One of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey there!

Any idea why this looks like a centipede fossil in this piece of not-fossilized wood?

I’ll be back later to check your guesses!

~~~

The simple answer is bugs.

The long answer is that the long bumpy center–or body of the centipede–is where a beetle laid eggs back when this branch was alive and had bark. Each of the eggs hatched into a larvae, and each little bug began chewing its way into the softer cambium layer under the wood, and we suppose a little into the wood, making the ‘legs’ of the centipede.

Did you notice that those legs grow larger as the bug chewed along? It was growing bigger! Eventually they matured enough that the larvae chewed a hole to the outside of the bark, metamorphosed into a beetle and left!

So this is like a natural apartment house!

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Fireflies

We squirrels are usually headed to our leaf nests when the fireflies are starting their lit courtship dances, so we see these little beetles in the day time. We’re wondering if you humans recognize them ‘unlit’?

Firefly

The pink-red head stands out, and the yellow outline around the hard wing coverings. It’s these two nicely closing wings that put this insect in the beetle group. Underneath are the wings the firefly actually flies with!

Firefly with wings open

Keep in mind this is just what our local fireflies look like. There are over 2000 species of fireflies, so yours may look different. We’d love to see some photos if you can find one!

One Of Nature’s Mysteries to Solve

Hey There!

We spot a ladybug, then we see a beetle in black and red but with a different pattern…

Mystery #130

…and we stumble over our paws wondering if it is a ladybug, too?

What do you think?

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We had lots of looks today, but no guesses…and I have to admit, I thought I had this critter identified before posting his photo. But like Ms. Flora sometimes says, the best laid plans…

This nice eastern website of various beetles found on wildflowers identifies it as a Milkweed Bug (see bug #37), but when I went to verify this identification, Milkweed Bugs look way different. A site on Lady Bugs has a lot of answers and photos of ladybugs, including one very similar, but we finally turned to a human friend who told us it is a Milkweed Leaf Beetle!

Whew!

Milkweed Leaf Beetle on Butterflyweed

Apparently these beetles do not eat harmful aphids like the ladybugs, but instead eat the leaves of Milkweed plants, preferring, it seems, the Swamp Milkweed, so they are often called Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetles. This of course, is harmful to milkweed plants, which many of you humans would like to save for Monarch caterpillars to feed on.

Sorry to say, it’s very hard to control what bugs find your plants, just like it’s hard for us squirrels to know who might dig up our acorns.

 

 

One of Nature’s Mysteries To Solve

Hey there!

We have come to another Sunday in the Blogging A to Z Challenge, and another Sunday off for good behavior! (Honest, they really tell us that.) So here’s your nature mystery:

Mystery #86

What happened here? Hint: It does have something to do with eggs! Give me a guess, and I’ll be back thus evening with an answer.

In the meantime, have we mentioned we’re on Facebook? Give is a like!

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So you race along this fallen log in the woods and get to the really chewed up spot and wonder what happened, what chewed this log. Would you believe…

Pileated Woodpecker

a woodpecker?

That’s what we squirrels have seen happen. Our largest woodpecker, the Pileated, can really rip into wood. Woodpeckers, of course, are after bugs. See the holes in the log? And the little trails?

bug trails in wood

Those were made when a beetle laid eggs–we gave you that hint!–and they hatched in a home that protected the larvae and provided an abundance of food.

Hope you enjoyed our mystery!

Grapevine Beetle

This little beauty  of a photo came to us from a reader.

Grapevine Beetle

We didn’t recognize it at first– because it’s hard to get a sense of scale on a leaf. So I looked up the name she sent and had to laugh at myself.  The Grapevine Beetle is what we call a June Bug, or more correctly, the Spotted June Beetle. These guys are all over, zooming their large bodies around us in the dusky hours of evening. It’s a big enough bug–at nearly an inch–Hickory would like to eat them, but he’s not usually up at night when they are. And before anyone asks, they’re too crunchy for me.

Thanks for the photo, Nancy!