The 13 Bugs of Christmas

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English carol that was probably borrowed from the French and that was originally an acapella chant/call-and-response/children’s memory game. It first appeared in writing in 1780, and there were (and still are) many variations of it, though the words were more-or-less standardized when an official melody was finally written for it in 1909.

Flies without Bios I

Here are some “x-flies” that she was able to track down—or stumble upon by accident. Once again, we celebrate the bugs that are neither big enough nor bad enough nor good enough nor flashy enough to inspire study–or even, in many cases, to have been assigned a common name.

Giant Eastern Crane Fly (Family Pediciidae)

The Giant Eastern Crane Fly is one of about 150 species in its family in North America (500 globally), and is one of the largest crane fly-ish species on the continent. It’s found from Minnesota east through southern Canada and south to North Carolina.

Seasonal Sights and Sounds

Everywhere you look, you see adult insects, young insects, and the kinds of activity that will result in them. Here are some sights from the BugLady’s walks in southeastern Wisconsin.

Tricks of the Trade – Thick-headed Flies (Family Conopidae)

Thick-headed flies nectar on flowers, but Ms. Myopa has an ulterior motive for being there—she’s looking for hosts for her offspring. When she spies a potential host, she flies up, intercepts the incoming bee in flight, grabs it, and inserts a single egg between two of its abdominal segments.

Wildflower Watch – Dawdling among Dandelions

Dandelions produce both nectar and pollen and so are appreciated by wildlife, especially early bees and butterflies (100 species of pollinators have been tallied). The BugLady has been dawdling among dandelions to see who else appreciates them. She saw representatives of 8 kinds of hymenopterans (ants/bees/wasps), 4 kinds of flies, 3 of arachnids (spiders and spider relatives), and 1 beetle. Seen, but not photographed, were a few cabbage butterflies.

Bugs Without Bios IX

Spring housecleaning—time to tidy up a few more insects whose biographies are short ones.

Twelve Bugs of Christmas

The fourth Annual chorus of “The Twelve Bugs of Christmas,” the BugLady offers a Bakers’ Dozen of Bug Portraits that were taken this year but are unlikely to appear in future BOTWs because their stories have been told in past BOTWs (hence, the links, for BugFans who want to know “The Rest of the Story”).

Winter Crane Fly (Family Trichoceridae)

Winter Crane Flies perch inside the mouths of caves, mines, hollow trees, and decaying logs in cool/temperate climates. Many species of WCFs overwinter as adults in sheltered nooks and crannies and are abroad in the chilly (but not freezing) air of early spring and late fall—even during mid-winter thaws, when they may be seen walking on snow.

Midsummer Report

The BugLady would like to dedicate this episode to the late (great) Cornell Professor Richard B. Fischer (January 19, 1919 – August 7, 2005) who taught the BugLady how to sneak up on insects (no bobbing or weaving, just slow and steady and straight ahead.