Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A New Bug (for me)

Last week, during Bug Day at Trail Stompers camp, we had a good ol' time flipping rocks, using sweep nets, and rolling over logs. We had lots of good finds. And of course, I didn't have my camera. Doh!

Liz Habley and I had 13 of the campers out on a hike in the woods (we had split into two groups) to flip logs over, looking for centipedes, millipedes and roly pollies. We were almost finished with our hike, when Liz found a really cool bug. I had no idea what it was. Normally, I can file it into a family of some sort, but this one, I did not know what it was. I was perplexed. It looked like an earwig with wings.

Photo from BugGuide contributed by MJ Hatfield

If I have a bug I cannot identify, I usually go to BugGuide and look throught their photos. I knew it looked a little like an earwig. I searched through a few families and almost gave up. Then finally I decided to type in earwig with wings and up popped a pic that looked like my critter. A Forcepfly! I looked through a few of the Forcepfly pics and decided this was it. There is a good pic of its underside, that shows the "forceps" here. Thank you, BugGuide!

Forcepflies, Merope tuber, are strange creatures. Not very much is known about their habits. BugGuide lists it as "uncommon to rare in collections and seldom encountered." Wow! We had a really rare bug, and here in Indy of all places! There are only two species of forcepfly in the entire world-one lives here in the United States, the other in... Australia!

Just goes to show, you never know what you can encounter when you go outside and explore! For more info on Forcepflies, check out this article.StumbleUpon


Blue Heron Moon said...

Thank you for the great info! I was able to identify one of my unidentifiables too thanks to you.

Linsi Latimer said...

Cool! It must be rare if you didn't know what it is :) And I am extremely jealous of the interns and really miss camp!

Janet Creamer said...

I miss you, too! You will have to stop by sometime! We can take a wander. :)