Skip to content

5

Because we were eager to participate in International Rock Flipping Day, we peeked under some rocks in our yard this morning.

Flipping rocks was somewhat disappointing at first. It has been the third driest summer on record in central Arizona, and because the summer is when we normally get most of our precipitation, we are really dry. The terms dry as a bone, parched, and desiccated come to mind.  Most of the rocks we looked under would normally have isopods (rolypolies), ants or earwigs, but we didn't see any of those. Occasionally we might see a scorpion. We didn't see any of those either.

What we did find was this:

Any ideas what might cause these white tunnels? I'll give you a hint:  it isn't a type of spider, although it is made of silk.

In fact, the tunnels are made by an insect. Here are some photos I took of one earlier this summer.

Does anyone remember what it was?

(If you want to find out the answer, check this previous post.)

All in all, we saw something we wouldn't have otherwise seen, and realized how much the lack of rain is changing the environment for even tiny things that live under rocks. And best of all, we got outside and had some fun.

What did you find?

This praying mantis has been a regular in our yard for the last few weeks.

praying mantis

praying mantis egg case

It might have hatched out of an egg case like this one.

Here's a short video of a praying mantis hatching. As you can see, newly-hatched praying mantids look like miniature adults.

Edit:

Just found a cool new book recommended by the NSTA.

Praying Mantises: Hungry Insect Heroes (Insect World)
by Sandra Markle

So, mantises is the correct plural now? I had learned it as mantids...