Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fuzzy Wuzzy Was A...

...Hickory horned devil? Indeed he was.

Citheronia regalis  (regal indeed) or Royal Walnut moth

Speaking of horned insects (referring to the last blog... posted minutes ago because I'm feeling moderately motivated and making up for lost time...) here is a sweet and friendly giant moth.

Pay no attention to the fact that my palm is enormous and super shiny, non-calloused palms that haven't seen a weight bar in a while... erm. .(shifty eyes..) Just look at the moth.

Oh, but wait... because you need to know that I just learned something and you need to know this too. How I made it to nearly 40 without knowing this is truly baffling BUT... apparently caterpillars turn into goo inside their chrysalises until they regenerate into their final life stage be it moth or butterfly. For real. Again, I am not trying to fool anyone into thinking I am an entomologist or really know what I'm talking about.. ever.

Back to moth pictures..

All moth photos are mine.

Horned Devil by Cozytailmom on deviantART

See how fuzzy? Nuts! I love him! .. or her..



Another full body shot...



The hickory horned larvae is even crazier looking than its moth:
photo credit: Chris Hibbard



Fleeting

Nearly gone already? Seems like autumn just got here. Ah well.. I've been too busy enjoying and living life to keep up with my blogs.
So, here are pics of adorable bugs.
Enjoy

It was a miserable, cold wet day when I took the pic of this poor guy. Probably a tussock caterpillar but it was too wet to identify.

A Miserable Weekend by Cozytailmom on deviantART

This guy/gal is autumn (that's a metaphor..) at my doorbell.

Blends with Autumn by Cozytailmom on deviantART

Here's a cute guy: Tobacco Hornworm Manduca sexta

Tobacco Horned Worm by Cozytailmom on deviantART

..and his friend

Tobacco Horned Worm II by Cozytailmom on deviantART

Thursday, August 14, 2014

This Chilly Air is Not Autumn... dern..

Fall means cliche fresh starts, pumpkins, lighting of candles, a weird renewed interest in baking and Fall means all the spiders are moving into our basement. Hope this lovely lady stays outside.
She is currently guarding our front door.


Don't Arrive Unannounced by Cozytailmom on deviantART

The black widow bites are rarely fatal despite what many think. They are also super non-aggresive. I once had one on my watering can and had been sprinkling the garden for at least ten minutes before I noticed that it was running for its life, to opposite sides of the can, to get away from me. I'm assuming it had been hiding out in the can while it was being stored in the garage. 

I'm comforted when I remember that my deep dark woods home* is surrounded by venomous creatures and an impenetrable thicket of thorny blackberry bushes. Not even a ghost can sneak up unannounced without snagging his sheet.. (you know.. his ghost sheet... woooOOOoooo).  I'm a little excited about October. Can you tell?

*A door-to-door salesman just stopped by and tried to sell me on solar panels for my house. fail



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beauty in Death




“What we call ‘death,’ is but the painful metamorphosis.”  
 Edgar Allan Poe - Mesmeric Revelation

While continuing to recognize National Moth Week, I thought I would take my revelry in a different direction and celebrate the beauty in their death. After all, thanks to their affinity for bird and bat attracting porch lights and limiting biology, many moths have rather short lifespans. However, it's comforting to know we can still appreciate their beauty, long after their little moth souls have left their bodies.

This lovely luna most likely departed this world in violent manner. I explained to a friend that the tragedy lies in the short time we get to spend with these unique creatures due to their natural short life span, about 7 days. She disagreed and felt the saddest thing of all for this sweetie is its lack of mouth. How awful to live for seven days without a belleh-full!


The scattered limbs and missing wings do not detract from the haunting beauty of this moth.



I suspect this Polyphemus moth was the very one playing peek-a-boo with me in the morning. Alas… he should have flown for the safety of the woods like I suggested. Now, he’s just a lovely remain.



Last Flight of Polyphemus by Cozytailmom on deviantART

In life? Peek-a-boo!



“…for Mercutio’s soul
Is but a little way above our heads,
Staying for thine to keep him company.
Either thou or I, or both, must go with him.” 
Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet

Every picture I took of this luminescent moth had an aura. I suspect, like Mercutio, this white ermine's soul hovered a bit before leaving us. 



Finally, a bleak reminder that death comes to even the prettiest among us. Obviously he's not a moth, but RIP swallowtail.




"Only the perishable can be beautiful..." -Wallace Stevens


All photos by me












Monday, July 21, 2014

Big Beetle Blog


I know it’s Moth Week, but I did promise a big beetle blog, so here you go!

I went out at 7 a.m. or so to check out the moth scene on the front porch, a site of many peculiar and fascinating insect sightings.
I can typically spot anything regardless of its clever camouflage, but miraculously I did not notice the gargantuan beetle right away which seems silly looking at it in this picture. It’s like a boil on the side of the house.

I took about 25,000 pictures, at least, and was impressed because I had no idea we grew them so big in these parts. I had to research the species and suspected that I had finally found an elusive undocumented species that I could name after one of my children.
Turns out, a lot of people out there on the web have come across them and, like me, thought they found somebody's lost exotic pet from Madagascar. I believe it is a variety of native rhinoceros beetle, female. Although I did minor in Biology at VT, I’m not actually an entomologist. Shocker! Please kindly let me know if I’m wrong. 


She hung around for a couple of days. I was hoping she would attract a mate because the males are pretty cool with their rhino horns, you know… Google them.

How about those smart photo captions above, eh...? Not among my more creative moments.

