I hope you enjoy taking a closer look at some of the things I find interesting.
- North America (155)
- South America (171)
- Amphibians (10)
- Frogs and Toads (10)
- Arachnids (41)
- Fungi (3)
- Insects (215)
- Ants, Bees, Wasps and Relatives (44)
- Barklice (1)
- Beetles (27)
- Butterflies and Moths (55)
- Cockroaches (2)
- Dragonflies (1)
- Earwigs (1)
- Flies (20)
- Grasshoppers and Relatives (9)
- Mantids (3)
- Net-winged Insects (7)
- Termites (5)
- Thrips (1)
- True Bugs (57)
- Walkingsticks (1)
- Webspinners (1)
- Mammals (2)
- Millipedes (1)
- Polyxenids (1)
- Plants (3)
- Reptiles (13)
- Velvet Worms (3)
- Amphibians (10)
These treehoppers are probably two species in the genus Cyphonia.
The first one you may recognize from this book cover.
Normal disclaimers apply (flies are difficult to identify), but these mating flies might be a Systropus species.
Did you think they might be wasps? They are almost certainly wasp mimics.
Don’t be fooled by what appears to be an extra wing on the one to the right. That’s just a trick of the camera.
This longhorned beetle blends in pretty well with these stems.
Some longhorned beetles are known as girdlers and that name might be aptly applied here. See the damage to the stem in the upper right? I didn’t witness it, but I suspect this beetle is responsible. In fact, given the bending of the stem under its head, it may very well have been chewing away when I took this photo. Further evidence is the frass present, indicating it’s been here awhile.
Why girdle? Some beetles that do it deposit an egg in the stem and then effectively kill the stem by chewing a ring into it. The stem beyond the girdle eventually dies and falls to the ground. The stem provides nourishment for the beetle larva and is then well placed for the grub to later escape into the soil where it completes its development.
This tick is one of the largest I’ve ever encountered. I’m happy to say it was the only one I saw.
Ticks often wave around their forelegs while perched like this, hoping to grab on to some passing potential host.
When viewed from the side, there’s an interesting bit of anatomy exposed.
I wondered about the purpose of that large hole on the tick’s side so I did some research. It’s called the spiracular plate, and it’s basically a tube into the tick’s breathing system. Calling it breathing might be a stretch though. It’s really more of a passive gas exchange. The shape of spiracular plates are also used by taxonomists as a way of distinguishing various types of ticks.
While less noticed and more difficult to identify, the majority of lepidoptera species are small and are collectively referred to as microlepidoptera or micromoths. Though small, this one’s glittery wing scales caught my eye.
We don’t have that many species of walkingsticks here in the Southeastern US. None of the ones I’ve encountered have wings. So this one looks odd to me.
Remember the jumping sticks? Here’s one more photo of one of those so you can see how easy it is to distinguish the two based on their antennae.
What sort of critter is hidden here?
Hopefully it didn’t take more than a few seconds to spot the katydid in this image.
I found a couple of these large caterpillars very near to each other. First the one above and then the one below. I believe they are a species of Automeris.
With those spines and colors, it’s pretty obvious they are to be avoided. Each one of those spines is like a little hypodermic needle bearing venom.
Here are some closeups.
And here’s a particularly intimidating display.
So what would mess with this spiny critter? I discovered while reviewing photos of the latter caterpillar that there was a small fly up to no good. Sorry for the photo quality. These are extreme crops.
These are the frogs and toads I encountered in CaraÃ§a Natural Park.
I didn’t see any snakes, and I only caught fleeting glimpses of a few large lizards.