The Twelve Bugs of Christmas 2022

Crab spider hiding inside flower.

Note: Some links leave to external sites. Greetings of the Season, BugFans, Wow! The 10th annual installment of The Twelve (or Thirteen) Bugs of Christmas! The Bugs of Christmas features shots, taken throughout the year, of insects and spiders who… Read More

Speed-Dating the Spiders – Arabesque Orbweavers

Note: All links leave to external sites. Greetings, BugFans, The BugLady has written several times about the big orb weaving spiders that either delight or alarm people in the waning days of summer. Because there may be several hundred eggs… Read More

Mottled Sand Grasshopper

Note: All links leave to external sites. Howdy, BugFans, From July into September, the Creeping Juniper Nature Trail at Kohler Andrae State Park is ruled by grasshoppers, and the BugLady had lots of fun chasing them around this summer (she… Read More

Bugs at the End of Summer

Note: Some links below go to external sites. Howdy, BugFans, The general rule of thumb is that if you want to find insects, look at flowers. Even though summer is fading, there are still flowers in bloom. Some Liatris/blazing stars… Read More

Closed for June – Invasive Spiders

Note: All links below go to external sites. Howdy, BugFans, Remember – the BugLady is on vacation for the month of June, hoping for the rain to stop and the temperatures to rise (a little bit – she gets brain-dead… Read More

Bugs in the News X

Jumping Spider

(Note: All links below are to external websites and leave the UWM website.) Howdy, BugFans, While we’ve been quietly going about our business during this way-too-long pandemic (you know things are bad when you fantasize about going to a board… Read More

Wildflower Watch –Marsh Marigold

May is American wetlands month, so we’ll end it in the swamp, in the company of Marsh Marigolds, the flowers that turn newly thawed wetlands a riotous yellow from the last days of April through much of May. Skunk cabbage and pussy willows may whisper the arrival of spring, but marsh marigolds crank up the volume. The BugLady should have started this project two weeks ago when the marsh marigold was at its peak, but the truth is that despite the masses of flowers it produces, she seldom sees many insects on it, and the ones she sees are as likely to be resting as dining.

Thin-legged Wolf Spider

Thin-legged Wolf Spider

The BugLady likes spiders, and she can even hail a number of species by name when she meets them, but she’s never applied herself to their taxonomy, and she jokes that maybe she shouldn’t be identifying them all by herself (to which BugFan Mike graciously replied that maybe nobody should be).

Eastern Long-legged Cobweaver

Eastern Long-legged Cobweaver

The BugLady’s message to people who are pining for the wildflower season to begin is this: Get thee to a wetland and watch the non-flowering plants. Mosses, especially, are going crazy these days, their green leaflets (the gametophyte part of the plant) bristling with the stalks of sporophytes, topped by variously-shaped spore capsules. They’re happier now than when the canopy above leafs out and casts them into shade. Ground-hugging liverworts are covered by reproductive pits and umbrellas, and any day now, cinnamon ferns will push up through the dead leaves and dried fronds that top the wetland hummocks. It’s beyond life-affirming.

Spinybacked Orbweaver– A Spider for Snowbirds

Spinybacked Orbweaver

This episode is dedicated to BugFan Tom. Tom has a day job, practices suburban agriculture afterwards, and conducts field research by night, so the BugLady really appreciates his fitting spider studies into his off time. He has an insatiable curiosity – and a camera – and he provided many pictures and lots of wonderful running commentary and deep thought about a cast of backyard spiders that he got to know personally (his BugFan wife suggested that he may have taken more pictures of those spiders than of his offspring’s childhood, a complaint that the BugLady’s parents would have been sympathetic to).