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Debbie Hadley

Debbie\\\'s Insects Blog


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Bug of the Week (Finale)

Wednesday May 28, 2014

As I mentioned last week, About.com is getting ready to launch a redesigned site that will no longer include an embedded blog. This means there will be no way for me to post a Bug of the Week, so last week's insect identification challenge was the final post. I've posted over 275 challenges since I launched Bug of the Week in 2009! Thanks to everyone who participated over the past 4 years. I've enjoyed chatting with you through these challenges.

Unfortunately, someone behind-the-scenes turned off the commenting function on my last Bug of the Week without my knowledge, which means you may have tried to post an answer but been unable to do so. My apologies for that. Susan's answer was posted before the comments were disabled, and she was correct! The image featured the viceroy butterfly, Limenitis archippus, which is a well-known mimic of the monarch butterfly.

Friday Fact - The Most Destructive Forest Pest in North America

Friday May 23, 2014

Did you know...

Emerald ash borer (EAB), an exotic, invasive pest that first appeared in Michigan in 2002, is now "considered the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America." This week, officials confirmed the first occurrence of EAB in New Jersey, my home state. Emerald ash borer burrows into and destroys the conductive tissue of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients and killing the host tree within a few short years. EAB is now established in the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes regions, and is quickly expanding its range in all directions. EAB (and efforts to slow its spread) has already destroyed millions of ash trees, putting these forest species at real risk of extinction in the eastern U.S. The United States Forest Service National Seed Laboratory is now creating an ash seed bank to preserve the genetic stock of Fraxinus trees in areas affected by EAB.

Bug of the Week - May 21, 2014

Wednesday May 21, 2014
Bug of the Week - May 21, 2014

First, the bad news. This will be the final Bug of the Week post! The good news? About.com is currently working on an exciting redesign of our site, which I think you're going to love. As part of this new look, About.com is eliminating the blog embedded in my site, which means eliminating my Bug of the Week posts. I truly appreciate everyone who has participated in this insect identification challenge over the past 4+ years I've been posting it.

So, can you identify one last mystery insect? Don't let this one fool you. Post your best guess in a comment below, and come back next week for the answer and a final round of cyber applause.

Last week's "bug" was a dragonfly, specifically the frosted whiteface (Leucorrhinia frigida). This species is considered common in the northeastern U.S., although it's listed as imperiled in my home state of New Jersey. Nicholas recognized it as a skimmer (family Libellulidae) - well done!

Photo: Russ Ottens, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org (CC license)

Friday Fact - Bess Beetle Families

Friday May 16, 2014

Did you know...

Bess beetles co-parent their young. Both the mother and father bess beetle stick together to feed and protect their offspring. In fact, older offspring will also pitch in to tend to their baby brothers and sisters. Bess beetles practice family values!

Bug of the Week - May 14, 2014

Wednesday May 14, 2014
Bug of the Week - May 14, 2014

It's Bug of the Week day! Here's your latest insect identification challenge. Can you identify this critter to genus, at least? Post your answer in a comment if you think you can.

Last week's photo featured the silver argiope, Argiope argentite, a type of orbweaver spider. These spiders are sometimes called writing spiders because of the elaborate web decorations they weave with silk. George recognized it as an Argiope - good job.

Photo: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org

Friday Fact - Kleptoparasitic Spiders

Friday May 9, 2014

Did you know...

Certain cobweb spiders (subfamily Argyrodinae) are kleptoparasites, animals that steal the food stores of other animals. These clever arachnids hang around the webs of industrious orbweaver spiders, waiting for an opportunity to scurry in and swipe her prey. Some argyrodines will even construct their webs adjacent to the orbweaver's web, and attach a signal line to it so they are alerted when a free meal is ready for the taking.

Bug of the Week - May 7, 2014

Wednesday May 7, 2014
Bug of the Week - May 7, 2014

I don't think I've posted an eight-legged "bug" for a while. Do you recognize this one? If you do, post a comment with its name below. As always, you have a week to identify it before I post the answer next Wednesday.

Last week's beautiful beetle was the banded flower longhorn beetle (Typocerus velutinus). I believe the thin, continuous yellow band on the pronotum distinguishes this species from the similar-looking deceptive flower longhorn beetle (Typocerus deceptus). Ted MacRae wrote a nice blog post comparing these two species, if you would like more information about how to identify them. Moni gets points for identifying this one to genus.

Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Bugwood.org

Bug of the Week - April 30, 2014

Wednesday April 30, 2014
Bug of the Week - April 30, 2014

This distinctive critter shouldn't be too tough to identify, so let's see who can name the species. As always, you have a week to do so, and you can submit your answer in a comment below. Next Wednesday, I'll post the answer and a new challenge.

Last week's mystery insect did belong to the family Ulidiidae, as several readers correctly noted. Although I didn't ask for a more specific identification, the photo featured the picture-winged fly, Ceroxys latiusculus. Kudos to Ruud, Moni, and Katy for their correct answers.

Photo: Jessica Louque, Smithers Viscient, Bugwood.org

Friday Fact - Blue Milkweed Beetles

Friday April 25, 2014

Did you know...

The blue milkweed beetle (Chrysochus colbaltinus) makes clever use of toxic milkweed sap. Because these beetles feed on milkweed, their feces contains high levels of the toxins from the plants. When the female blue milkweed beetle lays her eggs, she coats them with her feces to discourage predators from eating her offspring.

Bug of the Week - April 23, 2014

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Bug of the Week - April 23, 2014

This week, let's see if you can identify this insect to the family level. Think you can? Post your answer in a comment before next Wednesday. Come back next week for the answer and a new challenge.

Moni and Herb recognized the gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) I posted last week. You can thank Etienne Leopold Trouvelot, a 19th century silkworm enthusiast, for introducing this invasive pest to North America.

Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Bugwood.org

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