Category: at home

Variegated Fritillary, before and after The …

Variegated Fritillary, before and after

The orange spots on the chrysalis are metallic
One day apart, chrysalis May 20, butterfly May 21, 2019

caterpillar-gifs: Mystery slug caterpillar! Wh…

caterpillar-gifs:

Mystery slug caterpillar! Who is this?! Stay tuned! Updates will be incoming in my @nanonaturalist blog

Microscope shots magnified 20x
May 20, 2019

I investigated and our baby is:

a Yellow-shouldered Slug Moth (yet another stinging slug caterpillar!)

This dramatic fellow was hanging out in the yard for a while last month:

Here is a blurry shot next to my finger to show you how utterly massive these moths get:

truly spectacular

May 20, 2019

Reblog this with a photo of a bird that’s very…

pterygota:

etosaurus:

flareon:

yeenyeet:

todaysbird:

curlyhair-kid:

A bird that’s so common that it’s almost not “special” to see anymore. I want to share “common” birds with other people, and show everyone that some birds that are normal to others, might be rare or beautiful to people in another part of the world who don’t get to see them! So no matter where you are in the world, go ahead and add a picture of a common bird in your area! And add it’s name as well, if you know it. 😀

I’ll start! I’m in Ohio, and we have tons of American robins here.

image

north carolina, and northern mockingbirds! they are everywhere, particularly where people are; parking lots, business centers, etc. they’re annoying to people because they’re loud and aggressive to other birds. but i love their minimalist markings and their amazing mimicry abilities! (plus, with a little bribery, they can easily become friends)

I’m from Stockholm, Sweden, or towards the outskirts, and we got a lot of Common/Eurasian blackbirds!

Fun fact, last year when it was really warm and dry we always had a blackbird come over whenever we were watering the garden, because he wanted a cooling shower and to grab some worms

But I’m also studying in Uppsala atm (commuting between the two cities) and there is an overabundance of rooks there, which was exciting for me since they are rare down here in Stockholm!

I don’t how common these darling angels are else where but I love them.

Mourning doves are a common sight outside where I live. Their coos are very distinct.

I’m in central California and you can’t walk outside without having a California scrub jay yell at you.

They have fuzzy gray heads when they’re fledglings

im from southeast florida and boat-tailed grackles are everywhere you look!

apparently the ones we have here have dark eyes but in other places they have light eyes?

(pic mine)

SO HARD TO NOT POST HUNDREDS OF BIRBS

Here are my favorites. I see these either in or from my yard east of Austin, Texas

Painted Bunting (this is a male, the females are green)

Black Vulture ❤️

Crested Caracara. Large falcon, looks more like a hawk, but is a scavenger and feeds like a vulture.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. Obnoxious and loud. I love them. When they fly you can see their forked tails.

May 19, 2019

nanonaturalist: I had an “assignment” from an…

nanonaturalist:

I had an “assignment” from an entomologist at the California Department of Agriculture to rear a particular species of slug moth (Euclea incisa, not present in California so he can’t do it himself) and document variations in caterpillars from different broods. No problem! I said.

He probably didn’t expect embryonic development updates.

The eggs of this species are completely transparent and flat, so checking in was easy and SO COOL.

Anyways these babes are one of the stinging slug caterpillars, and they don’t have prolegs (?!), check out that last gif. Mom of these ones is in the last photo. They are super tiny, microscope shots are magnified 50x.

Said Californian entomologist is a Good Dude and offered to help me write up the paper without author credit on the babes. I can’t get an entomology job without an entomology degree, but I wonder how many single-author papers I can publish to substitute for one (probably none lol).

May 17, 2019

Spiny slug baby updates

The purpose of this “experiment” is to see if there are differences in how the caterpillars look between different batches of eggs, but I’m going to go insane keeping track of that here AND on iNat, so here are a bunch of unlabeled random slug babies! Microscope shots are all magnified 20x in this batch.

Arranged from youngest to oldest. They get spinier and stingier as they grow!

Jellypillar!!!!

Look! You can see them without the microscope now!!! And I am totally raising them in a parmesan container, they are too small to keep in anything else.

At their largest, they are about the size of a jelly bean. A… spiny jelly bean. Do not eat.

