Walkingstick (Family Heteronemiidae)

Shy and nocturnal, Walkingsticks graze on leaves of forest trees and, during a population boom, can damage them. There are two reasons for camouflage—to hide and to hunt. Turns out that despite one of Mother Nature’s better camouflage jobs, many predators aren’t fooled; walkingsticks are spotted and eaten by a variety of songbirds, rodents and mantises.

Red Admiral (Family Nymphalidae)

Red Admirals are widely distributed across the U.S. (and temperate regions in Europe, northern Africa and Asia) and occasionally have large population irruptions and wander. Red admiral adults and pupae are found in the south during the winter, and migrating admirals repopulate the north each spring. The males set up territories in clearings and semi-sunny edges in the late afternoon.

Crayfish

Crayfish are found throughout the continent, although the Rocky Mountains and western Great Plains have historically been fairly crayfish-free. Crayfish inhabit shallow waters, running and still, and some live in damp-lands away from standing water. Crayfish are omnivores and often scavengers, feeding on dead plants, live plants, snails, aquatic insects, small fish and carrion.

Moth Madness

Three moths are featured in this story. The Virginia Ctenucha Moth, Sweetheart Underwing, and the White Underwing.

A Bevy of Beetles

Beetles are in the Order Coleoptera, which you Latin and Greek scholars know means sheath wings. Their pair of membranous, flying wings is covered at rest by a top second pair of wings (the elytra) that protects them, but because the elytra have to be held out to each side in flight, they fly awkwardly. In this BOTW we have three types; Long-horned, Blister, and Klamathweed beetles.

Praying Mantis (Family Mantidae)

The Praying Mantis is superbly adapted as predators. The serrations/spines on the second and third sections of their abnormally long front legs interlock when they grab their prey, making escape impossible. Their eyes are situated so as to give them binocular vision; like hawks and owls they can see forward with both eyes and judge the distance to their prey. Also like the owl, they can rotate their heads significantly

Dragonfly 2

The word Dragonfly is probably taken equally from mythical dragons and from the Greek dragon, drakos—the dragon of fly, which had a “terrible eye” (Dragonflies seem to be all compound eye.) Both immature and adult dragonflies are voracious carnivores. Nymphs spend their allotted days, scarfing down anything that’s smaller and slower-moving than they are; they’ll even take tadpoles and fish.

Signs of Insects

Sometimes when the insects are playing hard to get, there are still plenty of signs that insects are around. Keep that in mind on your own hikes.

Damselflies

Like dragonflies, Damselflies are in the Order Odonata. Despite the fact that the immature insect looks very different than the adult, like dragonflies they practice simple/incomplete metamorphosis, growing through eggYmdash;naiad—adult stages. Like dragonflies, their nurseries are aquatic, often in the quiet waters of the pond’s edge.

Potter/Jug-builder Wasp (Family Vespidae)

Most wasps live solitary lives, and when the time comes to lay eggs, they build a variety of types of nursery chambers, provision them with food for their potential young. This small, black mud dauber, also called the Jug Builder Wasp, throws a pot the shape of a small (about ½ inch) jug. She commonly builds several jugs in a row on a small branch, finding and transporting, one by one, small globs of mud.