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100 hungry mouths to feed

A couple years ago I lamented that I didn’t see sillkmoths much anymore.That was the year our friend Dr. Steve gave us a couple of Polyphemus (Anthera polyphemus) cocoons, so we got to see (and release) the adults that emerged….

this turd has legs

I haven’t spent much time in the field this summer. The last 6 or 7 years, I’ve had summer field work tied to grants; this year, my grants involve sitting in front of the computer. But over the holiday weekend…

hymenoptera in the yard

In August, I described my summer “project,” to learn more about the flies, bees, and wasps in my yard. I posted a series of some of the photos I took of the cool Diptera (flies) I was able to identify….

lady of the flies

I’ve been sort of lazy about posting lately. For the last week, I’ve been on semi-“vacation” which means catching up on writing projects and things around the house between wrapping up my summer field work and preparing to begin fall…

Eastern cicada killers (Sphecius speciosus) are big wasps. The “dainty” males are about 3 cm long, and the females up to 4 cm. Adding to the intimidation factor is the behavior of the males, which gather in “leks” of up…

There are pros and cons to being the coordinator for a big field project. The upside is that I get to spend a lot of time in the field myself. The downside is that it is often in places that…

the ultimate crevice bug

This week I’ve been trying to finish up some especially obnoxious paperwork on a project before my field season begins in earnest. Since I’m annoyed, I thought I’d take a little break and write about an annoying creature: the earwig….

box elder bug boom

Large aggregations of insects — a crop of periodical cicadas, overwhelming hatches of mayflies, or the sudden synchronous appearance of many colonies of winged ants — are most often a summertime phenomena. But fall can be an excellent time to…

cicada music friction

Lo! on the topmost pine, a solitary cicada Vainly attempts to clasp one last red beam of sun. — Japanese poem I actually got a call the other day from a man complaining about the sounds of cicadas and katydids….

noisy butterflies

This is a Variable Cracker, Hamadryas feronia, a member of a mostly Neotropical genus of about 20 species. Variable Crackers are found from the southern U.S. through Brazil, and are one of several species of Hamadryas that can make an…