Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Some Local Friends For You To Meet

We are in the throes of summer and the leaves and plants grow thickly, hiding many creatures as they go about their daily routines.  Every so often I find one, though, and I'm sure you'll enjoy meeting them.

The first picture is of a corn snake (late spring) and you'll need to look hard to find it.  Their camouflage is almost perfect among the leaves and twigs.  I was walking up the driveway and heard a rattling sound.  First thought was - WOW, a rattlesnake!  Haven't seen one of them around here in 35 years or so!  Then the sheer weight of probability hit home and I knew it was a only remote chance it could be a rattlesnake.  Closer (but careful) inspection revealed this common, lovely snake - a Corn Snake.

These pretty snakes are prized as pets because of their non-aggressive personalities.  I hesitate to call them "friendly" or "gentle" because that is misleading.  They are not prone to bite, although they can and sometimes do.  They become accustomed to handling by people - best I can say:>)  Snakes do not "love", have "affection", or look forward to cuddling.  Before making a snake a pet, think long and hard about it.  How big will it get?  What does it eat?  How does it get water?  Can I spend the time needed to keep it clean and healthy?  Can I commit to caring for it for a lifetime (up to 25 years in the case of Corn Snakes).


Corn snakes have an adult size of four to six feet, live up to eight years in the wild (25 years in captivity), and are constrictors.  They hold their meals in their teeth and constrict their prey.

The name "Corn Snake" probably came from farmers who used to store their corn crops in cribs (bins) which drew mice and rats.  Those are the favorite foods of corn snakes so, you guess it, the snakes came for dinner and got their name.

Because Corn Snakes are so popular in the pet trade, the colors available are legion.

They are very similar to Milksnakes (and I could be wrong on this ID - it could be a Milksnake). You can read about them here:

More info here:

This is a baby - find the head at the lower left just short of half way up and in front of the stick.  Some of the rest of it is to the right of the stick.  This little guy was about two feet long.
 Our most common toad is the Eastern American Toad.  We've had every size from teeny weeny to big, fat, grandpa toads that were every bit of 3 inches long or better just in the body.  Of course they are completely harmless and are even kept as pets.  I don't advocate for that because the terrariums must be kept immaculate if the toads are to be healthy.  Like any pet, they require care and feeding.

This toad was sitting in a small pool of rainwater in a depression in a rock in our vegetable garden.  See the lovely algae.

The eggs are laid in a reliable pool of water and hatch in a week or two.  The little ones are tiny and black and swim in schools.  They have also developed a "mutualistic relationship with Chlorogonium alga, which makes tadpoles develop faster than normal".  That quote from the Wikipedia article linked below.

They eat spiders, bugs, worms, slugs (what else eats slugs, may I ask!) - all the things you'd want them to eat:>)  Welcome them into your yard or garden:>)

They can't and won't hurt you, but if you pick one up and it gets scared, it will pee all over your hand - effective defense mechanism, don't you think!

Learn more here:

Happy toad:>)
This little one was under a paving stone next to a raised garden bed.  Slugs can be a problem so we were pleased to find this one right in prime slug territory!
Box Turtles are not rare but you'll be lucky to see one in the wild.  We've seen a couple walking through the yard, but the vast majority we see are crossing the road.  If at all possible we stop and put them on the other side (in the direction they are traveling).  People run them over and that's sad.

These turtles are long-lived and are slow to become mature and propagate.  Humans are their worst enemy and although their numbers are okay right now, they are vulnerable.

You'll enjoy this write up.  It's comprehensive and nicely done!

I found this female on a back road.
 Black rat snakes are a boon to our natural environment.  They eat small mammals, their favorite foods being mice and rats, but they will also dine on lizards, frogs, and bird eggs.  Although they have teeth, rat snakes are non-venomous constrictors.

There are a number of sub-species of rat snake, and they have a wide range.  Some are more passive than others, and we find our population is generally calm with the occasional cranky individual.

