Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I found this big, squirmy crane fly larva in the soil yesterday while I was pulling some weeds. I tried to take still pictures of it, but the darned thing wouldn't hold still. So I tried video mode.
It reminded me of an elephant seal. Or maybe an elephant's trunk. Only much smaller, and yuckier. After I finished filming it, I did what I figured was a practical thing: I fed it to my female wide-arm mantid. I will not post those pictures here, because it was horrible and gross. The maggot practically exploded with dark fluids. The mantid slurped up every drop. *gag* (sorry!)
Monday, February 25, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
A cute little millipede
A big, ugly spider. This a "sowbug killer". Looks to be a pregnant female.
It's not always easy to take a picture of these kinds of bugs that live under logs, rocks, etc. I have to lift the log up with one hand and be ready to take the picture with the other. The bugs usually scurry away pretty quickly once they realize they've been exposed. Earwigs have been especially problematic because they move really fast. I've been trying to get a good picture of a momma earwig and her babies, but they always disperse too fast, and the pictures are always blurry. I'll keep trying though. It'll give you something to look forward to.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 04, 2008
She is still very pale. Luminous.
She looks as if she could glow in the dark. She doesn't, of course, but she definitely glows in the sunlight.
Wingtips and abdomen tip.
Looking back over her shoulder... does she have shoulders? She looks like an alien creature from this angle.
Inside were 22 little packets, each with a Gummy Bug. In addition to the fly above, there were ants, roaches and spiders. Sorry, no mantids (and no snails).
Each of these colorful cardboards splits into 2, and you're supposed to fold them into a little box thingie according to the instructions.
I hate instructions.
But I managed to put one together. Only 21 more to go!
Oh, wait a minute.... these candies are from China. I hope they're safe to eat.
Looking at it, the fuzz looks wet. And since I didn't see the process, I wonder: Did the old skin come off, revealing the new hair wet and matted underneath, as if the exoskeleton were a fuzzy bathing cap? Or did each hair have its own "skin". When mantids shed, everything, even the antennas, shed.
The old skin.
Friday, February 01, 2008
She had her last big shed last night. I wasn't able to photograph her in the act, but here she is today. Our weather was cloudy and cold, so instead of having her illuminated by the sun, I parked her on a branch in front of a sheet of white paper in my garage. Pretty bad, but I'll get better ones up eventually.
And, by request, here's her old skin. This is the ventral view.
Here's a close up of the dorsal view. Hopefully you can see where the skin split right down the back. (Are you squeeming yet, Julie?)