some authentic bumblebee sex for all you beefuckers out there
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
Antlion larvae are well-known predators that inspire countless movie / video game monsters but then their adult form is just a damselfly with anxiety
This is funny cuz it’s true
JAWS OF TERROR!
although, to be fair…
BUTT SCOOT OF … uh… um…
funny thing about the ferocious larvae, they can only move backwards. And in little short scoots. The second you dig them out of their little funnel, they freak out and just want to bury themselves, They are only powerful when they remain unseen.
Note: very few species actually make the funnels! But the ones that make the funnels, OH BOY DO THEY MAKE FUNNELS!
July 11, 2019
Golden tortoise beetle transforming from gold to red
When your 24 hour premium skin wears off
Alright, y’all. Bug nerd here. Yes, this is real. This is Charidotella sexpunctata. It’s able change color like this by filling and emptying its elytra (the wing covers) with water. The mirror-like gold effect is caused by it forcing water into separate layers of its elytra, smoothing them out to the point where they actually reflect light. By drawing the water out, the red pigment beneath is exposed. They do this whenever they’re disturbed as a defense mechanism, likely to mimic foul tasting lady beetles.
So, there’s a fun fact.
I have these in my yard!
The little turds do NOT cooperate for photos. The second they see you, they DROP off their leaves and you can’t find them any more. Their larvae eat morning glory and other nightshades, and they protect themselves from predators with fecal shields.
Yes, that’s right. They cover themselves with their poop to keep predators from eating them.
I love them.
July 5, 2019
Feb 19, 2017, Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory, Austin TX
Texas leaf-cutter ants. There were so many of them that they have carved out their own trail and I could hear them cutting the leaves. Leaf-cutter ants use these leaves to grow the fungus they cultivate for food.
Texas is full of leafcutter ants and they’re amazing.
Reposted July 4, 2019
I heard scratching inside the Polyphemus cocoons (you remember my fat green sausages?!), and I took a peek.
No moths trapped inside. Still troublemakers, just in pupa form. They should be adults any day now!
February 26, 2019
@nanonaturalist what is this guy i love him?
Aaahhhhhhh Belostomatidae!!! Also known as a Giant Water Bug, this is a family of very large (in size) aquatic hemipterans (true bugs). They are also predatory and are sometimes called “toe-biters.” They eat other aquatic insects, but also amphibians, fish, and some birds. And, yes, that’s right, they fly.
Some more info on these friends!
I have not been so blessed to meet a living one, but I did encounter them in a somewhat unexpected place:
They are good eatings, if you’re into that sort of thing! And look at how EXPENSIVE!
November 20, 2018
I saw this spider wasp in the process of digging her nest in Keller. What is she doing with her head?!
Seen September 29 / Posted October 19, 2018