We have a "teachable moment".  My husband found a young rat snake in the woods behind our house.  It had some sort of plastic mesh around it's body which was cutting badly into the snake's flesh.  My husband caught it, I held it, and he "operated" by delicately cutting and removing the embedded mesh.  When I let it go, the snake crawled into a stone pile.  Although the wound looked mean, it was clean.  We hope to see it next year and confirm it healed and is living a healthy life.

The black snakes in our locale regularly reach five to six feet in length, will climb trees, and come into our cellar to shed their skin.  They are our "genius loci" (spirit of the place) - here when we moved in over 40 years ago and are still here.

For an interesting write up on Black Rat Snakes, take a look at

These photos are from a day ago.  A youngster, about 2 feet long, was curled up on top of the phone battery box in a dark corner of the cellar.  There's a small shed skin up in the rafters that could be his/hers - not sure:>).

This picture was taken with my little point & shoot camera because my big girl camera was in the shop for the annual clean and check.  Sorry about these not-so-hot pics but you get the idea of what they look like.

I think this was his/her best side:>)
 Pennsylvania has a number of different kinds of frogs - some live in water, some live on land.  It's no surprise that there are color variations to each kind, and it can be hard make a good ID if you're an amateur like me.  The below images have my best guess, and I encourage you to visit the web sites shown for more information:>)  Frogs are AWESOME!

Green Frog

Green Frog

Either a Pickerel Frog or a Leopard Frog

One of the most common and beloved of our wild turtles, the Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) can be found in almost every pond, lake, and wetland habitat.  They are often kept as pets, although I gently would say this is not the best idea.  Adults living in the wild can reach more than 40 years of age; maybe this is because they sleep at night and sunbathe most of the day - LOL.

Their food is mostly aquatic vegetation, insects, and maybe a small fish.  The eggs and very young are eaten by snakes, and raccoons and other predators, but as adults their main source of trouble is cars.

To quote Wikipedia on the range of these turtles,
"The most widespread North American turtle,[57] the painted turtle is the only turtle whose native range extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific.[nb 4] It is native to eight of Canada's ten provinces, forty-five of the fifty United States, and one of Mexico's thirty-one states. On the East Coast, it lives from the Canadian Maritimes to the U.S. state of Georgia. On the West Coast, it lives in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon and offshore on southeast Vancouver Island.[nb 5] The northernmost American turtle,[59] its range includes much of southern Canada. To the south, its range reaches the U.S. Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Alabama. In the southwestern United States there are only dispersed populations. It is found in one river in extreme northern Mexico. It is absent in a part of southwestern Virginia and the adjacent states as well as in north-central Alabama."

Painted Turtles are actually found as fossils, the oldest going back 15 million years in Nebraska.

You can also visit:

A bit of sun, a bit of gossip - what more could a Painted Turtle ask of life?
I hope you are all enjoying time outside; keep those eyes, ears, and even noses open and have fun finding some marvelous critters of your own!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

IN THE PINK - Maybe a bit of green and white, too

Late Spring & Into Summer Pink Flowers - Some Fruiting Mosses and Indian Pipes

Nature Paints With Pink


Red Clover Flower

Note - You can copy and paste the links I've posted into your browser to learn more about the plants.

If you stop to look, you'll see that Nature doesn't have just one or two shades of any color; there are hundreds, maybe thousands.  This is a post to highlight a few of those pink shades we see in the late spring and into summer.  There is a section on fruiting mosses (which are definitely not pink), and some pictures of Indian Pipes - white, fungus-looking wildflowers - that bloom in July and August in our area.

I've given up trying to make the pages perfect because this program has a mind of it's own and I don't understand it:>)  That's not whining, it's surrender!  Please just ignore the little oddities and enjoy the pictures.

Lunaria, or Money Plant, is a late springtime bloomer in our yard.  Most flowers are white but a few are this lovely pink.  The dried seed pods are much desired for decoration and dried bouquets.

The Deptford Pinks begin blooming here in late June.  they are a low and lanky plant, growing to about 18 inches tall, sometimes more. 

