My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

It’s been a good week, the icky stuff

I am by nature curious about everything in nature, and that includes some things that many people find to be less than pleasing, like insects for example. These things that some people classify as icky are in fact very often, colorful and harmless insects and other organisms that make great subjects for photographs. I am also interested in these things as they are part of the food chain. A strong case could be made that fly fishing for trout is really all about entomology. If you don’t know the life cycles of the aquatic insects that trout feed on, you’re not going to be a very successful fisherman. That applies to everything in nature, knowing the food chain from bottom to top will help you to find the things in nature that you do find attractive.

Let’s get started on the photos. The first is a cicada emerging from its nymphal body, and metamorphosing into an adult cicada. I am not quite sure why I gave this a second look. As I was walking, I glanced over and saw what I thought was a new shoot growing on a maple tree.

Cicada emerging as an adult

This is much closer than my first glance was of course, but there was something about it that did catch my eye, which resulted in these photos.

Cicada emerging as an adult

Cicadas lay their eggs under the bark of trees. When the eggs hatch, the nymphal cicadas drop to the ground, and live as burrowing nymphs for years. When they are ready to metamorphize into an adult, they crawl up into a tree to do so, much like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. I don’t claim to be an expert, but from what I have seen of this species of cicada is that it prefers maple trees. The color of the adult as it emerges acts as camouflage, the light green and pink on its body does make it look like new growth of the maple tree.

Adult cicada fully emerged

 You can see that parts of its body that were pink as it was emerging are already beginning to darken to a brown color.

Adult cicada fully emerged

 I could be wrong about them preferring maples, but the only shucks that I have found have been on maples.

Empty cicada nymphal shucks on a maple branch

 I know I did a full post of nothing but dragonflies not very long ago, but I swear that they somehow know that I am publishing their pictures on the Web, and they are hamming it up for the camera now. 😉

Yellow dragonfly

Here it is again.

Yellow dragonfly

Then I found this brown one that’s new to me.

Brown dragonfly

And here’s a very good shot of a blue dragonfly.

blue dragonfly

This next one is my hero! If you look, you can see it has caught a mosquito and is in the process of devouring it for lunch.

Red dragonfly eating a mosquito

OK, so cicadas and dragonflies aren’t the cutest bugs in the world, how about a caterpillar?

Monarch caterpillar

 That’s where you normally find them, under the leaf of a milkweed plant where they are out of sight. However, every once in a while, you find one on top of a leaf.

Monarch caterpillar

 They look the same coming as they do going, but the end with the longer “horns” is the head end.

Monarch caterpillar

 They eventually become monarch butterflies.

Monarch butterfly

And there are many species of butterflies, most of which I can’t identify, but they are pretty even if you don’t know their name.

Butterfly

But even butterflies can look menacing if you shoot them at the right angle.

Brown butterfly

I know I shouldn’t include this one, but I can’t resist, it is grasshopper porn. So if you have any young grasshoppers looking over your shoulder, you may want to cover their eyes.

Grasshoppers mating

Enough with the bug porn, we’ll move on to something really icky, toadstools. Every one thinks toadstools are ugly, right? Not always, at least not to me.

Orange toadstools

One last picture, and it isn’t icky per say, unless you don’t want to see summer end just yet, and who does? I know it has been much hotter than normal this summer, but the last week has been as close to perfect as summer weather gets. As much as I like cool weather, I am not ready for summer to end, but autumn is coming.

The first signs of autumn

Some of the maple trees around here are just beginning to turn colors, and it will be all too soon that summer is over for another year. I love autumn and the cooler weather and the colors of the trees and all, and maybe it’s an age thing, but this summer has flown by way too fast for me.

 

 

 

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4 responses

  1. Great photos of the icky things! 🙂

    I like the sun glistening off of the blue dragonfly’s eyes- very cool!

    August 24, 2011 at 5:17 pm

  2. i love photos of insects. theyre like little aliens. totally interesting.

    August 29, 2011 at 11:25 am

    • Thank you. There will be more to come, as long as summer doesn’t end too early.

      August 31, 2011 at 3:44 am

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