Bug of the Week

Let's spend some time in this lovely meadow.

summer-field-C_0295Butterflies are flitting from flower to flower. It is enjoyable to watch them at work.

skipper-on-clover_0267

Can you see the long tongue (proboscis) of this skipper moth probing the clover flower?

wood-nymph-brsh-foot_0348Look how orange this wood nymph's antennae are.

You can't help but notice the eye spots on the wings. This one has a bit missing from its hind wing that is shaped like a bird beak. Maybe the bird was fooled by the eye spots, which allowed the butterfly to get away.

wood-nymph-tattered-wingsAnother wood nymph, which also survived.

flower-clover-trefoilIt can be a dangerous world for butterflies in the meadow.

 

Don't forget, National Moth Week starts on Saturday July 23, 2016.

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Ever see fireflies light up a summer night? It can be an amazing sight.

What are fireflies?

firefly-side-aFireflies (also called lightning bugs) are beetles. Many of the adults and some of the larvae are able to produce light via a chemical process.

firefly_0365Not all fireflies light up. The ones that fly during the day and don't flash at night are sometimes called "dark fireflies." Without the ability to flash, dark fireflies attract each other via chemicals called pheromones.

firefly-1Adult firefly beetles often can be found resting on plants during the day.

Do fireflies occur where you live? Would you like to study them? You might want to get involved with the Firefly Watch citizen science project.

To learn more about the science of fireflies check out this video from ScienceFriday which explains more about why and how fireflies light up (Note: It does talk about fireflies mating and a predator, so check for suitability before showing to children.)

Related:

See a review of the new adult popular science book Silent Sparks by Sara Lewis at Wild About Ants.

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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.

stonefly-good-009The 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.

stonefy-best=_0020You 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?

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