Bugs in the News – The Videos

In past years, the BugLady has taken off during the month of May or June to refresh her sadly depleted “BOTW Future” file with new images of emerging insects, and she plans to do that. BUT – she’s also in the process of moving out of a house that she’s lived in for 40 years (rule of thumb – if you haven’t seen it/thought about it/used it for 10 years or so, you probably don’t need it). St. Vinnies’ is thrilled. The BugLady is thrilled that she’ll go forward with about 1/3 of her present worldly possessions.

Galls V

As the leaves color and fall, some interesting galls are being revealed. Quick review – a gall is an abnormal and localized tissue growth on a plant. Plant galls can be caused by friction, fungi, bacteria, and even by viruses, but for BOTW purposes, we’ll stick to galls that are initiated by animals like insects and mites.

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.

Galls IV – Two Oaks and a Hickory

Here’s the general formula for gall formation: Mom lays/injects her egg(s) onto/into plant tissue, and when the eggs hatch, the young insects (there are gall-making wasps, flies, beetles, moths, thrips, and aphids) or mites burrows inside, if it’s not there already. Specific gall-makers target specific host plants, resulting in galls that are predictable in location and appearance.

Midges Again (Family Chiromonidae)

The Diamesa Midge Diamesa nivoriunda (snow-born midge—probably), one of the two species on the sumac, is in a subfamily called the snow midges, and they fly from September into April. Clouds of midges are an often misunderstood and distinctly non-vampire-ish assembly.

Phantom Midge (Family Chaoboridae)

Phantom Midge larvae are found, sometimes very abundantly, in still, open waters around the globe, where their ability to live in low-oxygen conditions allows them to be tolerant of water pollution. One study in a Dutch lake found 1,400 to 1,800 individuals per square meter, with an annual biomass of more than 10 pounds of one species of PM alone. Here in the North Country, there’s a single generation per year, which overwinters as mature larvae.

Midges ( Family Chironomidae)

Midges hold their wings out to the side a bit when at rest, and mosquitoes tuck theirs over their backs. While either may rest with only four feet on the ground, mosquitoes raise their back pair of feet and midges tend to lift the front pair. Midges can tolerate pretty cold weather, bouncing up and down in the air of early spring and late fall, especially near wetlands. Their larvae/maggots may live for up to three years in habitats that range from damp edges to depths of many fathoms in both salt and fresh water.