Sunday, November 30, 2008

My favorite part of the caterpillar

The prolegs!

Hairy little buggers

I found a family of hairy stinkbugs at the arboretum today. I've never seen this kind before. I submitted it to Bugguide to confirm if it's Prionosoma podopioides.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lefty goes home

The undersized mantid I named "Lefty" shed his(her?) skin last week, and a couple of disfigurements became evident.

You can see in the photo above that his left front leg is slightly malformed. Also, you can see a weird little "finger" of his left mandible is also jutting out in an unnatural manner.

Without a full complement of mouthparts, and a sub-par set of graspers, eating has been a little difficult for him. This may have something to do with his being so small this late in the year, although I don't know if it's the cause or the effect of his problems.

In any case, I decided to return Lefty to the arboretum this morning, to live his life in the perilous freedom that Nature intended. Next weekend, I will be going on a little trip, and I don't want to have to worry about him languishing in a bug container while I'm away.

ETIII is another story. Her leafy eucalyptus branches can stay fresh for several days in the little vase in her container, and my boys can manage to give her a quick spritz of water once a day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Broke Man Tries Paying Bill With a Picture of a Spider

Once, when I was a kid, I tried to buy something from the neighborhood ice cream truck using only play money. I had a wad of fake bills, totalling possibly thousands of fake dollars. Surely it would be worth at least a dime's worth of goodies. (Uh, no, said the ice cream man.)

Anyway, here's another even more amusing story about someone trying to use his humble artwork to help pay the bills.

Broke Man Tries Paying Bill With a Picture of a Spider

Monday, November 03, 2008

Extatosoma tiaratum, third generation (ETIII)

I hadn't planned on raising any more Extatosoma tiaratum ("ET") stick insects, after raising 2 consecutive generations. When my ETII matured early this year, I was careful to keep the eggs contained and later destroyed them. These insects would be considered invasive here. There was a place in my yard, though, where I allowed ETII to hang out. A prickly bramble vine (ET food) had started growing spontaneously, coincidentally, right around the time I first started playing with these bugs a few years ago. It hangs down from the top of a retaining wall, over a concrete walkway. It was nice to be able to let her spend time outside safely, and it was easy for me to find her eggs on the sidewalk, where I simply stepped on them.

Apparently, one egg fell through the cracks. Literally.

Yesterday, I found this ET hatchling on the side of a trash can, just inches away from the very vine where her momma used to hang out. I hope there aren't any more out there, but there may well be...


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Stink bugs Shield bugs

Stink is such a yucky word. It conjures up notions of rotten eggs, poop, and a whole host of other undesirable odors. And I've decided that these stink bugs are just too nice looking to be associated with the concept of stink. Not to mention that they really aren't all that smelly, at least not to me.

Luckily, I have found that these bugs also have another common name: shield bugs, referring to the characteristic shield shape of the adults. So from now on, I will refer to them as shield bugs.

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