This happened outside our home-pub this past June.
Well, first the boy mosquito gets all dressed up and takes a bouquet of flowers to meet the girl mosquito. She, too, has gotten all dolled up. She wears pearls and lipstick. The happy couple flies away to a nice location to feed off someone who has just been drinking a fine Chardonet. After that, they…
OK, that’s not really what mosquito mating entails. Actually…
I was using Eliza’s new Sigma 10-20mm and happened upon this dragonfly. If only I realized that I had to be at least 1 foot away to truly get him in focus. Oh well, this is how we learn.
From the “coolest thing you’ll see all day” department – these bees in Turkey make their nests out of carefully folded flower pedals.
/via Jason Kottke. On NPR, of course.
After going outside it appears there are, and this isn’t an actual head count just a best guess, hundreds of thousands of lady bugs swarming around our apartment building alone. Due to other friends reporting the same in their area I’m calling it a plague.
After climbing a tree at Lehigh University in an attempt to capture a cicada I ended up finding several skins left on a tree at about eye level. Go figure. There is tons of information on Cicadas on Wikipedia. Worth perusing.
Eliza spotted this little guy yesterday. Left him alone. I have enough pictures of cross orbweaver spiders.
This little guy put a pretty good suckin’ on my hand before I figured out he was in the house. So I trapped him under my magnifying glass for a few hours before using my junk-store-salvaged microscope to look at him up close and personal.
(click to zoom)
Taken: May 7, 2009 in Mayfield, Pennsylvania while on a walk with Eliza. Photographing these bees was a neat experience because I would get as far into the tree as I could, and I would hear a constant bzzzz until I found the bee that was closest to me to shoot.
While in Salter Path, North Carolina on vacation we saw this grasshopper, which was already dead, being carried away by countless ants. Â You can’t tell from this photo alone but there was a line of thousands upon thousands of ants leading from the grasshopper back to the ant hill.
The speed at which the ants were carrying the grasshopper was impressive. Â At once point the ants came upon anÂ obstacleÂ and managed to turn the grasshopper all the way around in order to get around it. Â They did this in a matter of seconds.
Nature always amazes me.
My love of insects on this blog continues. But we’re going to take a break from moths today.
One of my friends needed some help moving aÂ refrigerator and while doing so we found this Cross Orbweaver spider (Araneus diadematus)Â hanging in a web off the front of a house. Â The photos included in this post don’t really do this spider’s size too much justice, but for Pennsylvania this is a fairly big spider.
This Cross Orbweaver spider was energetic, so getting a really good shot of it proved to be a pretty big challenge. Â With the help of two friends; one manning a stick to move the spider around, while the other handed me lenses on-demand, I was able to get about 6 quality shots of this spider. I’ve included two of them here.
This appears to be a female Cross Orbweaver spider. Â They range from 6 to 15mm in length, and live in many areas of the United States and Canada. Â From what I’ve researched they enjoy creating their webs on structures like homes and really like to be under unnatural lighting to catch their prey. Â This one proved that theory by being attached to the front of a house near a porch light.
The silk that this spider weaves is unique. It is extremely sticky when touched, almost like hot taffy, and is very strong and light. Â When we were moving the spider from the ground to the fence, or just suspending him in the air, he’d shoot out his silk in such a way that many different strands would float into the air and he was able to keep himself afloat this way. Â It was amazing.
The web that they weave, which you can read about and see on this site, is very sporadic and random in its design. Â I’m looking forward to doing some research on how and why they spin these types of webs when I get a few minutes to do so.
Another moth and not to be confused with the huge moth that was on our porch in May of this year. Mike and I were headed to lunch at Lunkerz Deli and Mike spotted this fella on the porch.
Large Tolype – Tolype velleda
I had to do some extensive searching of “the Internets” to find out what type of moth this was, and it is called a Large Tolype. Its genus and species is Tolype velleda or “veiled moth”. Very fitting. More information can be found at the Bug Guide.
On the heels of last night’s lightning storm, we had a moth on our deck this morning.
Moth on the porch | click the moth for more photos
He still hasn’t flown away. I am thinking maybe he’d be good for the diet. How many calories in a moth anyway?
Update: Turns out this is a form of cecropia moth.