Nature Finds: Insects

This was the largest snail I’ve seen of this kind.  The snails really like it by the sink – I guess all the moisture.

This little caterpillar looked like he was a piece of a branch, or maybe a bird dropping.  I think he wanted us to think that.

This beautiful dragonfly with black-tipped wings let himself be photographed.

Ethan noticed some loose bark on a pine tree when he was up doing the chickens.  He pulled it away and found a nest of eggs.  Pine beetles?  Scorpion?

This little moth looked like just a flutter of a flower petal, but on closer investigation we realized it was a moth that had just pupated and was still drying its wings.

This plain photo has an interesting story –

Last week I was sitting in the grass and knitting while I waited for Ethan to finish his chores.  Just glancing down, I noticed a spider struggling with what looked like a fly.  Of course I began cheering on the spider to myself, and was disappointed when the spider apparently gave up and the “fly” crawled away.  The fly turned out to be a tiny wasp.  As I watched, it stung the now paralyzed spider several times more.  Then, just as a hunter would field-dress a deer, it very matter-of-factly trimmed away the legs and mouth parts of the spider.

I disturbed it accidentally at this point when I tugged at my yarn, and it flew away for a moment, but quickly circled back.  It flew down into the tall grass, and I could see the moment when it began recognizing where it had left the spider.  (I can’t believe people don’t think of insects as intelligent!).  When it had found it again, it began carrying it.  Then I realized that it had trimmed the spider so it would be easier to drag.

I followed it to see where it would go.  It went pretty far for such a little thing -15 feet or more, and along the way it ran into so many other insects –  little grasshoppers, ants and pill bugs.  It’s such a little world that we big giants never thing of.  Without a pause, it went up a small oak tree, and I lost sight of it in the branches.

When Ethan came back, I told him the story and tried to show him the legs of the spider that the wasp had so cleverly shorn off, but ants had already carried most of them off, just like hyenas and other scavengers do.

It was so amazing to see such an alive little micro-world just underfoot.

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