Another common name for these little beauties is Mountain Pink
There are something like 250 species in this family of flowers, but bindweed is the most common name I know.  They like full sun, are a vine, and will tangle themselves around anything that offers support.  Gardeners and farmers alike curse the plant and consider it a terrible pest.  It is lovely (most of the plants flower in white but many are pink) but pernicious - never quits!  They bloom from late spring into fall. This was growing amongst thistles in a field.
Joe Pye Weed is getting more and more scarce as years go by.  Where once there were huge areas filled with it, now there are houses, roads, or they've been mowed down.  This is sad because the plant offers butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, and other insects a meal, a place to hunt, and hiding places.  It's a big plant growing up to 7 feet tall, blooms summer into fall, and needs reliably moist soil.  I can tell you it grows very well in full sun to light shade.  This is a GORGEOUS plant and would be beautiful in a landscaping scheme.  It's relatively problem free, blooms like crazy, and doesn't need attention.  I've seen white flowers as well as this pretty mauve/pink.  Consider it as a wonderful addition to your garden:>)
This and the next few pictures are not flowers and are not pink (Did you guess that already?) but are some of my favorite things:>)  These are the fruiting bodies of various mosses.  Instead of seeds, mosses produce spores.  When the spores are mature they are released on the breezes to spread the moss.  I LOVE the many shapes and colors of these fruiting bodies and have wayyyyyy too many pictures of them - LOL>

Here is a quote from the site given below. 

What is a moss?

A moss is a class (Musci) of plants without flowers or roots. Moss usually grows as low, dense, carpet-like masses on tree trunks, rocks, or moist ground.
Language of Flowers: Moss means "maternal love".

Small but mighty! The fruiting bodies of moss are the capsules where the spores are grown. They can look like globs or cylinders, and are generally held above the carpet of moss on long, delicate stalks. Beautiful shapes and colors!

Roses are another wildflower that grows profusely and not only beautifies the landscape but fills the air with perfume.  Again, there are many kinds and not all are beloved.  Although I like the wild, multiflora rose, for example, many people fight to get rid of it.  It is an introduced and invasive plant, but it has that other, wonderful side.  Blooming is barely more than a couple weeks long, but those weeks are awesome - white flowers everywhere and the air is heavenly.  Each bit of wind carries the scent throughout the area.  Because the flowers are white, this particular rose is not shown.

The roses here are field roses of various sorts.  There are white ones, too, and roses that thrive at the shore in all the salt spray and sand.  Roses are tough cookies and can survive tough conditions!

The Wild Geranium is such a pretty wildflower!  May/June is blooming time in Green Lane and I look forward to having them brighten our yard every year.  When growing in a colony they are impressive - all those delicate, pink flowers on the dark green foliage.  They are about 1-1/2 feet high and can easily be grown in a wildflower garden with rich, reliably moist soil.  We live in the woods so ours are in partial shade and like it fine.  I've also seen them in full sun just loving life.  For more info you can visit here:

Wild Geranium, Crane Flower
In May/June we have the blooming explosion of Wild Phlox.  In a good year there are wide swaths of these stunning plants flowering their white, purple, and pink hearts out.  I collected ripe seed pods in September and met with a small amount of planting success, and transplanting hasn't been great either so now I enjoy them where they grow.  Maybe I'll buy seeds some day.  They don't seem to like full sun and ours like to grow near creeks, pondside, and in ditches.  They do grow away from water, too, but aren't as lush.  You can get information on these lovely plants here:

Indian Pipes are actually blooming wildflowers, not fungi as many assume from their appearance.  A second common name for them is Corpse Plant because they rapidly turn black when touched.  These are unusual wildflowers as they get their nutrition from fungi that have a symbiotic (mostly mutually beneficial) relationship with plants - mainly trees, I believe.  They are white because there is no chlorophyll-making ability in these plants.  How lovely to find these delicate flowers growing in the woods.  Sun is not their friend so search for them in shaded, moist areas.  There is a more scarce version that is pinkish.  Some of ours have a slightly pink tint but not as strong as other images I've seen.

