This was a great bug week for me! It’s National Moth Week, so that means there’s been a huge upswing in the number of insect-themed programs and activities available this week, and I got to participate in a few of them. So far, the best part of Moth Week was going to a full-day moth workshop, followed by blacklighting with several of my state’s top moth experts. It was great! However, I’m co-hosting my museum’s moth night tomorrow night and I suspect I will love that even more than the workshop. But several good bug-related things happened this week, including…
I spent a lot of time staring at my porch lights this week, snapping photos of moths for National Moth Week. I had a dinner meeting with some visiting entomologists on Tuesday and when I got home I found several of these a few inches from my front door. Mayflies! I am always thrilled when I find mayflies for some reason, probably because I don’t live in the sort of place that gets massive mass emergences and I rarely see the adults. I will freely admit that my whole expertise in identifying aquatic insects involves the stages that live in water and I could be completely wrong about this, but I think this is Isonychia sp (waiting on a confirmation). Regardless of what it actually is, however, I was super excited to see these! How can you resist those eyes?
I wrote a guest post on another blog! It’s about National Moth Week and how people can participate in the festivities. At the end, it tells you about the moth night I’m co-hosting tomorrow night. Want to come observe moths with me and some of the awesome people who work/volunteer at my museum? Or maybe you’d like to learn more about National Moth Week? You can read more about it in my guest post over on the Your Wild Life Blog. (Thanks, Holly, for inviting me to write this!) There there’s…
My first popular science article hit the streets on Monday! It’s also my first print article about dragonfly swarms and what I’ve learned from my Dragonfly Swarm Project. This is not a peer reviewed publication, but I’m excited anyway. The photos on the right page are both mine, while the awesome photo of the swarm against the sunset in Costa Rica was taken by a relative of mine. We’ll ignore the fact that I don’t have much evidence that either of the dragonflies in my photos are swarmers… They’re there to illustrate a few quirks of dragonfly anatomy and behavior that are part of why they’re able to fly so well and form the sorts of swarms they do, NOT to represent species you might see in actual swarms.
Then There’s This…
I adore luna moths! This is only the second wild adult I’ve ever seen, and certainly a lot nicer than the ratty, old one I saw in Missouri a few years ago. Luna moths are my very favorite moths and I think they are fantastically beautiful. That green! Oh! Just perfect. And there it was, sitting right out on a wall in the middle of the day. Even if the rest of the moth workshop I went to had sucked (and it didn’t), this one moth sighting would have made it completely worth it for me.
And Finally, This!
The photo is crap, but I had to share it anyway. I was sitting out on the back patio during the moth workshop, eating my lunch and talking to several of the moth experts about moths and photography and whatnot, when one of the guys got up and started snapping photos of something crawling around on the ground. He soon called me over and said I had to take a photo of what he was looking at. It was what you see in the photo. That’s a wasp (I suspect it’s Tachypompilus sp.) dragging a very large spider, presumably one that it has stung and is dragging off so it can lay eggs on it. It’s larvae will enjoy a great fresh, live spider buffet when they hatch. The spider wasps fascinate me. Their mode of life is so greusome because they eat their spiders alive, but it’s just such a cool system too.
So, lots of fun bug stuff happening in my neck of the woods this week! Any week that involves blacklighting is bound to be good, but I got to see some cool bugs and the products of some writing I did too. What a great week! And speaking of blacklighting, I’ve been working on developing a way to make a portable, free-standing, and inexpensive blacklighting rig and I’ve finally come up with a design that’s easy to construct and cost about $20. I’m field testing it at my moth night tomorrow, and if all goes well, I’ll share the design with you all next week!
Have a great weekend everyone!
12 thoughts on “Friday 5: Great Bug Week”
That’s awesome! Congrats on the post and the article! I really like the shot of the spider and the wasp. Great documentation of the dragging!
Thanks! I was pretty excited about both, as you probably gathered. :)
Wow. That’s a lot of excitement for a single week. Congratulations on getting published. My week was dull by comparison, though it did include my first sighting (and photos) of a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. The photo of the spider and wasp is cool, though in a morbid way (your term “gruesome” sums it up well).
I would have been thrilled to see a hummingbird clearwing! That would have been even more exciting than the luna and would make any week for me.
Congrats on the article !
Excellent week! Congratulations on the article. I look forward to seeing your blacklight set-up!
Thanks! And I’m hoping my blacklight rig will work. I tried making one like the one they have on Buoquip, but I ended up breaking my tent pole and haven’t been able to use it for a while, so I needed something else. We’ll see if it’s sturdy enough though!
You shared some cool stuff – I loved the antennas on that atlas moth and the photo was really crisp too. The spider getting dragged along is a great photo too – I’m glad you snapped it even if conditions weren’t perfect.
When we lived in the Midwest, we saw a number of mud dauber nests (usually slender vertical tubes). It was my understanding that they also stuffed a paralyzed spider down the tube to feed their larva as they hatched. Gruesome, but that is how nature works.
Yep, the mud daubers are definitely spider eaters too! I once broke apart a nest, without knowing anything about what it was, and had a half dozen spiders fall out. It’s so odd! But still pretty cool too…
Huge congratulations on the science article that’s amazing. I love this brilliant variety of insects youve captured. I’m in lovewith your Luna moth its gorgeous and the fact another insect can win against a spider is amazing…that size difference, its nice to see the little guys win occasionally. Although I do feel sorry for it. Fascinating find.
Look forward to seeing your macro lighting setup too.
Those wasps are amazing! And I feel sorry for the spider too (what a horrible way to go!), but it’s the way the world works. Glad you liked the post!