Once upon a Fungus

When the BugLady was walking in the woods at Riveredge the other day, she found some plate-sized, stocky, very aromatic, gilled mushrooms growing out of the ground. Then, she saw something moving on the rim of an “over-the-hill” fungus.

Summer Survey 2019

The BugLady hopes that you’ve been getting out on the trail and drinking in the lushness of the summer. Subjects of this summer’s survey include wasps, aphids, syrphids, and katydids.

Majestic Long-horned Beetle

The BugLady is always excited when she finds an insect she’s never seen before. She was moseying along the trail at Riveredge Nature Center at the beginning of July when she saw a flash of orange in the vegetation. A big flash. She craned and fidgeted and crossed her fingers while the beetle crawled around, revealing itself by degrees.

Stories, not Atoms

The poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” The BugLady sees lots of tableaux unfolding as she ambles across the landscape. Because she was taught, at an impressionable age, by a professor who said “Don’t just tell them what it is, tell them ‘what about it,’” she tries to read the stories and understand the “what-about-its”

Dung beetle

“Dung beetle” refers to beetles whose lives are intertwined with dung, but the term is not exclusively a taxonomic one.  True, most of its practitioners belong to the beetle family Scarabaeidae and the subfamily Scarabaeinae, but the name is also applied loosely to any beetle that makes its living in dung. Researching the dung beetle is like researching a rock star.  There are True Facts, YouTube videos, Facebook, kids’ pages, and even a graphic novel or two!  Because they have Super Powers. 

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

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 BOTWs but who posed nicely for the BugLady this year.

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.