Category Archives: insects

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader/biologist Jacques Hausser from Switzerland sends us another batch of lovely orthopterans (see here and here for parts I and II). Jacques’s notes are indented: The third group of Orthopterans, the grasshoppers sensu stricto (suborder Caelifera) can be easily told apart from the Ensifera (bushcrickets/katydids and crickets) by their rather short and sturdy antennae and […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Andrée Sanborn sent some lovely photos of moths; her notes are indented. BE SURE TO SEE THE WORLD’S CUTEST MOTH, about halfway down. Andrée’s other social-media sites are here: Tumblr blog: Recipes: Flickr: Facebook: The notes: These are some moths from last summer. Descriptions/commentary are on the top of the photos. While I love […]

Spot the insect!

Reader Robert sent a photo that hides some insects (I don’t know where they all are). How many can you spot? Robert’s notes: A slightly unusual entry for your consideration: This is the “Spot the insect” display at the Oxford University Museum for Natural History, used to show the gradual steps in the evolution of […]

Caddisfly hatching (and parrot lagniappe)

This video was just posted yesterday, and it’s amazing—like the alien coming out of the guy’s stomach. It’s a caddisfly. These aren’t what entomologists call “flies,” which are in the order Diptera; rather, they’re in the order Trichoptera. As for what is happening here, I’ll let Matthew (who sent me the video) explain: Its a […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

From Switzerland, one of the world’s happiest countries (and champion in 2015), reader Jacques Hausser sends orthopterans. This is the second installment in a three-part series (the first is here), and it’s CRICKETS! Jacques’ notes are indented: Like bushcrickets, aka katydids (infraorder Tettigoniidea), the crickets proper (Gryllidea) belong to the suborder Ensifera. Like bushcrickets, they […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we have reader Tony Eales’s photos from Australia, featuring insect and spider mimicry. His notes are indented. Some more camouflage and mimicry. First I can’t stop photographing these ant-mimicking Jumping Spiders. This photo at least gives a bit of scale for how small these little arachnids are. It’s a Myrmarachne cf luctuosa. These are relatively common, […]

No ant left behind: Ants carry injured comrades back to the nest and tend to their wounds

This is a science post, and if you don’t read it I’ll shoot this kitten: Today we learn of an amazing behavior of termite-hunting ants, who carry their wounded comrades back to the nest and tend their injuries, licking them in a way that appears to heal them. It’s the first time that anybody’s shown […]

Bombardier beetles in action, escaping toad digestion

I’ve only scanned this new paper from Biology Letters (reference and free access below, pdf here), but it’s a report involving one species of the famous bombardier beetles, comprising over 500 species in four “tribes” of the family Carabidae in the order Coleoptera (beetles). They all secrete a hot and toxic spray from their abdomens, […]

A unique fossil insect with scissors on its head and thorax

It’s Darwin Day, and so we shall have a new paper on the mysteries of evolution. In this case we have a report of an insect whose head and thorax have structures that constitute a pair of scissors—the only insect known to have anything like that. It’s a fossil in Burmese amber, 100 million years […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

Remember to send in your good photos! Jacques Hausser in Switzerland has sent us some orthopterans. His notes are indented. Here are some common European bushcrickets (in England) or katydids (in USA).  NB: I’m writing “bushcricket” in one word, to distinguish them (Tettigoniidea) from the crickets properly said (Gryllidea).  Not every blue berry is a […]