Black Horse Fly

People often ask the BugLady what her favorite bug is, and although there’s a crowded field for second place, the Tiger Swallowtail is the hands-down winner. Most Impressive Bug? The Black horse fly (Tabanus atratus) (family Tabanidae) is certainly high on that list, and although she knows that it’s (probably) not going to pursue her (they generally stalk non-human mammals), just seeing one always gives her a bit of a start.

Bugs Without Bios XI

This week, The BugLady introduces some insects that, while not totally unsung, still have a pretty low profile.

Frosted and Belted Whiteface dragonflies

Let us usher in the New Year with dragonflies. Two of them.

Whiteface dragonflies are in the genus Leucorrhinia in the large (1,000+ species) and glorious Skimmer family Libellulidae. There are about 100 Libellulid species in North America, and seven of them are whitefaces. We visited whitefaces in 2011 in the person of the Dot-tailed Whiteface.

A tale of Two Planarians rerun

BugFan Marjie says that, on the bright side, she hasn’t gotten any bug bites recently. That would be an interesting poll to take – bug bites vs below zero temperatures. Anyway, the BugLady has been busy cooking and eating and washing dishes [repeat as needed], so here’s a slightly modified rerun from the spring of 2012.

The 12 Bugs of Christmas

‘Tis the Season for the annual Twelve Bugs of Christmas – a baker’s dozen, actually, of oddities (and wonders) that the BugLady found during the year. Let Heaven and Nature sing!

Spider Flight Rerun

This holiday rerun from 2011 was inspired by an amazing flight of spiders that the BugLady witnessed at Horicon Marsh in Central Wisconsin.

Bugs in the News III

The BugLady is busy writing about shagbark hickory (for the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog) and Short-eared Owls (for the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory), so here are some items about insects, some of which were sent to her by alert BugFans.

Spined Assassin Bug

We have visited the Assassin bug family Reduviidae before, in the form of Masked hunters, Ambush bugs, and the lovely little Zelus. Today’s bug is the Spined assassin bug (Sinea diadema), whose scientific name comes from the Hebrew for thorn bush or burning bush and crown, an allusion to its “spiky head.”

Forktails Two

The BugLady is thankful for damselflies. Oh, not always for the identification part, but for the joy of seeing them flickering through their thickety habitats and for the thrill of the photographic chase (first you have to spot them, and then the light and the background are often terrible).

A Honey of a Bee

Somewhere in a remote corner of Southeast Asia, in the neighborhood of 34 million years ago, a small bee originated that would change the course of the world.
Today, we call them honey bees (two words, not one). There are seven species in the genus Apis (family Apidae), and their family tree is complicated.