For scale, here is my sweet, cooperative son posing next to the beetle. I got him out of bed to see it because I’m that kind of mom, and I was afraid it would be eaten or buzzzzz off… (hehe)




I also made a video of my sweet, less than cooperative daughter meeting the beetle. It’s safe to say she does not share my enthusiasm for adorable bugs. Ha!



All and all, I took the scarab-like insect's appearance as a sign that we most definitely needed to check out the Tutankhamun replica exhibit at the Science Museum of Western VA and eat at Bayou Snowballs that very day!






Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hey! National Moth Week is Coming Up

What do you mean you never heard of it? It's next week! The project is considered a "citizen science project" so go check out their website here and help out, if you can. 

To celebrate, I'll post some of my recent moth shots for which we can thank the porch light!

First, one of my favorites, the lovely rose moth, (Dryocampa rubicunda).
Rose Moth by Cozytailmom on deviantART



Crazy green owlet on a screen (Leuconycta)


Green Owlet on the Green Screen by Cozytailmom on deviantART



Handsome banded tussock (Halysidota tessellaris)


Banded Tussock at the Front Door by Cozytailmom on deviantART


Another view of this sharp dressed moth that I was unable to add to the deviant page for some bizarre reason. Humph



Have I got more? Heck yes!

How do you like this giant leopard moth? (
Hypercompe scribonia)

Giant Leopard Moth by Cozytailmom on deviantART



...and lastly ( for now.. ) one of my favorites of the summer so far, the clymene moth (Haploa clymene).


Clymene Moth by Cozytailmom on deviantART


I'll certainly post more moths in the next week, but first you can expect a CRAZY beetle blog. I mean, a knock your socks off and don't step on THAT thing kinda post.

All photos by me.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bonjour mon cher

I have had a difficult time classifying this moth, but I do know that it speaks in a cheesy fake french accent. How can it not? Check out the sultry eyes and curly mustache. I love this guy, bad pick-up lines and all!


Sultry Eyed Mustache Moth by Cozytailmom on deviantART

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bumblebee Charity Scarf


Feelin' the need to do some good, and add more insect themed accessories to your wardrobe? Follow this link to see/purchase beautiful scarves created by freelance textile designer, Kate Palmer, at Sparrows Green.
The scarf that caught my attention, obviously, is the one retweeted on Twitter below. Portions, or all, of the proceeds for this scarf go to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. (No specification on the amount donated per scarf...but some of it, at least.)



Follow this link to order at Sparrows Green Once I start getting paychecks again (despite what many think, teachers don’t get paid over the summer) I might have to celebrate the end of my temporary poverty by ordering one for myself. All of the scarves at Sparrows Green are beautiful and unique. Keep shipping costs in mind. The designer is in London.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Celebrate BIG! It's National Insect Week


Hey there!
It’s National Insect Week. Time to celebrate big time, and by that I mean it's time to post pictures of some of the larger than usual bugs I’ve spotted lately. I’m not sure if it was our super cold winter, the extra moist spring, the bizarre acorn shortage or what, but we are growing them big in Virginia this year. I have seen some massive centipedes, silverfish and ants. I’m talkin’ quarter-sized ants. For real…

I’ll start with everyone’s favorite, dragonflies. There is one that’s been buzzing around our backyard and it’s humungous. It might be a giant darner (anax walsinghami). Seriously, this dragonfly is larger than a hummingbird but smaller than a cardinal. Unfortunately, it won’t hold still for a photo. Maybe I could try to catch a quick video at some point.   
In the meantime, you’ll have to settle with another big one who spent the night in my tent while I camped along the Shenandoah this past weekend.
Ignore my chipped nails. Who gets a manicure before a weekend of river activities? Sheesh





Also, check out what I found inside the tent, a molted dragonfly nymph casing. I must say, it was not as adorable as the final product. I have concluded that my tent was the venue for its metamorphosis.




Another big insect I captured on camera recently was this teacup saucer sized wolf spider. This is not an unusual size for a wolf, but I usually don’t see them this big until early fall. I hope to see this one again once it’s fattened up.

So, to return to the whole National Insect Week party, check out the website for the National Insect Week sponsored by the Royal Entomological Society. I suppose this is national for the UK and not necessarily the US. But, you know what? I have found that some the best entomology sites/organizations exist in the UK. They love their bugs! The site is full of fun facts, events, contests and learning resources for teachers. Enjoy!





Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lunas Return

Being a school teacher and sponsor of the senior class means I am busy, busy, busy in the early spring finalizing the school year and preparing for graduation. Then, I need a week or so after graduation to decompress and almost literally think about nothing. Seriously, I spend hours playing Candy Crush until the stress dreams stop.

I was enjoying Spring for being spring; however, and taking a lot of pictures.
I'll start with the collection of luna moth (actias luna) visitors. They seem to start showing up near the end of May and stay through mid-June.
Here are some pics I caught with my Nikon N50 zoom lens and others with my phone.

Nikon shot. This is one of the first times I have seen the lunas in the wild and not clinging to the side of my house.




Another Nikon shot. It was cool to see the moth sort of using its camouflage. I can see how it might fool some animals... It definitely looks lovely enough to attract a mate.




Here are a couple of others that haven't been tweeted yet:
These are Samsung 5 shots:
On the porch rail this time...

Luna on a Deck Rail by Cozytailmom on deviantART




And their favorite spot...

Luna on Bricks IV by Cozytailmom on deviantART