Black Horse Fly

People often ask the BugLady what her favorite bug is, and although there’s a crowded field for second place, the Tiger Swallowtail is the hands-down winner. Most Impressive Bug? The Black horse fly (Tabanus atratus) (family Tabanidae) is certainly high on that list, and although she knows that it’s (probably) not going to pursue her (they generally stalk non-human mammals), just seeing one always gives her a bit of a start.

The 12 Bugs of Christmas

‘Tis the Season for the annual Twelve Bugs of Christmas – a baker’s dozen, actually, of oddities (and wonders) that the BugLady found during the year. Let Heaven and Nature sing!

Bugs in the News III

The BugLady is busy writing about shagbark hickory (for the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog) and Short-eared Owls (for the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory), so here are some items about insects, some of which were sent to her by alert BugFans.

Bugs without Bios X

Introducing three unsung (but worthy) bugs, whose definitive biographies have yet to be written.

ENTYLIA CARINATA (no common name) is a treehopper in the family Membracidae (from the Greek membrax meaning “a kind of cicada”) (to whom they’re distantly related).

The Eye of the Fly

The BugLady has always been blown away by macro photographs of horse fly eyes. Spectacular. And excessive. (and – why??) Then BugFan Debra sent a picture of a buffalo treehopper that had pretty special eyes, too.

Goldenrod Watch – Act II

The goldenrods in the BugLady’s field are exuberant, with new, brilliant yellow flowers opening daily. Goldenrod blooms late, produces a bonanza of pollen (there’s not much nectar there), and is the embodiment of the insect enthusiast’s credo—“Looking for insects? Check the flowers.”

Ephemeral Pond Critters Revisited

The wonder of ephemeral pools is that they are populated by animals that take this annual disappearing act in stride—animals that are prepared to dry up with the pond or to get out of Dodge (timing is everything), and therein lie many tales. An astonishing array of animals use ephemeral ponds as a place to drink, hunt, and breed, but an ephemeral pond is a challenging place to call home. The still, shallow water warms quickly (which encourages speedy metamorphoses) but contains little oxygen.

March Fly (Family Bibionidae)

March flies generally live in wooded areas and are often found on flowers—adults of some species feed on nectar, pollen, and honeydew, but adults of other species don’t feed at all, and in either case, they are very short-lived. They’re considered important pollinators in orchards and for some species of irises and orchids. Their larvae, drab and primitive-looking, feed en masse on rotting organic material like leaves, wood, compost, and rich soil, and sometimes they damage plant roots.

Golden Dung Fly (Family Scathophagidae)

Golden/Yellow Dung Flies are small, spiny flies. Appearance can vary geographically, seasonally, and because of a variety of other factors including larval food availability. The fly’s life is dung-centered. Mom and Dad meet there, mate there, lay eggs there, and take their meals there. They feed on other flies that are attracted to dung, and they also consume nectar (and, if times get tough, each other), but they leave man and beast alone. Its geographic range includes cooler, temperate regions throughout much of the world, and it probably arrived in North America from Europe early-on, with shipments of cattle.

Selected Short Subjects

The BugLady’s #3 child nailed it years ago when she proclaimed her mother an “Essoterrorist”—someone with a fondness for squirreling away obscure facts. Here are some of the Bug Facts that she’s come across while looking for something else.