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.
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.
There are about 15 species of Long-Jawed Orbweavers in the genus Tetregnatha in North America and they’re typically found in vegetation near or over water. They are well-camouflaged—their abdomens tend to be long and slim; they hold their rear pair of legs out to the back of their body and their two front pairs of legs to the front when they are at rest. The shorter third pair of legs is held out to the side.
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.
The BugLady has been out with her camera, walking non-aerobically and peering into plants. The “peering” has resulted in some interesting (if blurred) sightings (her macro lens is getting a bit cranky). Amazing things have been happening on milkweed, probably spurred by a banner crop of aphids on the leaves.
The Album of Crab Spiders celebrates these beautiful creatures at work and at play.The name of the game is camouflage. Crab spiders practice sexual dimorphism, with males considerably smaller and leaner than females.
The Green Lynx Spider occupies grasslands, scrub, edges, gardens, and other open spaces south of a line from Maryland to California and well into Central America. Like other Oxyopids, GLSs have long, bristly legs, each ending with three claws, a tapering abdomen, and a flat face with eight eyes. GLSs young and old are carnivores, enjoying a buffet of wasps, bees, moths, flies, bugs, and beetles that they encounter on vegetation.
The BugLady dedicates Bugs without Bios episodes to insects about whom, despite all the words that are floating around out there, she can discover only a little information.
In lieu of the usual bug biography, the BugLady presents The Twelve Bugs of Christmas—a tribute to a dozen insects (a Baker’s Dozen, really) that were photographed this year but not featured in a BOTW. Let the singing commence.
Orb Weaver Spiders have been practicing their craft for some 140 million years. With more than 10,000 kinds of Araneids worldwide, they account for about a quarter of spider species. OWs will often tackle prey that is larger than they are if it gets snagged in their web. They first paralyze it with a toxic bite, then wrap it, and later eat it.