A Few More Flies

Flies have two wings and although there are a few wingless fly species, there are no four-winged flies (and the majority of non-fly insects that do have wings have four of them). Flies practice Complete Metamorphosis, morphing from egg to larva (a legless, cylindrical “maggot”) (maggot—such a prejudicial term) to pupa to adult.

Earthworms

Earthworms live in u-shaped tunnels in the soil. They stay indoors during the day because sunlight’s UV rays immobilize them and ultimately dry out the moist skin through which they breathe. They live in the dark. Eyeless, they sense light with their skin, and earless, they are very sensitive to vibration. Their senses of taste and touch are well developed.

Water Scorpion (Family Nepidae)

The well-camouflaged Brown Water Scorpion (Ranatra fusca [probably]) is in the Order Hemiptera, and thus can legally be called a “bug.” Hemipterans have simple/incomplete metamorphosis, looking when they hatch pretty much like they will as adults. Both immature and adult water scorpions live in the same habitats in ponds and streams.

Earwigs (Family Forficulidae)

Earwigs are harmless nocturnal omnivorous scavengers whose chewing mouthparts allow a diet that includes organic debris, other insects (they stalk aphids by night), and plants. They metamorphose simply, shedding, growing wings and adding segments on their antennae until maturity.

A Cache of Crickets

Crickets have hind legs dramatically adapted for leaping, and many also have wings—a leap is part legs and part wings. Most are vegetarians, although there are forays into carnivorous, omnivorous, “scavenger-iferous” and cannibalistic lifestyles. They develop via simple/incomplete metamorphosis, in which the young hatch out looking like mini-adults and don’t have a resting/changing/pupa stage.

False Bombardier Beetle (Family Carabidae)

For years, the BugLady mis-identified this leggy, inch-long beetle as a Bombardier beetle, but having finally managed a decent photo of one, she was able to identify it as a False Bombardier Beetle. Mostly dark-colored, speedy, long-lived, nocturnal carnivores. Its spray consists mainly of concentrated formic acid, with some acetic acid and wetting agents thrown in.

A Few Flies

Flies belong to the Order Diptera. They have two, membranous forewings and vestigial hind wings that have been reduced to knobs called “halteres” (which help the insect balance). They have mouthparts that may be adapted for piercing, lapping or sponging. In this episode, mosquitoes, deer flies, horse flies, and black horse flies are featured.

Ants

Ants have been around for about 200 million years, and ants, which developed from wasps, for about 90 million years, give or take. Although many hymenopterans are solitary, the order is famous for housing the social insects, and all/nearly all species in the ant family are social. Most colonies operate with a caste system that includes a queen (a fertile female that mates only once and then retires to lay eggs, read romance novels and eat chocolates for the rest of her life, which may span up to 15 years), workers (sterile, wingless females who care for the queen, eggs, and larvae, maintain and defend the colony, and forage for food), and males.

Cicadas (Family Cicadidae)

Heard far more often than they are seen, Cicadas are commonly (and erroneously) referred to as “locusts,” named after the noisy but completely unrelated grasshopper group. Each species has a characteristic call which is produced by internal structures called tymbals. Most males emerge during a relatively compressed period of time and vocalize to attract females

Homopterans on Parade

This episode, “Homopterans on Parade,” is about four groups of small plant-juice-suckers that grace (and sometimes damage) our vegetation.