May 18, 2018

I had an “assignment” from an entomologist at …

I had an “assignment” from an entomologist at the California Department of Agriculture to rear a particular species of slug moth (Euclea incisa, not present in California so he can’t do it himself) and document variations in caterpillars from different broods. No problem! I said.

He probably didn’t expect embryonic development updates.

The eggs of this species are completely transparent and flat, so checking in was easy and SO COOL.

Anyways these babes are one of the stinging slug caterpillars, and they don’t have prolegs (?!), check out that last gif. Mom of these ones is in the last photo. They are super tiny, microscope shots are magnified 50x.

Said Californian entomologist is a Good Dude and offered to help me write up the paper without author credit on the babes. I can’t get an entomology job without an entomology degree, but I wonder how many single-author papers I can publish to substitute for one (probably none lol).

May 17, 2019

bowelfly: end0skeletal: Amerila astreus ti…

bowelfly:

end0skeletal:

Amerila astreus tiger moth producing acrid smelling yellow froth from cervical glands at the anterior of the thorax. This is a chemical defense against predators.

Photo by

budak

Top view:

oh yeah! i saw a different arctiid moth doing that in nicaragua years ago:

Giant Leopard Moths do this

Here is one but not doing the yellow liquid. I have a liquid photo on the camera but haven’t uploaded it yet. Anyways, last winter my yard was swarming with the caterpillars (if you remember)

So elegant in the moonlight 

Anyways last week I had three on the side of my house, so of course I had to have all three on my hand, and of course I carried them around the yard as I hunted for other bugs. But in trying to pick them up, one of them squeezed out the “no!” juice and I got some on me. No big deal, I don’t care.

Except I’m gross and I never wash my hands.

I’m also constantly rubbing my eyes.

Folks.

Wash your goddamn hands after pissing off moths and carrying them around the yard, especially if they cover your eye-rubbing finger in chemical-defense liquid, okay?

*sigh*

May 16, 2019

Someone on iNat tagged me asking for ID help o…

Someone on iNat tagged me asking for ID help on a stick insect after somebody disagreed with their ID of Megaphasma denticrus. I initially agreed, looks like a fat gravid mama to me. But the disagreer made some good arguments and I thought hmmmmm. I better double check. Looks like the disagreer is right and I’m wrong! Thanks babes 😘

I don’t think they’re expecting these. 😂

May 16, 2019

Arge scapularis – Elm Argid Sawfly ——- Blog’…

Arge scapularis – Elm Argid Sawfly

——-

Blog’s been on a bit of a hiatus… turns out after spending 10+ hours straight rewriting my resume for the 100th time, the last thing I want to deal with is tumblr deleting thoughtful posts I poured my heart and soul into. I’ve been updating my facebook page (nanonaturalist on there, too) more regularly, which isn’t much more than photos with brief captions.

Job hunting is more demoralizing than I ever could have anticipated. I would have had an offer in April but the position was “placed on hold.” I’m not getting called back for interviews. I can’t make plans because I need to keep my schedule open just in case I do get a call. Road trips are out of the question (what gas money???), I have to cancel all my outreach and bioblitz plans (I didn’t do City Nature Challenge this year…). The only plus side is I’m catching more yard birds because I never leave my house.

As much as I wish it weren’t the case, the job hunt is the only thing I have time for right now. I’m at Week 11 of unemployment, and the longer you are out of work, the less likely you are to get hired (because most hiring managers are privileged assholes).

Really, I meant it when I said it on a previous post: do not move to Austin thinking you can find a job. You can’t. I struck up a conversation with somebody at the park on Sunday who had been unemployed for four months. Degree in marketing. Work experience in real estate marketing. Couldn’t find a single job in four months in the fastest growing city in the US with an enormous real estate market. She found a job she’s starting this week—on craigslist.

Enough whining for now, back to resumepalooza 🙄

May 14, 2019

If it’s in a postable format, I’d …

If it’s in a postable format, I’d love to see your list of species you’ve seen in your yard!

I keep track of my species on iNaturalist, so my species count is available for anybody to look at! And when I say “list,” I mean, photographs. Because I’m a scientist, and if it’s not verifiable, it doesn’t count 😉 The links below are organized by species, if you want to see my specific observations and photographs, click the little links for “# observations” above the organism’s name and it will take you to them.