All white version

Pink tinted version
More pink

Seed heads of the Indian Pipe plants

 Venus Looking Glass

These lovely members of the Bellflower family grow wild in dry, sunny places.  They are leggy, being slender and about a foot tall, and have these pretty, purple flowers that open rising up the stalk as the older flowers below die off.  They enjoy poor soil like old railroad tracks or overgrown fields, but must have plenty of sun to thrive.

They bloom, in our area, June and July, and this picture was taken July 4, 2013, in Green Lane, Pennsylvania, USA. 

For more information you can read a lovely little write up here:
Venus Looking Glass
The majority of the Queen Anne's Lace hereabouts are white with a red center.  I'm including this picture to show the pink on the outermost buds.  I love these flowers, especially when they bloom in concert with the blue chicory (cornflower).  This plant is an introduced, very successful wildflower that is considered a noxious weed by some folks.  The plant can grow tall, up to3 feet, and loves full sun and waste areas.  It blooms in the second year of growth (biennial) and is in flower all summer long.  What more can you ask of a plant but to have it grow where nothing much else thrives and to be beautiful as well.  It does resemble the dangerously poisonous Water Hemlock (suggested this is what killed Socrates) so look for the red dot in the middle of the flower head to be sure you aren't messing with a deadly - YES, DEADLY! - plant.

Here is a site for information on the Water Hemlock - always be well-armed with knowledge:>)  There is nothing to fear if you know about the plant/mushroom.bug/animal and deal with it with respect.

Queen Anne's Lace
There are a few types of Ironweed.  I'm giving this the ID of "New York, Ironweed" because it has the fuzzy looking flowers and is really, really tall:>).  This specimen is growing in a field in Green Lane, Pa, USA, and the picture was taken September 3, 2011.

Ironweed attracts a large number of insects, especially butterflies, bees, and wasps.  It is handsome (as you see), and although it reminds me of a thistle it is actually a member of the aster family.  The name Ironweed comes from the persistence of the stems through the winter.  It is a perennial - a strong, tall plant that likes moist fields and meadows with lots of sunshine.

For more information go to:

Purple Loostrife is gorgeous but terribly invasive.  It was introduced and now is taking over.  This quote is taken from the Wikipedia write up linked below:  "The purple loosestrife has been introduced into temperate New Zealand and North America where it is now widely naturalized and officially listed in some controlling agents. Infestations result in dramatic disruption in water flow in rivers and canals, and a sharp decline in biological diversity as native food and cover plant species, notably cattails, are completely crowded out, and the life cycles of organisms from waterfowl to amphibians to algae are affected. A single plant may produce up to 2.7 million tiny seeds annually. [10] Easily carried by wind and water, the seeds germinate in moist soils after overwintering. The plant can also sprout anew from pieces of root left in the soil or water. Once established, loosestrife stands are difficult and costly to remove by mechanical and chemical means.
Plants marketed under the name "European wand loosestrife" (L. virgatum) are the same species despite the different name. In some cases the plants sold are sterile, which is preferable.
In North America, purple loosestrife may be distinguished from similar native plants (e.g. fireweed Epilobium angustifolium, blue vervain Verbena hastata, Liatris Liatris spp., and spiraea (Spiraea douglasii) by its angular stalks which are square in outline, as well by its leaves, which are in pairs that alternate at right angle and are not serrated.

There are so many kinds of thistle plants that I'm rather at a loss on this exact ID.  Some thistles have malicious thorns, others have no thorns.  Some are invasive and not welcomed in places while others beautiful our landscape in a lovely display of pink/purple flowers.  they have seed that are like the dandelion seeds - fluffy and designed to travel on the breezes.
Thistle - I can only give you the generic name - sorry.

It's summer and I find myself woefully short on time to do anything - sound familiar?  Blog posts will be catch-as-catch-can until fall, perhaps, but I'm going to try to have new posts fairly often, just not on a schedule.

