphids (and their predators)

We had so little rainfall this past season, I really think we didn't get as many weeds as we normally do. But there are some, and the aphids have found them.

These aphids live clustered along the stems of wild mustard plants. I always thought they were gray, but now I see they are actually coated with something that makes them look gray. Perhaps they are the powdered sugar donuts of the aphid world. Or maybe they're wooly aphids.

These yellow ones are oleander aphids. They like the milkweed plants at the arboretum.

Here one is being devoured by a syrphid fly larva.

The bright colors of these ladybug pupae caught my eye on a small shrub.

As I got closer to take pictures, I noticed clusters of mature ladybug larvae beginning to pupate. I have never seen so many pupating in a group like this.

And here's what they were eating. The tip of every branch had these green aphids on them.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Silkmoth c-section

All of my silkworm cocoons hatched except 2. One of them was wiggling a lot yesterday, or was it the day before? Finally last night, I began to see the telltale staining as the moth applied its secretions to open one end of the cocoon. Many hours passed, and the moth never emerged. The stained area was almost dry. It seemed the moth might be trapped in there. I decided to open the cocoon.

Click to enlarge the photo

1. The unopened cocoon

2. The trapped moth is now free

3. His body is stained and his wings are permanently rumpled

4. He's still cute, though

5. His pupa shell on the left, and last larval skin on the right

6. The last cocoon had a dead pupa inside

Friday, June 01, 2007

A small spider

I put this photo through the "watercolor" filter in Photoshop

I brightened it up a little more in Picasa. I don't know why, but sometimes I like Picasa better for playing around with the photos.
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