Natural history

the lunas

August 27, 2009

in Insects,Natural history

We left off with dozens of silkmoth caterpillars snug in their cocoons. For the most part, I expected these to overwinter. I’m at 42 degrees N latitude, and, for instance, the Luna eggs were laid on on 30 May, the…

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A couple years ago I lamented that I didn’t see sillkmoths much anymore.That was the year our friend Dr. Steve gave us a couple of Polyphemus (Anthera polyphemus) cocoons, so we got to see (and release) the adults that emerged….

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I haven’t spent much time in the field this summer. The last 6 or 7 years, I’ve had summer field work tied to grants; this year, my grants involve sitting in front of the computer. But over the holiday weekend…

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June 22-28 is the 2nd Annual National Pollinator Week, an event sponsored by the Pollinator Partnership. The fact that so many of the world’s pollinators are in deep trouble is finally starting to make the news. There are, of course,…

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In August, I described my summer “project,” to learn more about the flies, bees, and wasps in my yard. I posted a series of some of the photos I took of the cool Diptera (flies) I was able to identify….

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I’ve been sort of lazy about posting lately. For the last week, I’ve been on semi-”vacation” which means catching up on writing projects and things around the house between wrapping up my summer field work and preparing to begin fall…

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Eastern cicada killers (Sphecius speciosus) are big wasps. The “dainty” males are about 3 cm long, and the females up to 4 cm. Adding to the intimidation factor is the behavior of the males, which gather in “leks” of up…

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shrew party

May 8, 2007

in Natural history

The phrase, “live fast, die young” could be dedicated to shrews. These small carnivorous mammals have supercharged metabolisms, and spend all their waking moments hunting and eating. Despite being quite numerous in the right habitat, shrews are rarely encountered –…

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The other day, I found a plastic grocery bag tied to my mailbox, with a softball-sized wad of … something inside. I admit my first thought was that someone had left me a bag of dog crap. I looked inside…

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I will confess right now to not being a huge fan of the holidays. However, I am very fond of both natural history and kissing, and that has led me to investigate the botanical life history of mistletoe. Mistletoe is…

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