If you read the blog and haven't signed up, sign up is an easy way to be notified when a new post is published.  It is invisible to me who signs up.  To help you I've made 3 screen shots of the email sign up process. (I did it just so I'd know what happens and could show you what to expect.)

On any blog page - upper right side above the listing of popular posts you'll see this:

Enter your email address and press "SUBMIT".

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Enter the squiggly, annoying secret code and press "COMPLETE SUBSCRIPTION REQUEST".

You will get the final screen which looks like this:

Close the window.  When your email requesting verification that you really want to be signed up arrives in your in box, it will look like this (the highlighting is mine, not theirs):

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You recently requested an email subscription to Nature's Wonders. We can't wait to send the updates you want via email, so please click the following link to activate your subscription immediately:

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Okay - I'm off to the shower and then the grocery store.  I'm so pleased you're here reading this blog:>)

Thank you - see you soon!

Friday, July 4, 2014

They're driving me buggy


Or How I Learned To Love My Six Legs

There are millions and million of insects in the world and we never even see the vast majority of them.  Each has a specific niche to fill in the balance of nature.  This post has an assortment of "bugs" that are called insects because they have six legs.  The technical definition as found in the Random House Dictionary is, 

"any animal of the class Insecta, comprising small, air-breathing arthropods having the body divided into three parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), and having three pairs of legs and usually two pairs of wings."

There is a second definition that reads, to paraphrase it, a contemptible or low person.  Today we deal only with the six-legged kind of insect.

Aside from chocolate-covered ants, fried grasshoppers and the like, Americans don't generally eat insects even though they are a remarkably good source of protein.  Many other parts of the world depend on them for a part of their food options.  I prefer to look at them and enjoy them "as is where is".  I dislike killing them, but there are times when it must be done and I don't feel too terribly bad about squishing a fly or mosquito or drowning a tick in alcohol.  Fleas don't thrill me either, or lice, even though my Dad wrote his PHD thesis on them.  Any bug that bites me is libel to be punished!

I found a great site for you folks in Australia - I;m loving this one!

Here are a some images of insects, and I've included a few that are arthropods.  Enjoy:>)

Annual cicadas mating.   They sing us to sleep in the heat of the summer; some folks might say it sounds more like a cacauphony - LOL!

The husk of an Annual Cicada after leaving the ground, splitting it's larval skin, and emerging as an adult.  You can learn a lot more if you wish by visiting this web site:

This is a large ground beetle about 1-1/2 inches long (not counting the ovipositor).  She is seeking a good place to lay her eggs and what you see sticking out of her backside is the "ovipositor" she puts into the ground.  The eggs are passed through this organ and placed in the soil.  It cannot hurt people.  Her jaws are strong, however, and she should be pocked up with care.  The young larvae are white grubs and help to aerate the soil.

I don't have names for a number of these insects and I'll tell you truly it can be difficult to find proper identifications.  Don't let this stop you from trying.  The internet is a magnificent resource, and one of my favorite places to search is Bug Guide.  This is a site manned by people who try to help beginners get names for their finds.  Sometime when you have a couple minutes, go visit them and see what it's all about.

I'm thinking grasshopper?????  Isn't it strange looking!

Wooly Alder Aphids  (  )  Aphids, in general, are considered pests, especially to gardeners.  There are many, many types pf aphids and they all suck plant juices.  Too many aphids weaken a plant and leave it prone to diseases.  These particular aphids like alder and silver maple trees.

Another grasshopper!  They come in numerous colors, shapes, and sizes.  "Grasshopper" is a general term for Caelifera insects.  Here is a bit more info:

I believe this is a carpenter bee - we have loads of them - and I want to show you the long tongue they use to get inside a flower.  Also please note the antennae.  Bees have jointed antennae that have on bend in their relatively long length.  When looking at what you think is a bee, you can usually tell by the antennae.  Mimics are flies and have short antennae, no bends, and blobs at the ends.

