The 12 Bugs of Christmas

It’s time again for the Annual “Twelve Bugs of Christmas” event (and, coincidentally, episode #350 in the series, by the BugLady’s numbering). Here are a (Baker’s) dozen insects that will not be getting (or who have already had) their own BOTWs. Feel free to hum along, and have a lovely Holiday.

Summer Summary

As the Bug Season winds down, the BugLady would like to celebrate summer by sharing a baker’s dozen of the pictures she’s taken in the past few months.

Red Saddlebags Dragonfly (Family Libellulidae)

Red Saddlebag Dragonflies is in a large group of often-flashy dragonflies. They are definitely migratory, traveling south along the Lake Michigan shoreline each fall with masses of Green Darners. Life begins when eggs are deposited in the warm, quiet, shallow waters of a lake or pond (they are known to use temporary/seasonal/rain ponds where fish are absent). Males patrol territories, flying and hovering over areas as large as 3,000 square feet.

The 12 Bugs of Christmas

With apologies to Olde English Folk Songs everywhere, here is the Second Annual Twelve Bugs of Christmas, featuring a Baker’s Dozen that were photographed this year but that did/will not appear in BOTWs. These pictures are a tribute to the joy of stumbling into the right place at the right time.

Cup Plant Cosmos

The BugLady spent some very warm days among the Cup plants, those jumbo prairie plants whose opposite leaves join around the stem resulting in a small reservoir that often holds rain water or dew. The undersurface of the tender top leaves of many Cup plants were wall-to-wall with (insert creepy adjective here) red aphids—a cast of thousands—and there were some very cool supporting actors.

Chalk-fronted Corporal Dragonfly (Family Libellulidae)

Chalk-fronted Corporals are dragonflies whose range includes the northern half of the U.S. and southern Canada. They typically emerge in huge numbers in early May. On cool, spring days, hundreds of CfCs may congregate on/over warm road surfaces. CfCs like swampy, marshy, boggy wetlands with plenty of decaying plant material in it and they can abide somewhat acid water.

Baskettail (Family Corduliidae)

The Common Baskettail and Spiny Baskettail are among the early dragonflies of spring, their flight periods usually completed by mid-summer. They are described as agile and acrobatic flyers that often form feeding swarms in clearings away from water and that can consume their prey while in flight.

Eastern Amberwing Dragonfly (Family Libellulidae)

At just under an inch in length, the Eastern Amberwing is the second smallest dragonfly around. Where do you find them? Over most of the U.S. east of the Great Plains and south into Mexico. Look for them near quiet or very slowly-moving waters, or far from water, hunting at grass-top-height over weedy fields or perched on vegetation at a woodland’s edge.

Eastern Pondhawk (Family Libellulidae)

Eastern Pondhawks are brilliantly green, with dark-tipped abdomens that are decorated by “square,” black spots/bands/chevrons. As they age, males develop a waxy surface layer called pruinosity that hides the green and makes them look blue. Like all dragonflies, EPs are carnivorous. Naiads “sprawl” on pond bottoms or climb on submerged vegetation looking for invertebrates to eat. Adults hunt from the ground or from perches, snatching out of the air a variety of flying insects including butterflies and moths, damselflies, and other dragonflies.

The 12 Bugs of Christmas II

A handful of additional Bugs.