Having just committed myself to another Half Marathon thought it would be good to get a post out before training takes over ALL my free time. This will be the earliest in the race season I’ve run this distance. Usually I build over the course of the season starting with the 5Ker’s moving to the 15K, back to the 7mi and THEN prepare for the final two halfs of the year. Decided to short change that process a little and simply start with the 13.1. No, I didn’t go crazy – umm, that may be up for debate. Regardless, there is a reason and we’ll leave it at that. The downside is it means there wasn’t really an off season this year as I continued to run through the winter months (yes, even outside when the temps actually got about 20). Hoping the body holds together!
Oops, enough about my self-inflicted torture, let’s get to the post shall we.
I almost titled this post as Live and Let Die but that will make more sense later in the post. Thought it would be fun to fall back on the memories when Globull Warming allowed me to go outside and spend time on the porch for more than 3 minutes at a time. Take a look at this find
Creeeeepy. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve seen such a creature. Definite concerns as to whether it could inflict harm on me or not. It was definitely scary looking with the wings folded, but when I saw it with the wings spread I took an extra step back and got my wits before going in with the Macro again – looking through that glass puts you right up close and personal.
Hit the jump unless you don’t want to see the up close shots (but at least you’ll learn what it is!)
An now we move in close to see what this insect is made of. Admittedly it took me a little bit of time to figure out what it was. This was mostly due to a red herring based on a hasty initial search.
I literally searched for a large brown bug and the first thing that came up was a Dobsonfly. Based on the Wikipedia pictures and the large number of Google pictures, it was pretty darn close. Long wings, long tubular body – for someone who knows relatively little about insects it was close enough to me.
They claim they are found all over America which I question based on the fact I have never seen one before and I’ve been around a lot of bodies of waters from oceans to slimy ponds photographing everything that moved – but no creepy brown bugs like this ever found its way into the tin. While processing these face shots, some doubt started to creep in. Something just wasn’t right. Based on the pictures I had, the antennae looked a little different and the mandible were significantly smaller – first thought .. maybe a female vs a male difference.
But that usually just means a difference in size or coloring, not a completely different style of feature. The antennae on this one was clearly feather like where the Dobsonfly is more tubular. Some more investigation was necessary now so back to Google. I also went back to an insect iPad app we had bought some time back from Audubon. They had a special on it so went ahead and picked it up – at the time we only had Linda’s iPad so that is where it was installed. She has never been very happy about having that bug app on her workspace. Eventually located a webpage that compared and contrasted the Dobsonfly to a similar bug called the Fishfly. Oh, better throw the reference shot up – yes, the standard penny guide.
Now we were getting somewhere. That comparison page specifically pointed out that the antennae and mandibles were the telltale differences. Sure enough, the Fishfly has feather like antennae and yes, the matching mandibles. Ladies and gentlemen we have a positive ID. According to our friends over at Wikipedia, the Fishfly is a closest relative to the Dobsonfly. They can live several years but most of that time is spent in larvae stage. Their adult lifespan is a whopping 7 days. 7 lifetimes longer than those pesky Mayfly adults which can barely muster a day. They even eat smallish animals like minnows and tadpoles – eesh. Wait a minute, we appear to have a challenger to that statement. Insect Identification Org contests that statement on their website (link here) where the specifically say no to the minnow fact. They state instead they prey on dragonflies, water beetles etc. BUT NOT FISH. Now, for the record, that site has three images of the Fishfly but one of the three is really a Dobsonfly based on my new education.
Alas, I must end this post with some sad news. Apparently the pictures above were from day 6 of the short lived adulthood. The next day I walked back on the porch and found this sad scene.
I promise it was unharmed when I left it the night before. You know my rule, no harm comes to any subject I take the time to photograph – a small token of appreciation. Let’s hope it had a full 7 days of enjoyment. Maybe bought a fast car on day 3, retirement party on day 6….
So long my friend, thanks for deciding to hang out at our porch light.