Saturday, June 11, 2011

Some Cool Bugs

Summer camp brings lots of energetic little bodies with sharp eyesight-they do not miss anything! And since I am the go-to-person for bugs, they always come running to me with their prize in tow. This week, we found scads of spiders, daddy-long-legs, dragonfly nymphs, beetles, wasps, crickets, moths and much more. Here are a few of my favorites.

T.J. found this beautiful moth on the bark of a tree. This is a Waved Sphinx Moth, Ceratomia undulosa.

Such a pretty, camouflaged little moth, and when I took a few photos from the side, I noticed something. With its big eyes, long antennae and fuzzy face...

It looked remarkably like a bunny! Who would have thought!

I am not positive who found this next critter. We were on a hike in the woods and I saw a pile of boys huddling around a log, all fixated on a small yellow and black creature. At first glance, I thought it was a wasp and made the boys slide back so they wouldn't get stung. Then I realized it was a borer, a type of beetle. No wonder I thought it was initially a wasp, the beetle's name is Wasp Mimic Beetle, Clytus ruricola. Imitating another more dangerous animal, in actions and color, help keep predators at bay. Another name for this beetle is Round-necked Beetle, for the rounded bulge near its head. The larvae feed on decaying hardwoods, especially maples.

This last bug landed on Linsi's water bottle. A beautiful metallic blue Cuckoo Wasp. Cuckoo Wasps are difficult to key out to species, so I will stick with the genus. I think this is Chrysis sp. Even though this critter is a wasp, I have never had a problem of them. They are never aggressive or try to sting. If they feel threatened, they will curl into a protective ball. Linsi thought it was so cute. But don't be fooled. In the wasp world, they are pretty vicious. Their double life is better than any horror movie. They are cleptoparasites, parasites that lay their eggs in another wasp's nest, stealing their food. The tiny larvae will emerge before the host species's young, then eat its eggs or larvae and the remainding food within the nest. Talk about an appetite!

Always cool things to see everyday. Look forward to finding more great things next week to share!StumbleUpon

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