Popa spurca (African twig mantis) L4 nymphs. Checking out the differences of the sexes at this young age.
My coworker found this lovely blue bee near her home in Fort Myers, FL!
Bagworm Moth caterpillars collect little twigs and cut them off to construct elaborate tiny log houses to live in (photos: Melvyn Yeo, Nick Bay)
I had to look this up because i thought there was no way these little faerie cabin-building caterpillars were real
I love every single species of bagworm. They are all wonderful. Yes, even the ones everyone hates as tree-killing pests here in the U.S. Here are some cool bagworm things:
- In many species, the female never develops wings or in some cases never even develops legs, antennae or a face. She’s just a sausage-shaped egg factory who dies in her bag.
- Two very different species are among the world’s few carnivorous caterpillars. One preys on snails and uses its bag to wedge into the snail’s shell. The other builds its bag OUT of body parts from the arthropods it eats and the smell attracts even more tasty things.
- Some species not only have females that remain as “bagworms” but have parthenogenetic subspecies with no males at all; entire populations of caterpillars with no moths.
Do they build them first, and then crawl into them?
Do they have freakishly long arms that extend out from the bottom, allowing them to stack ever-higher?
Or perhaps they build them for each other?
Do they ever tweak the architecture, or rebuild from scratch?
They wrap themselves up in silk, just like when other caterpillars would make a cocoon later. Then as they go along feeding, they attach bits of their leftover food, leaves, twigs etc. to the silk bag. They can reach their whole body out of it when they need to stick something on!
As they molt and grow, they keep adding more to the bag around its open end, so the very tip of the bag is what they started with when they were tiny!
Here’s one where you can obviously see the difference between the “newer additions” to the bag (green leaves), and the more established parts (dried up leaves):
Unfortunately, all the bagworms I collected in my yard ended up being parasitized by braconids! Seems the bag doesn’t protect them so much after all!
July 23, 2019
AHHH I found my very first bot fly today!!!
Absolute Unit, Chonky Boy, Top Chungus….
I have always wanted to see one of these – let me tell you they are larger and more chunky than any photo could prepare you for. This fella was sitting pretty at an entire inch long. I believe it was newly eclosed, as it couldn’t fly well and one of its wings was not fully extended. Found it resting on a Queen Anne’s Lace stem and IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. It’s a crying shame I only had my phone on me to take pictures.
For those who don’t know, bot flies are abundant and common parasites of many mammals, particularly mice and rabbits, where they burrow into the skin with backwards-hooked barbs, making them impossible to pull out. They cause giant swollen lesions on the skin as the larva keeps the wound open to breathe. They do not generally kill the host, in fact many hosts have multiple larvae despite the sheer enormity of the larva’s size compared to its host. Adults are rarely seen however, and all are gorgeous and often intricately patterned in black, white, and red! (There is a human bot fly, but not in these parts).
I believe this to probably be a mouse bot fly, Cuterebra fontinella, but I’m awaiting confirmation on it.
I love this chunky boy
I don’t think I posted about my friend who purposefully got botflies when he went to Belize? And my first time meeting him in person was me doing a photo shoot of the larvae in his leg? And he made a birth announcement on facebook when they pupated complete with a photo of the pupa under a piece of fabric surrounded by stuffed animals?
I need to do that. Bot flies are the best.
July 23, 2019