Crane Fly with Large, Branched Antennae

2014 April 23

I found this good-sized crane fly in the road on July 1, 2013. It had apparently been banged up by a near-miss from a car, so it wasn’t in any shape to flee.

Its most striking feature is its large, branched, antler-like antennae.

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Fiery Hunter Beetle

2014 April 19

Sandy was digging a post-hole in the yard on June 29, 2013, and Sam happened to notice this fine, large beetle falling into the hole.

It is clearly predatory. Those mandibles are obviously best suited for, say, dicing caterpillars and slugs into bite-sized chunks.

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March Fly

2014 April 16

I found this mostly black fly with red legs on our dining-room window on June 6, 2013. Here it is on my fingertip, for scale:

It looks like one of the “March Flies” in the genus Bibio.

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Deer Tick – Unengorged and Crawling

2014 April 12

For our 500th posting[1], here is an old “friend”: a Deer Tick that Sandy found on our dog[2] on June 6, 2013. Unlike the previous deer ticks I photographed, this one hadn’t attached and drawn blood yet, so we get to see what they look like before they become grotesquely bloated.

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Thatching Ant Mound

2014 April 9

I was walking in the woods to the northwest of the house with the girls[1] on June 2, 2013, when we quite literally stumbled across this big anthill. As in, Rosie tripped over it. So, I made a note of the location, and came back later with a camera and a ruler. The mound was a mixture of dirt and bits of dead grass, with live grass growing in it. It stood about six inches tall, and was about a foot wide.

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Larder Beetle

2014 April 5

The last time I photographed a larder beetle (Dermestes lardarius) was way back in September of 2007, and it’s time to get up some better-quality pictures, I think. So, here’s one that we found inside the light fixture in Rosie’s room.

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Blowflies from old ice-fishing bait

2014 April 2

On May 25, 2013, Rosie introduced me to her “pet fly”, and said I could take pictures if I wanted.

It appears to be a Blow Fly, one of the “bluebottle” flies in the family Calliphoridae.

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Shiny black bug with white edging

2014 March 29

Here’s an attractive little true bug that I found crawling on the outside wall of the garage on May 19, 2013

Its jet-black body with white trim running around the edges and down the legs is quite elegant, don’t you think?

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Caddisfly Nymphs

2014 March 26

In 2013, it took until May 15 for the pond in the woods out back to thaw enough to go netting for aquatic insects. One kind that is easy to find early in the season, is these caddisfly larvae. These three were in a single scoop of the net. The bottom of that pond must be absolutely crawling with them.

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American Medicinal Leech

2014 March 22

So here we are, back in Michigan. On May 17, 2013 we decided to have another look at the contents of the little pond back in the woods. So, we were poking around on the shore, and Sandy spotted an odd orange object in the weeds. Which we promptly netted, and found to be – A Leech! A big one!

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