Ramble On

Monday, October 5, 2009

Battle of the Species: Bugs, just bugs

I have a small collection of phone cam photos to post today, featuring some insects I have encountered recently.

First, there are these cicada shells. Two months ago, I observed a cicada emerging from its shell during the awards ceremony at the Luray Triathlon, I almost put my hand on it while I was leaning on a tree until an older woman said, “Do you see the cicada there?” and I recoiled.
Later, I heard their singing high in the trees for two or three weeks straight. I wondered if this was shoulder generation of “Brood X” we had around here a few years back, the 17-year cycle.
According to Wikipedia, there is also a 13-year variety in the American South…well that is as far as I care to go with the research. These husks were on Sally and Dan’s carport.

Next, a praying mantis who became close friends with me. I had a little fire going outside one night (we have a fire pit that I often sit beside on the brick terrace after cooking out). In the dark there, I felt something on my arm and then on my neck, then I saw it – I was being prowled by a mantis.

The next day it was still patrolling the brick terrace area so I caught this shot of it. I did not observe any successful hunts during this period of close proximity. I wondered if this could be the same one that I photographed a while back, but apparently the life span is usually less than 12 months, again according to Wikipedia.

Last, this walking stick insect I saw on a recent hike. It was high up on a rock outcropping with me – altitude of around 3,300 feet overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. I figure it has been twenty years or more since I have seen one, so I watched it for quite a while. I know it is hard to make out in the photo, best bet is to look for the shadow near the center of the picture.

Wikipedia says they make good pets. I’ll pass.

As you can see, I wouldn’t have been able to complete this post without exhaustive reference to Wikipedia, so here are the original links…

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