Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Bugs of the Week

Mourning cloak butterfly

I'll start with a butterfly since that's one of the few bugs people seem to like. ("bug" in the informal sense, not "true bugs" or Hemiptera.) I haven't taken too many butterfly photos lately. In the warm summertime they tend to be too active and don't sit still. When this one landed on the table beside me I didn't think it would stay, but for some reason it hung around patiently while I took a bunch of photographs. I think it's a Mourning Cloak butterfly, one of the more common ones here. And I think this older photo of mine is the corresponding caterpillar (aka Spiny Elm caterpillar).

Dragonflies, or in this case I think a damselfly, are also somewhat acceptable bugs to most people. Especially since they eat mosquitos :-)


In the next photo you get a better view of the wide set eyes. A bit like a Hammerhead shark, another hunter.


The damselflies were also busy having sex. It looks like one has laid eggs (red dots) down its body, perhaps to be fertilized by the other one?

damselflies mating

The eggs hatch into nymphs that live in the water. This is the longest stage in their life cycle, in some species lasting multiple years. The nymphs are predators like the adults. Finally, the nymphs crawl out of the water and emerge from their skin as dragonflies/damselflies. Here's the left over skin of one:

dragonfly nymph skin

This next one looks a bit like a giant mosquito, but I think it's a Crane Fly. Confusingly, but understandably, these are also sometimes known as Daddy longlegs, like the Harvestman "spiders" (which are technically arachnids, not spiders)

Crane fly

I'll start with a gentle introduction to the last, much less loved type of bug. Can you spot the crab spider waiting in ambush in this flower. Bees beware!

spot the crab spider

This one didn't have such a good hiding place, but it still blended in quite well on this wild rose.

crab spider on wild rose

I hadn't seen too many fishing spiders lately, but the last few days there have been a couple of big ones in one of the usual spots. You can clearly see its eight eyes (like most spiders have).

Fishing spider

One of them was carrying/guarding its egg sac. It was more skittish and I didn't get a very good photo.

fishing spider with egg sac

No comments:

Post a Comment