What made me think this is a carpenter bee id the bald spot on the back.

These interesting insects can walk on water.  They have specially designed feet and legs that keep them on top of the surface.  I like how their little feet make needle marks on the water, and I think it looks a bit like a quilt.  Food for the bugs is other bugs that fall on the water and become dinner.  When it is not mating season, Water Striders live in friendly communal groups and even share food.

More info here:

Crane Fly - Tipulidae  There are hundreds of kinds of crane flies and they can be found at all times of the year.  They are anywhere from tiny to large and look like giant mosquitoes but they don't bite people and they don't sting - totally harmless.  Here is a page from Bug Guide showing general information.  If you click on different tabs you can see range, and other images, etc.   (  )           


Walking Stick Insect - It looks just like a stick.  They like sitting with the two front legs pointing out front (the greenish looking things facing right).  The body on this one was, I'll guess, about three inches long and the legs are extra - LOL.  You can hold them.  There are some in other countries that grow to more than a foot long and kids love to keep them as pets.  More info here:
Six-spotted Tiger Beetle hunting for a meal.  These guys are gorgeous all dressed up in their iridescent colors.  They have big, strong jaws to help them hold on to prey, and long legs for very fast running.  They can fly and do so readily of they sense danger.

Six-spotted Tiger Beetles mating

Another view of the fierce Tiger Beetle.  These lovely, iridescent beetles are ferocious predators.  They are fast runners with huge jaws and hunt on the ground.  They can fly, and do so at any sign of something getting too close which makes them the very dickens to photograph.  I am an excellent sneak, however, and sometimes I luck out:>).  I actually got a shot of a mating pair (see above); they were occupied and didn't notice me as quickly - LOL.

This picture was taken May 25, 2012, in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA.

These are beneficial as they eat other insects, and there are a number of species.  For homework, please read: 

These flies are nectar feeders and usually brightly colored.  The hind legs show a feathery-like shape which gives them their name.  The dark tip on the abdomen means this is a female, and she's the size of a large house fly.  Take a look at the antennae - short with blobs on the ends:>)

These insects are used in pest control; they parasitize leaf-footed bugs, squash bugs, and green stink bugs by laying eggs on the host.  The eggs hatch and the larvae make a meal of the host, pupate, then emerge to mate.

This picture was taken September 8, 2009, at Green Lane Reservoir in Pennsburg, PA.

For more information see:

This is a Soldier Beetle, a relative of Fireflies but they cannot make light.  These are mostly out and about during the day, and they eat pollen, nectar, and other insects - beneficial to gardeners!  There are a number of kinds of Soldier Beetles.  Here is a Bug Guide page for you to visit:

It's some sort of fly, I guess.  It was pretty and I'd never seen one before so I grabbed a picture for future reference as I research it.  This was on Cape Cod in Massachusetts - early summer.
Green Stink Bug - also called a Shield Bug  These are pests and like to eat garden crops.  They come into the house for the winter and are generally annoying.  There are a couple kinds of stink bugs and all have a pungent, musty odor they release when bothered or crushed.

Green Stink Bug Nymph (Baby)

Leaf-footed bug.  These are sometimes called squash bugs and can be pesty on those crops.  As with everything in nature, there are a number of types, and some have a flattened, leaf-looking part on the hind legs.  Some kinds carry their eggs until they hatch; this helps prevent parasitism.  Once again, go visit Bug Guide for a wonderful way to learn about these bugs.

WARNING!  Scarlet Lily Leaf Beetle - Lilioceris lilii.This serious pest of lilies was first found in Canada in 1945, and by the 1990s was not uncommon in New England, USA.  They probably came in on bulbs from Europe where they are native, but they are also found naturally in Asia.  The UK is now battling these pests, too.

The beetle eats lily leaves, stems, flowers, and buds and will decimate a garden.  We have no natural enemies to keep them in check although work is being done in that area.  Right now, picking them off by hand is the most effective means of organically controlling them.