The full, unfiltered “list” only shows the top 600 before it stops loading (by design), but here it is [link]

A tiny bit of background: This list covers 0.10 acres in east Travis County, Texas (my address says I’m in Austin, but I’m not, it’s a lie). My neighborhood is a housing development surrounded by agricultural land, and my house (and the development) was built starting around 15 years ago. My back yard is backed by a row of hackberry trees, and I have neighbors on either side. I bought this house in June 2016 and have been neglecting the back yard ever since, besides occasionally planting a few trees/bushes/bird feeders. I need to post some pictures of the yard over time because it’s starting to look like a legitimate forest. If I ever need to sell this place, oh boy.

The Spider Haven Species List – Numbers By Kingdom

Protozoans [link] 1 species (so far just Dog Vomit Slime Mold, but I have two other unidentified slime molds that don’t go into the numbers yet!)
Bacteria [link] 1 species (a plant disease–I need to get a microbio setup started for cultures bwahaha)
Fungi [link] 8 species (I’ve been slacking, I know I have more in my fridge ALONE right now)
Plants [link] 70 species (there’s more, I have photos from September 2018 I haven’t uploaded yet… ugh)
Animals [link] *cough* over 900 species… uh, I’ll need to break that down a bit…

Animals in my yard

Vertebrates [link] 72 species (birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians)
Annelids [link] 1 species (earthworms creep me out, sorry)
Mollusks [link] 10 species (missing my tiny little slugs!)
Flatworms [link] 2 species
Horsehair Worm [link] 1 species
Arthropods [link] 828 species. Okay….

ARTHROPODS

Crustaceans [link] 2 species (pillbugs!)
Myriapoda [link] 3 species
Arachnids [link] 75 species
Insects [link] 747 species. *SIGH*

I N S E C T S

Springtails [link]1 species (not easy to find!!!
Silverfishes [link]1 species
Cockroaches and Termites [link] 11 species
Butterflies and Moths [link] 279 species
Beetles [link]148 species
Earwigs [link] 2 species
Flies [link] 58 species
Webspinners [link] 1 species
Mayflies [link] 3 species
True Bugs & Allies [link] 124 species
Ants, Bees, Wasps, & Sawflies [link] 63 species
Mantids [link] 1 species, but I saw a mating pair and the male was missing a head [link]
Scorpionflies, Hangingflies, etc [link] 1 species 
Alderflies, Dobsonflies, Fishflies [link] 1 species
Antlions, Lacewings, Owlflies, Mantidflies [link] 4 species
Dragonflies and Damselflies [link] 23 species
Grasshoppers, Katydids, Crickets [link] 20 species
Stick insects [link] 3 species (but I think it should be 2, need to double check)
Stoneflies [link] 1 species
Barklice, booklice, and parasitic lice [link] 1 species
Thrips [link] 2 species
Caddisflies [link] 1 species (note: these are near-impossible to ID so I don’t really spend too much time on them)

They key take-aways appear to be: MÖTH, beetles, & true bugs. Not too much of a surprise, given I do a LOT of my snooping around the yard at night, and with my UV patio light on. Best $14 I ever spent! (I got it on sale, looks like it’s $20 now) [link]

Note: These species counts were accurate on the date I posted this list, April 12, 2019 at 12:47 am. The links will continue to work (oh please), but the numbers will change! They may go up as I add observations, or down as I my current observations are reclassified (happens ALL the time!).

April 12, 2019

On Insect Intelligence

People like me who spend a lot of time with insects tend to develop a bond with them. I get very attached to my caterpillars and the bugs in my yard, and watching their behavior sometimes makes you think there’s a brain in there.

And then… they do things like this:

This is a Variegated Fritillary butterfly. This is the first time I’ve ever seen one in my yard (I’m SO CLOSE TO 1,000 SPECIES!!!). She is laying eggs on the passion vine that is sprouting in my garden. I have a couple vines that have started up and are several feet long. Is she laying eggs on that one? No. She’s laying eggs on these. Repeatedly.

The Gulf Fritillary caterpillars I’ve raised can destroy an entire leaf in a few hours. *sigh* 

I guess when ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

She also laid eggs in the passion vine with the fire ant mound around it.

I pulled up this dinky little passion vine sprout and potted it. I’ll at least give these four little caterpillars a chance! Let’s see if I can grow this vine faster than they can eat it!

April 9, 2019