Cool Weather Moths (Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday)

It’s gotten really chilly in Raleigh over the past few weeks.  We’ve had some decent days mixed in too, so it doesn’t quite feel like winter yet, but the insects are obviously on their way out for the season and have become rather sparse.  It was therefore with great pleasure that I came home on a chilly night last weekend and found a half-dozen of these little beauties on the molding around my front door:

Unknown moth

I have no idea what they were, but I was impressed that these moths were still out on a genuinely cold night.  Always interesting to see insects active when the temps are just above freezing!

Anyone else seeing cool things out still?  I want to live vicariously through you if you are!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Dragons and Damsels of Ireland

Long time no post, I know, but I’ve been wrapped up in a lot of different things recently and haven’t had time to even think, let alone post on my blog.  But I think things are calming down a bit and I’ll have more time to do the things I like. I’m eager to get back to blogging!

One of the things I was doing during my recent long absence was going on a really excellent vacation, a two-week trip to Ireland with my sister.  We toured almost the entire Irish coast in that time and I’m quite sure the trip is going to be one of the highlights of my life.  Ireland is unbelievably beautiful and I absolutely loved it!  It was, however, shockingly devoid of insect life.  I carefully picked out a dragonfly and damselfly field guide before I left, mapped out everywhere we were going, compared our itinerary to the range maps in my guide so I’d know what to expect where, and I hauled my book over in eager anticipation of seeing a hoard of Irish odonates.  I saw one damselflies in the 15 days I spent on the island.  One!  And I barely even got a look at it, definitely didn’t get a photo, and it flew off almost immediately after I spotted it on the banks of this pond:

Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow, Ireland

Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow, Ireland

At least the setting was pretty!  If you only get a glimpse of a single small damselfly on a trip, it’s nice to have that one sort of disappointing sighting occur at a place where there are other things to look at, such as grand estate houses, arboretums, and beautifully manicured gardens.  :)

I am working on getting through my massive backlog of dragonfly swarm data to get it up on Sunday this week and I should be posting on Friday.  Here’s hoping nothing else comes up to prevent that happening!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Coming Up For Air

I had my camera at work the other day, taking some photos of the red-headed woodpecker that’s nesting there.  Quitting time came, so I closed up the office and the field station and headed down to the pond for some after-hours photography before heading home.  The light was harsh and very bright, but it highlighted a bunch of animals popping their heads up out of the water all over the pond:

Tadpole surfacing

I thought at first that they were fish, but we don’t have fish in the Prairie Ridge pond.  The only other thing that made sense was that they could be tadpoles coming up for air, but I didn’t know enough about tadpoles to know if this is something they even do.  So I asked one of the Museum’s herpetologists about it and sent him this picture – and I was right!  Tadpoles apparently do this when oxygen levels are low.  If the hundreds of tadpoles I saw were any indication, the oxygen levels in the pond are pretty bad right now…

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: The Last Thing Many Aquatic Insects Ever See

If you’re a small, aquatic insect, fish, or tadpole, this image should make you fear for your life:

Dragonfly nymph

Dragonfly nymphs are pretty ferocious, so I imagine that something like this is the last thing many small aquatics ever see, right before that mouthpart snaps out, grabs them, and eats them…

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Welcome 2014!

This spider is happy it’s 2014, so he’s celebrating:

jumping spider

Dancing jumping spider

Hope you are too!  Here’s to a happy, productive, and wonderfully fun 2014 for you all!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Merry Christmas from the Dragonfly Woman

I know I’ve been terrible about blogging recently and it’s because I have a whole lot of family and personal stuff going on right now that is sucking up all of my free time, but it wouldn’t be a proper Christmas if I didn’t at least post a Christmas insect for you all!  This year, the hat went on one of my favorite beetles, the delta flower scarab:

Santa scarab-2

Santa scarab

I even got to use a Christmas toy to make this year’s Santa insect: my husband got me a Wacom tablet! Woo!

Hope all of you out there who celebrate Christmas are having a wonderful, spectacular day!  And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you are having a wonderful, spectacular, everyday sort of day instead.

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Summery

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been cold lately!  It’s been chilly here, so today I thought I’d share an image that I took when the weather was warmer to make myself feel better about the cold:

Delta flower scarab, Trigonopeltastes delta

Delta flower scarab, Trigonopeltastes delta

That’s a delta flower scarab on the flower of a rattlesnake master plant.  These are, I think, my favorite beetles in North Carolina.  Granted, I haven’t done a whole lot of blacklighting yet, nor have I come across any of the eastern Hercules beetles in the wild, but I think these beetles are marvelous.  They also scream “summer!” to me!  Ahh, that was a lovely warm summer day.  Is it bad that I already miss summer when the winter hasn’t even begun?

In case any of you are interested, I wrote a blog post yesterday about aquatic insects and how they can remain active even in cold weather.  It’s up on the blog for my museum. Please feel free to check it out!

Hope everyone stays warm – and happy Thanksgiving to all of you ‘Mericans out there!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth