Feeds:
Posts
Comments

house centipede by myriorama. Photo by myriorama

OK, OK, they weren’t really attacking anyone.

And, strictly speaking, there was only…..oh, say….about….er…….one.

But it was the BIGGEST house centipede  I have ever (evar!) seen. You could feed a family of four off its meaty thighs, I tell ya (should you, you know, desire to eat centipede legs).

It didn’t even run away when I picked up the box it had been hiding under off the kitchen counter (no, I did the running away). Seriously, you could have put a saddle on this fella and ridden him away. He eventually got tired of hearing my whimpering and stalked off (the ground shook!) under the cabinets.

::shudders::

Advertisements

Moss Garden!

Ok, I really like the idea of having a moss lawn that you don’t have to mow…trouble is, not all parts of our lawn are shady. And I will have to check to see if the city has any regulations against this, too (they are BIG on restrictions around here).

Check this out!

Also, I really would like to find these little fellas hiding among the mosses. Of course, I will probably have to pull out the old microscope to see them, but still…

Actually, it would be cool to make a tardigrade puppet for story times…hmmmm. Take a look at this picture and tell me that doesn’t look like a Muppet.

Finally, you really should take a peek at this video since you get to see a water bear wearing a scarf!

At least, that’s how I imagine birds must view the cecropia moths….”Hey, look at that, Feathers, it’s a HUGE flying dinner! That ought to stuff the kiddies full!”

What?! Can’t I anthropomorphize a bit?

Anyway….

The moths have been emerging steadily with the current count at 3 females and 5 males. They all seem to emerge between 11 a.m. and Noon. By about 6 p.m., their wings are hardened enough to fly off if they choose. Of course, when they first come out of the cocoon, their wings are as fragile as wet tissue paper.

Oh, in case you do decide to have them emerge inside, you will want to put something below the cocoon, as they do empty their gut of all the wastes they have stored up over the winter. Yeah, it’s pretty smelly!

I was surprised that you can’t really tell which cocoon they emerged out of at first glance. Somehow, I pictured more carnage…kind of like Christmas Day with kids ripping open packages.

But, they manage to wriggle out a VERY tiny hole in the end of the cocoon and leave it intact. If you open the empty cocoon up, you can see the shed pupal case (complete with waste in the bottom that was squeezed out as the moth emerged…you are forewarned!).

I still have about 10 left that are sitting in the box. I’m wondering if they just didn’t make it. Here are some photos of the female vs the male antennae:

female antennae

Female above

male close an

Male above

I think there may have been something amiss with the latest female, as she and 2 males emerged on the same day. I expected the males to flock around here, but they ignored her and flew off. When I looked at her more closely, it appears she may have damaged herself emerging from her cocoon.

Here is a picture of her abdomen and then the close-up of what looks like a rip:

furry abdomen

female abdomen split A rip? She never flew (although she does pump her wings) and is still sitting alone in the lilac bush tonight, poor thing.

I just love it that these moths look like they are covered in shag carpeting, too!

fuzzy moth

And look at this beautiful wing pattern:

wing closeup

UPDATE: Turns out the female was O.K. I came back the next day to find her mating, so it looks like everything worked out for her. She did not lay her eggs on the lilac bush, though (whcih is good, because I really need to trim it back this year).

Also, 3 more males & 2 females emerged, leaving only 3 left in the box.

Wheeee!

I did a little happy dance today (trust me, be glad you didn’t see it) when I peered into my box-o-cocoons and discovered this:

moth in box

Success! A cecropia moth! Well, OK, it’s only one but it means a lot to me (and, I suspect, to the moth…).

There she was (I’m pretty sure it was a female, as it looked full of eggs and had smaller antennae), just sitting there slowly pumping her wings.

moth side

So beautiful!

moth in hand

I took her outside to show my husband (out in the garage) and as soon as the sun hit her she started to “shiver” in an effort to get things ready for takeoff. Sure enough, in another minute she leapt off the leaf and into the air soaring straight for the trees.

It was really amazing to watch. I hope she gets a chance to mate and lay eggs before becoming someone’s dinner (to a bird, she must look like a big, juicy porterhouse steak…).

sigh.

So, I just finished reading a wonderful book by Bernd Heinrich:

Summer World: A Season of Bounty

(although, not everyone agrees with my view of the book)

It had a nice bit about cecropia moths, although the news was not too encouraging. The bottom line is that very, very, very few cecropia moths ever manage to complete their entire lifecycle.

He mentions that each female cecropia moth lays from 200 to 400 eggs but that most of the larvae that do manage to hatch die. The ratio given in the book for live moths to live larvae was one moth per 100 larvae.

According to Heinrich, parasitic flies and wasps account for the bulk of the larvae deaths. Interestingly, those predators are then often parasitised themselves and then those are parasitised (referred to as a hyper-hyper-parasitoid wasp). Which makes me think of:

“So nat’ralists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey,
And these have smaller fleas that bite ’em,
And so proceed ad infinitum.”

(As a side note, I was curious about the link to “turtles all the way down” and now want to get a t-shirt with that on it….possibly a job for Endangered Ugly Things?)

Anyway, Heinrich’s book gave a lot of good information on cecropia moths and I would highly advise reading that part if you are planning on rearing these moths. (His moths emerged at the very start of June, but I am still waiting on mine to emerge….stay tuned!)

I hope I get moths and not parasitic wasps/flies…

I found this from reading little red boat and then onto A Lard Off My Mind:

So, there’s a candy bar called Fling chocolate fingers, which in itself is disturbing…

“How many flavors and sizes of FLING™ are there?

Milk Chocolate is available in a Single Pack of two fingers and a Multi-pack of 10 individually-wrapped fingers. Dark Chocolate and Hazelnut are only available everyday in Multi-pack cartons with 10 individually-wrapped fingers.”

BUT THEN…

in what is possibly the worst combination of words (and you just know the marketing whiz who thought of it was all a-titter at how clever he was) comes this sentence:

“Then you can pleasure yourself with this chocolate sensation time and time again.”

Um.

No.

Is anyone else getting a boatload of Russian spam lately? It seems very odd….