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!

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