One of my favourite websites to browse is www.whatsthatbug.com It’s by far the most interesting way to spend time that could probably be used for other things, but I’d much rather look at bugs 😀 Granted they are self proclaiming not experts, but they obviously love what they do and have dedicated their site to helping others realize that we can live with the insects that are around us on a regular basis. Those that know me know that I am not a huge fan of bugs, and tend to run screeching when something flies towards me because I can’t tell if it’s a bee or hornet or wasp etc. but as long as I see other bugs first I’m usually okay. In honour of this website I am counting down my top ten insects, those that make the list are ones that I find neat looking or just interesting in general. So to the bugman from whatsthatbug.com and their all the people that visit and send their great pictures Thank you!!! You help me to procrastinate to the fullest & you’re awesome!!
This is a Wolf Spider from the family Lycosidae. I find them interesting because they not only carry their egg sac with them the entire time attached by their spinnerets, and have to be raise up the entire time to keep the egg sac from dragging on the ground. Even more amazing is once the spiderlings have hatched, they climb up on top of mommy for a mass piggyback ride. See all those ugly warty bumps on the spider above, well those are all her babies hanging out for the ride. They will bite defensively, which is generally the reason why insects bite (besides parasites of course), but in most cases it is merely painful not going to kill you or cause you to lose limbs, although the Australian wolf spider is considered to cause necrotic wounds ( debatable).
A walking stick! For anyone familiar with Disney/Pixar’s A Bug’s Life you’ll recognize this easily because Slim is awesome, hehe. Apart from being utterly cool looking, they look like a stick for goodness sakes!!!, they have a pretty cool defensive trick up their sleeves in that they can camouflage themselves with the things around them to avoid capture, but every once in awhile they’ll scare the crap out of whatever’s stalking them by flashing an out of the ordinary colour and make a loud noise. Hahaha, you show them who’s the boss, Slim. Photo credit: http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/globalbros/2009/06/tyler-peru-2.html
So we’ve had a stick bug, and now we have a leaf bug otherwise known as a Katydid. Can you just imagine how many of these are missed on a regular basis because they just blend in. They don’t seem to do much of anything besides eat plants, but they look pretty while they do it 🙂 Photo Credit: http://www.organicgardeninfo.com/broadwinged-katydid.html
This beautiful creature is eupholus magnificus, a member of the weevil family. They don’t appear to be extraordinary, except in their beauty. Amazing!! Photo Credit: http://www.papua-insects.nl/insect%20orders/Coleoptera/Curculionoidea/Curculionidae/Curculionidae%20Thumbnail%20gallery.htm
Dragonflies are just beautiful no matter what kind they are, but these ones are particularly neat looking with that single eye (appearance only) look going on. This is a common green darner, and are found all over North America so lucky for us!
Photo Credit: http://www.petrieisland.org/naturetour/amphibians.htm
The first time I saw a dobsonfly I was at the Salmon Lodge in New Brunswick. I had walked into the washroom and this huge thing was on the floor, and I got completely creeped out and used the other washroom because I had no idea at the time what the hell it was or if it was dangerous. When I asked the server about it she told me it was used for salmon fishing, either way they’re neat simply because they’re creepy looking, but the adults (of the females anyway) do not feed, permadiet, lol
Photo Credit: http://www.petrieisland.org/naturetour/amphibians.htm
The Luna Moth. Huge and beautiful, and once out of its cocoon only has ~7 days of lifetime. Sadly 😦 Photo Credit: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Actias-luna
Vinegaroons or Whip Scorpions are arachnids that only walk on 6 legs because they’ve modifies their two front legs as antenna like sensory organs, Neat huh! Not only that but instead of using that whiptail to injure you, they’ll spray you with a stinky vinegar smelling concoction. Photo Credit: http://www.philippinepetfinder.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=50&t=68016&start=15
This is a potato bug or a jerusalem cricket. Growing up I always thought a pill bug was a potato bug, and I used to flick them to make them roll up in a ball, it was fun and if I lift a rock and find pill bugs I may just be tempted to do the same thing today. Anyhoo, let’s get back to the potato bug at hand. They can give you a painful bite or give out a disgusting stench but they don’t eat potatoes nor do they hail from Jerusalem so they’re a bit off from what you would assume, but they are pretty neat looking. FYI, pill bugs are known as potato bug in some regions, so I guess I didn’t grow up completely off base, yay me. Photo credit: http://green-buzz.net/environment/eight-seemingly-sinister-goliaths-of-the-insect-world/
I love slugs and I love caterpillars, but since I already included a Luna Moth I decided on slugs as my number one choice. I can’t figure out why I like slugs so much, but that would also include snails in there as well. I like the fact that when you try to pick them up they secrete goo to keep away from predators, some of this slime is pretty difficult to get off and I’ve heard that some of it can really stink but I’ve never experienced that. Now these two above are banana slugs, but leopard slugs are pretty neat looking as well, and if you want to see something truly neat google a sea slug, they are incredibly pretty and colourful too. Photo Credit: http://www.calacademy.org/exhibits/california_hotspot/habitat_redwoods.htm
Now I want to make sure that people understand that no matter how pretty anything is you really shouldn’t pick things up without understanding what it is and what it may do to you. Do I follow my own advice, rarely, but the point of the matter is, it’s great to teach your kids about the wonders of the world and not to be afraid of what you don’t know yet but you need to educate before allowing interaction. Many wild animals have built in instincts to avoid getting eaten, one of these may be to release irritants and many caterpillars will release a toxin that can cause reactons in people and I’m sure you wouldn’t want your kids running around with burning itchy hands. Take pictures and don’t be afraid, well unless it’s a big bad bee, lol, and get out there and discover the wonders that you’ve never paid attention to before.
Stay tuned for my next post about my top ten endangered animals, not that the others should be forgotten
Today’s blast from the past is the pill bug that I grew up calling potato bugs. I had a lot of fun hunting them down when I was a kid, and hope kids still have fun these days when they find them crawling around under lifted rocks.