Bug o’the Week – Dung beetle

Salutations, BugFans,  Sometimes, the secret of getting a good picture is “Right time, right place, right toys.”  The BugLady has been longing to do an episode on dung beetles – they’re amazing insects, and they live right here in Wisconsin,… Read More

Bug o’the Week – Horned Passalus (Bess) Beetle

The BugLady has been wanting to do an episode about Bess beetles for a long time, but she didn’t have a picture of one (many thanks to BugFans Tom and Joe for sharing). Why Bess beetles? Because they exhibit what’s called “pre-social behavior,” and they vocalize like crazy, and they have lots of names, and then there’s the phoresy. The Insects of Duke University website calls them “one of the most delightful discoveries one can make upon overturning logs.”

The 12 Bugs of Christmas

Season’s Greetings, BugFans, As always, we pause to celebrate (while humming seasonal songs and drinking eggy, adult beverages), the Twelve Bugs of Christmas (plus one) – a baker’s dozen of bugs, many of whom have already starred in their own… Read More

Red Cocklebur Weevil

The BugLady (who loves finding weevils) found this one in Ohio, but it does live here in God’s Country and throughout eastern North America. With about 83,000 species worldwide (3,000 in North America), the very-diverse weevil family, Curculionidae, is one of the largest animal (not just insect – animal!) families. Weevils can be recognized by their cute little snout (rostrum) and their “elbowed” antennae. Plant-chewing mouthparts are located at the end of the snout.

More Scenes of Summer

OK – it’s September, but the bug season isn’t over yet. Outside of wetlands, if there’s anything better than a walk on the prairie, surrounded by Big Bluestem grass, with big Common Green Darners and Black Saddlebags dragonflies overhead, the BugLady hasn’t found it yet. Here is another batch of summer images, mostly from prairies.

Bumble Flower Beetle

The BugLady had a wonderful Beetle Experience the other day. She was at Riveredge Nature Center, attempting to photograph some butterflies (a Common Wood Nymph and a few Viceroys) on a large cup-plant that had bloomed and was forming seeds when she noticed some drab, half-inch, hairy bees sitting on/in the flower heads. When she took a closer look (and some pictures, of course), she discovered that they were a flower scarab called the Bumble Flower Beetle.

Seven-Spotted Ladybug

Sometimes, the origins of insects’ names are pretty inscrutable, but not that of the Seven-spotted Ladybug. Its name does need a little unpacking, though – like the firefly/lightning bug, the ladybug/ladybird is a beetle (alternate name, lady beetle). The Lady in question is the Virgin, to whom the people in the Middle Ages prayed when aphids were devouring their crops, and who is said to have responded by sending this species of aphid-loving beetle.

Summer Survey

The BugLady is spending as much time as she can in the field (and the rest of it editing pictures) because, you know, the Summer Solstice has passed, and a little wave of warblers moved through her yard the other day, and winter is coming. Many of these beauties have already starred in their own BOTW. In a nutshell – there’s a whole lot of romance in the air.

Red-Shouldered Pine Borer

Meet another of the BugLady’s new neighbors, a handsome black beetle with red epaulets called the Red-shouldered Pine Borer. It came to her front door – well, actually, it was trapped in her front door, between the screen and the raised glass of the storm door, and its rescue involved dismantling the glass/screen assembly with one hand while holding a jar beneath the beetle with the other (empty flip-top Parmesan cheese containers make excellent bug jars). Five days later, it happened again, with the appearance of the red individual.

Gold and Brown Rove Beetle

July is turning out to be Beetle Month, and here’s a beauty. It’s a Rove beetle, family Staphylinidae, a beetle family that rivals the weevils (and the Ichneumonid wasps) for the title of largest animal family (and scientists are still discovering new species). It will lose its place if a proposal to divide the Staphylinidae into four families gains traction.