I'M AN INSECT!
Or How I Learned To Love My Six Legs
"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! http://thebeatsheet.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/GoodBadBug-FINALscreen22Feb3.pdf
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: http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/annual-cicadas-dog-day-cicadas|
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. http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740
|I'm thinking grasshopper????? Isn't it strange looking!|
|Another grasshopper! They come in numerous colors, shapes, and sizes. "Grasshopper" is a general term for Caelifera insects. Here is a bit more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grasshopper|
|What made me think this is a carpenter bee id the bald spot on the back.|
|Six-spotted Tiger Beetles mating|
|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 Nymph (Baby)|
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. http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/house-centipedes|
|Woodland snail on Black Cohosh - lousy picture but you can see it:>)|
|Millipede Polydesmida (Sigmoria aberrans) - Latin name to separate it from the above millipede. These live in the leaf litter on the forest floor.|
Have a wonderful, fun, and especially safe weekend! Thanks for visiting and I'll be back next week.