Sunday, 7 October 2012

Bugs By Day

The monsoon has passed but there are still a few invertebrates that remain active around the yard. Arizona does remind me of Africa in many ways, not least of which in the aspect of there seeming to be no such thing as a small bug! Not true of course, there are a myriad of tiny critters but there is also a profusion of large scale characters that to many are rather creepy. This Robber Fly for instance was well over an inch and a half in length. These voracious predators are well adapted to desert climates, where they are known to thermoregulate in response to temperature variations throughout the day

And the distinctive Horse Lubber is hard to miss. Its big and noisy and when the males take flight they have bright scarlet wings. A relatively large grasshopper species found in the arid Sonoran Desert of the southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. The species is unique in using its black colouration to thermoregulate and the vibrant colouration warns vertebrate predators of its unpalatability and allows the grasshopper to roost conspicuously upon desert shrubs.

I caught this pair of Cactus Longhorn Beetles in a moment of passion before the sun rose one morning! They feed on chollas and prickly pear cacti, and are known to feed on saguaro seedlings. Larvae bore into cactus roots and stems, sometimes killing more susceptible individuals. Adults also feed on the surface of cacti, typically emerging during the summer monsoon season.

And this one was just about to take the plunge into our pool, thankfully I was there to fish it out! Like many flightless beetles, these beetles have limited wing musculature with a rounded abdomen and thorax. Cactus longhorn beetles resemble and mimic the behaviour of noxious stink beetles.


Kathie Brown said...

Ah, I see you are enjoying your desert insects, probably a bit more than me, but I do find a few of them interesting! This morning when I went to open the gate to my back yard I saw something that looked like bark or a stick hanging from beneath the latch. I thought, why did someone jam a stick in there? so. I tried to pull it out. to my dismay it was alive! some sort of insect blood/goo oozed all over my gloves! I am so glad I had my gloves on, but I felt so bad for killing the thing, whatever it was. I suspect it was some kind of pupa or chrysalis.

Celeste said...

Uh-oh don't tell Doug that you squished a bug Kathie!!! :)

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