Water is plentiful in western New York and so are aquatic insects. Our featured insect is one example. For the first time for Bug of the Week we have an adult stonefly.
The adult stoneflies have wings that fold over their back. They have two slender antennae in front, and a pair of similar but shorter structures in the back called cerci.
You can see the cerci in the left of this photograph. They look like two "tails."
The immature stoneflies are called nymphs or naiads. Like the adults, they also have two cerci. They live in the water where they feed on algae, detritus, or some of the bigger ones may prey on other aquatic insects.
Many types of fish eat stoneflies, both nymphs and adults. Fisherman study stoneflies so they can tie realistic ones for fishing.
You can see a few examples of stonefly nymphs in this video. Caution: this man is extremely passionate about stoneflies. It might just rub off on you!
Do stoneflies occur where you live? Have you ever seen one?
Was it a twig or insect sitting on a black raspberry plant in our last Bug of the Week post?
It was hard to tell, but this is a photograph of a looper or inchworm caterpillar (family Geometridae). In fact, because so many caterpillars in this family resemble twigs they are commonly called "stick caterpillars."
When I approached, the caterpillar was moving in the typical looping fashion across the plant. I startled it when I stopped to take its photograph, and the caterpillar rose up and straightened. It held this position for as long as I watched it, which was several minutes.
If I hadn't seen the caterpillar moving prior to taking this stance, I probably wouldn't have even noticed it.
This caterpillar will eventually turn into a moth, making it an appropriate way to announce:
National Moth Week is coming up in the end of next month, July 23-31, 2016.
See if there are any National Moth Week events in your country or state.
After a too brief trip to western New York state, I have a bushel of new photographs to share. It was hard to pick which ones to post first.
Let's start with a quiz:
Is this an insect or a twig?
Take another look.
Feel free to leave a comment if you think you know what it is.