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.
Water treaders are found on floating vegetation growing in the shallow waters of pools, where the clumps of sedge spread their slender stems upon the water. They eat insects and other small invertebrates; their hunting method is to run along the surface of algae and duckweed, and even along the surface of the water, until they have run down their prey.
The Lupine Bug is the only Megalotomus in North America, though Eurasia hosts another seven genus members. The species can be found near the edges of woodlands across the continent except in the Deep South. LBs feed on members of the Pea family (including soybeans), with a little sumac thrown in for spice, inserting their proboscis into the developing seeds and sucking out the liquids.
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.
Four-lined Plant Bug have mouthparts that allow them to pierce plants and suck out the juices (though the family does include some piercing/sucking predators and omnivores), and the best-known species are those that feed on agricultural crops. Their faces are on Cooperative Extension Wanted Posters everywhere east of the Rockies.
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.
A handful of additional Bugs.
Water Striders are in the True Bug Order Hemiptera, in the family Gerridae. In some cases, it takes a microscopic internal examination to distinguish one family from the other. Sources disagree about how many species we are graced with—estimates range from 45 to 85 species of Gerrids in North America and from 750 to 1,400 worldwide.
Baby bugs are not sweet and cuddly like, say, Golden Retriever puppies, but they have their own charm. Here are a few of the less-seen prairie babies.