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BUGS!
Below are some photos I have taken of assorted bugs. Most were photographed in central Indiana. They are categorized by the type or family as best as I could, but I don't claim to be an expert at bugs...I just like taking the pictures!

CICADAS
Cicadas are a common sight in Indiana in the mid- to late-summer. Below are some choice pictures of cicadas taken at my own residence.

CICADA (above): A Cicada's skin left behind on my wood fence, late summer of 2007.


 

CICADA (above): A live Cicada slowly crawls across the sidewalk looking for a good place to beting preparing to shet its skin.


CICADA (above): I found this Cicada on a chair in the back yard, mid-emergent from its skin. The "shells" left behind (first picture above) are a common sight in late summer. This cicada apparently expired mid-emerging (it was dead).



HARD-SHELLED BEETLES

There are thousands of species of hard-shelled beetles. The below photos represent a few that I've photographed. This one was dead, but apparently not for long, because it was still moving it's pincers very slowly. Not sure what caused it to die...I hadn't sprayed recently, and there was no sign of any ants or spiders near it.

BEETLE (above): Unknown beetle with large pincers Summer 2007.



CATERPILLARS

Caterpillars are a larva stage of moths. In fact it is one of four stages that this critter goes through in it's life-cycle. Below are some various caterpillars (larva) photographed around central Indiana, with a little trivia (if known) about each.

TOMATO HORNWORM / HAWKMOTH CATERPILLAR (above): These are a voracious consumer of tomato plants in Indiana and elsewhere. Their excellent camouflage allows them to virtually strip a tomato plant in days without being detected. This one made the mistake of being out where he could be found. There was a fly buzzing around this one and it was defending itself against the fly--which I believe may have been attempting to lay eggs on the caterpillar. I videotaped the encounter and it can be seen on YouTube by clicking here. Photographed mid summer 2007.


UNKNOWN LARVA (above): On a rock which was turned up (had been facing down in the water) at eagle creek park in Indianapolis Indiana. If you look carefully you can also see some even smaller wormlike critters to the left of the larva near the edge of the rock to the left of the scale. I don't know what these are either. Feel free to drop me a note (if you recognize either of these) via the CONTACT ME page. Photgraphed around June of 2007.



SPIDERS

I am one of those people who are creeped out by spiders. But I still find them fascinating. Their sizes, types, and lifestyles are a source of amazement, and their species number in the thousands. They are all predatory--preying on other bugs--mostly insects. They catch their victims in a variety of ways. Most build webs to trap unsuspecting flying insects or crawling insects. Some however simply use the element of surprse and leap onto their victims and inflict a bite--injecting venom, before the insect/bug knows what hit them. Some even use a combination of these kill methods. Whatever method they use, it is almost always lethal and successful. They are a beneficial creature--keeping other otherwise harmful bug populations in check. They consume millions of other pests and provide an ecological balance and natural control of the population of other insects. Below are a variety of spiders I've photographed around central Indiana.

UNKNOWN ORB WEAVER (above): This one had a web built from the telephone line above, to the bush on the left, to the grass below. It was an enormous web but the spider was only about 1-1/2 inches leg tip to leg tip.


 

ANOTHER UNKNOWN ORB WEAVER (above): Again, unknow, but this is a commonly seen spider around our neighborhood, and all over the midwest in the later summer months. Commonly seen that is if you're out at night...that's when these arachnids come out. I don't know the exact name of this one but if you go out at night, these are hanging in huge elaborately made orb webs all around in trees, between lawn furniture and overhangs, etc. They remind me of the famed black widow...they have a design on their underside, and they hang upside down in their webs (black widows do not weave orbs however). This one was photographed at about 10 am--a rare thing, because these orb weavers characteristically dismantle their webs and go into hiding during the day just as soon as the first hint of dawn approaches. In fact, when I photographed this one I was experiencing disappointment over fruitless attempts to photograph another one earlier the same morning (at around 6 am). That one dismantled the web and disappeared into hiding before the light was sufficient autofocus on the critter. But this one must have lost track of time. I went back later that day though, and it was gone--with only a long strand (a "runner") of web between two branches. That is an interesting characteristic of this commonly encountered orb-weaver. They leave a "runner" strand of web. I believe it is stronger and thicker than the rest of the web, and it seems to serve as a sort of safety line or starting line for the coming nights web weaving activity. Fascinating creatures indeed! This one measured (estimate) about 1 inch as photo'd here. If legs were stretched out it would be about one and one-half inches.


FUNNEL WEB SPIDER IN OPENING (above): Remains of a former male can be seen in the web near the bottom of the picture. This spider was about 1" long. Photographed mid-summer 2007.



JUMPING SPIDER (above):

These are common in central Indiana, but appear in a variety of colors. Some are solid black with white markings, while others look like this one. They attack their victims by jumping. Their movements are quick. This spider was about 1/2" across at it's longest point. Photographed Summer 2007.


UNKNOWN SPIDER (above) - As previously mentioned, spiders take thousands of different forms, and their hunting practices are different. This spider was about 1" from legtip to legtip. Photographed Summer 2007.


 

UNKNOWN SPIDER (Above):  This spider was first mistaken for a Brown Recluse--because it has a fairly vague violin just behind its eyes on its cephalothorax (where legs attach). Later comparisons with actual Brown spiders helped to determine that this was in fact NOT a Brown Recluse.  I photographed it on 8-21-2008 while enroute from Des Moines to my home in central Indiana. It was on a gas pump in Le Claire, Iowa, where I had stopped to buy gas. It was about 2" across (legtip to legtip).


