Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bug Walk II

Older son and I went for another bug walk. I had been seeing cicadas on the ground on day walks, so I suspected we would find them on the ground at night. They don't eat after they emerge - they live a week of song, mating, laying eggs, and then they pass away.

At first the walk yielded little but a tiny grasshopper, several field crickets, and a big Saturnid moth up in a street lamp's glow. I was wondering if it would mostly be about the exercise. But then we found this big creature. One of the largest toads we've ever seen, just sitting in the road, enjoying the heat of the pavement. We took its picture and shoo'd it off the road. It hopped short distances but surprisingly fast.

Then we found several cicadas, pictured here. They make a racket when you pick them up (if they are male, which three out of four we found were - oldest son is holding this noisy fellow). The last one, with the white markings, was by far the largest and loudest, and his stridulating organs (noise makers) were differently shaped and on a different part of his back than the others. He may be a different species.

The cricket is a camel cricket (cave cricket). There were many of them, hard to even see by flashlight beam, all in one small section of the neighborhood, about a quarter mile stretch of road. Normally these guys stay in places like the crawl spaces of houses. We have photos of three different individuals, this was the largest and most marked.

Finally the huge find of the evening was the luna moth. It was on the road - they also don't eat after they emerge from their cocoon. It let us lift it off the road, then it flew off my hand and onto my back, climbing up to my shoulder. Finally it flew up into the street lamp nimbus, where it flew round and round, with us trying to get photos of it in flight until our batteries ran out.

We'd have happily done the walk just to see either the toad or the luna moth alone.


DebD said...

the luna moth is so beautiful! Their wings look like silken cloth.

Cin said...

all of this on one walk! especially the luna moth, what a treasure that was to happen upon, the textures, shapes, patterns, colors, the variety in just these few, wonderful! and a reminder to open my eyes and look, and appreciate.