You can get more information at:

Get a nice, short PDF with pictures

Reddish-brown Stag Beetle  -  These are fairly large and their mandibles are strong, but if you pick them up carefully behind the head you'll be fine.  They are called Reddish-brown Stag Beetles (Lucanus capreolus).  These beetles feed on sap when adults, and the larvae eat decaying stumps and such.   They are night flying insects and are attracted to lights.  Their range is wide with a span of roughly the eastern portion of North America.

This picture was taken in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, on June 3, 2011.

You can learn more at:

Reduviid, or Wheel Bug, or Assassin Bug  This description is paraphrased from Wikipedia;

Wheel bugs are one of the largest bugs in North America, and can reach 1-1/2 inches length. What people usually recognize is the wheel-shaped pronotal (in the area of the first legs) armor. They hunt and eat soft-bodied insects like caterpillars, Japanese beetles, etc., which they pierce with their beak to inject salivary fluids that dissolve soft tissue. Because most of their prey are pests, wheel bugs are considered beneficial insects, although they can inflict a painful bite if handled carelessly.

Wheel bugs are common in eastern North America, although many people in the region have never seen them. They are camouflaged and very shy, hiding whenever possible. They have membranous wings, allowing for clumsy, noisy flight which can easily be mistaken for the flight of a large grasshopper. The adult is gray to brownish gray in color and black shortly after molting, but the nymphs (which do not yet have the wheel-shaped structure) have bright red or orange abdomens.

On a personal note, I enjoy their "personalities".  When unsure if I am a threat, they hide on the far side of a branch or stem and peek around to see if I've left yet.  Their faces are expressive (to my anthropomorphic mind) and this one didn't run and hide because I was speaking softly to it the whole time I was photographing - or maybe it thought it was already hidden in the flowers, who knows?

 Now for a few arthropods that are not insects.  You may very well have seen these before, but I hope you can view them here with an eye to their beauty.

House Centipede - These were originally from the Mediterranean region of the world but have found their way to most other continents and acclimated very well, thank you:>)  They do like houses to live in, are active more at night, and they can have up to 15 pairs of these long, delicate legs.  They are very fast and can run along the floor, up walls, and across ceilings.  They are hunters and their food is insects, other arthropods, especially spiders - yummy.  The babies are tiny versions of the adults with less legs, each instar (shedding of the skin) can add legs.  A quote from Wikipedia - "Young centipedes have four pairs of legs when they are hatched. They gain a new pair with the first molting, and two pairs with each of their five subsequent moltings."  Here is a write up from Penn State University.

Woodland snail on Black Cohosh - lousy picture but you can see it:>)

Millipede - Orthoporus texicolens - scientific name is to separate it from the next millipede.  Unlike the centipede, millipedes have two pairs of legs on most body segments.  They rarely come into the house, are pretty fast but not really if compared to centipedes.  Centipedes are hunters and eat other arthropods and insects (and can bite people), but millipedes are gentle creatures, often kept as pets and used in schools for science class.  They curl into this shape when scared.  The female encases her eggs in dung and mud (if I remember correctly) then stays with the eggs until they hatch.  Babies look like the parents but smaller and must go through a number of molts (shedding of skin) as they grow.  I've seen them up to 4 inches long and I know they can grow up to 6 inches long.  They can excrete awful smelling stuff as a protective move when threatened.

Millipede Polydesmida (Sigmoria aberrans) - Latin name to separate it from the above millipede.  These live in the leaf litter on the forest floor.

Unlike centipedes which are soft-bodied and mainly carnivorous, millipedes have an exoskeleton and generally eat decomposing plant matter.  Centipedes have only one pair of legs per body segment while millipedes have two.  If you look closely at this guy, all rolled up in fear of me, you'll see the legs.

Centipedes can bite; millipedes won't but they do have a noxious excretion.

Neither centipedes nor millipedes are insects; they are arthropods.

Here is more info for you if you're curious:

Have a wonderful, fun, and especially safe weekend!  Thanks for visiting and I'll be back next week.