SAME UNKNOWN SPIDER AGAIN IN JANUARY 2009 - ABOVE: This is an interesting phenomenon. On January 29, 2009 I stopped at the same gas station, where I had photographed the "UNKNOWN SPIDER" (the second photo above this one), in Le Claire, Iowa on my way home from a business trip back in August of 2008. On a hunch, while my gas tank was filling, I walked over to the pump where I had seen the large spider in August. I noticed the pump was still covered all over with several remnants of spider webs. There, on top of the pump, in 5-degree weather, was the skeleton of that same spider who had claimed that gas pump as its own--still sitting almost defiantly on top of the pump. This was 375 miles from my home.


Below is a photo of an actual Brown Recluse spider, from the internet (NOT MY PHOTO). Note the distinct violin shape on it's cephalothorax.


JUMPING SPIDER (above): This is another kind of jumping spider, similar to the brown one shown 2-3 frames up above. This one was photographed on the side of my home on September 20, 2008. It was about 3/8" long (12mm).


MARBLED ORB WEAVER NOVEMBER 2, 2009 - ABOVE: The first time I have ever seen this variety of spider. It is a Marbled Orb-weaver. It's markings were striking, and colorful. This orb weaver appeared when my wife was raking leaves. Upon researching I found that it is common for this spider to hide under leaves during the day time near its web, and that it is active from Spring through Fall. It is non-poisonous. This one was about an inch and a half across--although most data states that they reach 3/4 inch. This one was quite big. Click on the photo to see a larger picture.



MANTIS FAMILY (PRAYING MANTIS)

A predatory insect common in central Indiana is the praying mantis. These are beneficial to those who raise crops or gardens. The mantis uses camouflage and speed to catch their prey, and they consume huge amounts of insects whose numbers would otherwise overwhelm gardeners, and destroy the fruits of their labor. If you see one of these, they're rather creepy the way they follow your movement with their head. It's as if they're sizing you up to decide if you'ld be a worthy adversary and potential next meal. They do not seem to fear humans. I'm not sure if this is out of trust or boldness.

PRAYING MANTIS (above): This one was keeping insects at bay on my own tomato plant. It was pretty big at about six inches (6") long. Photographed in about August of 2007.


 

BABY PRAYING MANTIS: This little mantis was crawling on the doorsill of my front door as I walked outside. I'm not sure who was more startled--it or me!!! He/she hurriedly jumped onto the concrete and then almost defiantly stopped and kept looking at me. This one was just a baby and was probably not more than one-and-a-half inches long overall. Photographed August 24, 2008.



ASSASSIN BUG FAMILY

The assassing bug family is common in central Indiana. I know this because I've read it. The assassing family of bugs has an appropriate name. They are predatory and they attack their victims and kill them, then devour them. The method of kill is by way of a large "spearlike" appendage on the head.

WHEEL BUG (above): This is a common "Wheel Bug" from the Assassing Bug family. When threatened or when ready to attack, the bug unfolds a sort of large dagger seen between its antennae here. I later found that I was very wise to heed the warning and back off after photographing this bug. Though Wheel Bugs are advantageous in the garden (they have huge appetites and will feed on many harmful insects) they will also "bite" the unwary human and the result is reportedly quite painful, though not serious. The bug is, according to an expert, very common in the Midwest. However, I have to say that in my 50+ years this is the first one I had ever seen. I had no clue what it was until I researched it on the web site "What's That Bug".

More pictures of this bug with the "stinger" retracted when unthreatened are shown at left--borrowed from "What's That Bug" web site (www.whatsthatbug.com) --and below, the second such insect like this that I've ever seen.



BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS

This section shows butterflies and moths, which represent the final stage of the four stage development of many species of insects. The preceding stages are egg, pupa, and larva. Many insects go through this development in their lives.

BUTTERFLY OR MOTH: Moth I believe. This was taken on a rock at Arbuckle Acres park in Brownsburg, Indiana in May of 2006.



SOWBUGS/PILLBUGS

This family of bugs belongs to the family known as "xxxx" (to be provided). They are characterized by having many rows of legs, and by dwelling in damp dark areas. Some find homes in decaying vegetation or wood, while others will dwell pretty much anywhere it is damp (like under a leaky sink or washing machine).

 

SOWBUGS (above): Common sowbugs found under a dead log at Eagle Creek park in Indianapolis, Indiana May 10, 2008.



COMMON FLY

The common fly is a breed that generally is considered a pest. They provide no benefit to man, and generally are despised by man. They have a common practice that many people are not aware of. Through their proboscis, they feed off of pretty much anything...decaying or fresh food, animal droppings, etc. The not-so-well-known practice that folks don't normally know about is the fly's practice of regurgitating through it's proboscis approximately every 8 seconds. This is particularly disgusting considering their diet, and that they may carry a variety of bacteria from whatever was their last source of feeding. Their species number in the thousands, and some feed off mammals (horsefly) while others primarily feed off pretty much anything else. Commonly found wherever food is being prepared or consumed outside.

COMMON HOUSE FLY: This fly was just waiting for me to snap its picture. It alit on the fence while I was doing other things, and patiently waited while I went to get my camera to take this photo. Photo taken August 22, 2008.


BEES

The bumble bee is a common sight around Indiana in the Summer. It is harder to photograph one than it is to find one. This one was found on the sidewalk, apparently dying. I don't know why it was dying because it had no signs of injury. Could be that it was stung by another bee or bitten by a spider or ant. Photo taken September 7, 2009 (below)


STAY TUNED...MORE TO COME!!!

Last updated May 13, 2012