I’ve found myself turning over rocks and logs lately, and beneath a downed branch under a white oak I was rewarded with this purple-shimmering, rather large and handsome beetle. A few of the things I’ve since learned about it made me wish I’d spent more time with it.Read more →
Lately, I’ve been spotting a few types of dance flies in woodsy areas on sunny days. These flies in the Empididae family are small and seemingly unremarkable, but like nearly every insect I’ve looked into, they have some peculiar and provocative features.Read more →
The star of this week’s column is a diminutive wasp in the Gelis genus. Specifically, with thanks to Ross Hill at BugGuide.net, this is Gelis tenellus. These parasitic wasps don’t have a common name, which is a good sign that they’re not very well studied. However, in researching them, I learned enough to know that they’re worthy of more attention.Read more →
Mayflies are in the insect order Ephemeroptera, which is Greek for “short-lived, winged” creature. While the common name is misleading, the scientific name is spot-on. They are ephemeral indeed. Imagine an animal that spends more than 99% of its life underwater, looking like a shell-less lobster, then matures to live above the water for just one or two days.Read more →
Today’s column focuses on a true bug (in the Hemiptera order) that looks like a reptilian
insect or tiny dinosaur. The first time I saw this Phymata genus bug, on coyote brush in
Mt. Pisgah’s south fields, I only got a good look at its back. I figured it was some kind of
shield bug, but I didn’t get any good pictures of it from the side before it flew away.