And now for something complete different. Thought it was time to switch it up a little on the Blog and probably more of a driver to finally get a collection from the small world out of my queue. This is one of those posts that makes me cringe through the entire process. First, taking the actual picture puts you waaaay to close to these creatures. Second, processing them forces you to zoom even closer into the shots to check crispiness and worst of all, researching what it is we are staring out gives me a serious case of the heebee jeebees. Taking that lead.. here’s a bee
An immediate confession is needed here. I suck at identifying insects and arachnids so be forewarned, I’m going to leave you hanging on some of these but most of the time I should be able to get you close. In this particular situation close means I can identify the subject as a member of the bee family, but much more than that would be a stretch. If threatened with waterboarding I’d take a guess that it is a Common Eastern Bubble Bee based on numerous reference shots. On the learning side, that beige blob on the hind leg of the bee is called a Pollen Basket where the Bee places pollen grains (who’d a thought) in for the trip back to the hive.
Next up one I probably owe a HUGE apology to. I believe this is a Big Dipper Firefly or more commonly referred to in my neck of the woods, the Lightening Bug.
The Insect Identification website (link here) makes a point to mention how harmless these creatures are and how you should never put them in a jar because it stresses them. The good news I didn’t STRESS them by putting them in a jar. Nope I basically slaughtered them by the thousands when I was growing with a yellow wiffleball bat. Literally thousands if not millions. Midwest kids are generally damn good baseball hitters for what I believe is due to the bioluminescence of these bugs — err more correctly “beetles” posses. Every Summer night we were out in the dark smacking the hell out of them with our bats (or tennis racquets if that happens to be your sport) in order to watch the chemical light show splatter into the darkness from a well place swing. If you can nail a lightening bug in the dark you can hit a giant baseball with ease.
I can still remember putting the bat away at the end of the night and it still glowing brightly from the night’s home runs. It may not have been eco-friendly but it kept us from planning more devious activities.
Hit the jump to see bunch more insects collected since my last bug post.
Next up is a full on guess. The Insect ID web gave a couple of options in their Illinois breakdown. One is the Long Legged Fly (link here) and the other is the Small House Fly (link here). To be honest, none of the reference pictures for either one really look like a dead on match.
I can’t tell you how many times I went up and down that list of Illinois bugs but none of the pictures they had really nailed the bright yellow/gold coloring with the burnt red eyes that this creature possessed.
Regardless it is still a pretty cool insect – it might be a juvi which is why it is hard to identify
The next beetle that was originally confusing to me was these two taken a the pond in Jubilee State Park. The feathered subjects were in short supply which meant I had to direct the big glass towards the creepy leaf world.
There wasn’t a good match on the Insect Identification site because I was looking specifically for red beetles and they really didn’t have a perfect match. A quick look on Google found closes matches which led to a perfect match at the Bug Guide (link here). This is the Red Milkweed Beetle. They start out as red and migrate to more of an orange which is why I couldn’t locate them on the Insect site. They indicated that that are not destructive, but based on the shot above I’m not sure I believe that. There was more of an orange one hanging out as well.
If you live in the Midwest and do not know what this is you must not go outside much in the Summer months. They are usually referred to as a June Beetle around here, but I noticed the Insect ID pace didn’t really list this as their name.
I was confirmed by the Bug Guide (link here) so at least one other source is aligned with that classification. Pretty worthless creatures if you ask me. They can’t fly worth a damn and most of the time they are stuck on their backs struggling to get turned over. When you are out in their peak season you will likely be bombarded by them – would suspect that motorcycle riders would have a difficult time with them since they do have a tough outer shell that can put a sting on if smacked too hard.
No idea what this next one is – would put in the Moth category. Discover Life’s Moth identifier fail to find it on their search site (link here). Google searches didn’t produce much either so you are on your own for this one. (although, if threatened with toenail remove I’d opt for a Common Metarranthis Moth)
Next up a specimen from the cricket species. Guessing maybe a Common Field Cricket (link here). Similar in shape to the reference shots but it does have more of a hump in the middle which originally took me down the Camel Cricket line of reasoning. Those ended up more grey so went back to my original guess. Will gladly entertain any suggestions here as well.
I would be able to verify that by simply counting the chirping frequency since the Field Cricket ranges in the 30/minute cycle – pretty sure there wasn’t any counting going on while out on the shoot and if so definitely can’t remember it now.
After hours of searching I have been unable to properly identify this insect specimen. I tried every combination on the bug guides and every Google combination I could think of including long legs, spikey legs, legs with spikes, tan insects etc with zero luck – typically it comes back with a Cranefly which we will get to in a minute – it is definitely NOT a Cranefly. If you have any ideas I would love to hear them.
This scary looking dude caused me to get in trouble by the professor of my Assembly and C class at the U of I(L). Technically it wasn’t entirely my fault. My friends and I were in the first couple of rows of a huge lecture hall (meaning we were likely late!). One of those friends was from Miami and not sure he had ever stepped foot in Illinois before this semester. While sitting there this insect decided to fly off the stage and land in his lap causing him for all intensive purposes to release his inner girl. You would have thought he was being attacked by a swarm of hornets while trying to get that thing off of him, which as you probably imagined made his true friends laugh uncontrollably. The professor must not have seen the real cause of the commotion and accused those laughing as disrupting his lecture – sorry dude, but it was damn funny and honestly most of us really didn’t need a whole lecture on register swapping – he should have thanked us for waking up the rest of the hall hehehe.
It took us awhile to get our Miami friend calmed down (and a lifetime of mocking) but eventually order was restored. I guess from a transplant perspective, these do look a little menacing. They are not giant Mosquitoes ready to suck you dry (as our friend thought), but rather harmless Craneflies (link here). – They don’t even sting or bite
Another one of those creepy black Beetles is up next. There are a few of these types of black Beetles listed on the Identification site, but the best match seems to be the Darkling Beetle based on the smaller antennae and rigid lines on the back (link here). I sure didn’t know they fall in the stink bug family. I thought that was reserved more for the Helmeted Squash Bug (link here). I know for a fact those can emit a foul smell and learned quickly not to smash them in the house.
Looks like this bug will be spared immediate death in the future opting to whip it outside if encountered in the house or simply let it be if spotted in the wild.
Next up is the Picture Winged Fly. To me it looks more like an Ant with wings and before looking this up tonight had no idea that this is what it was called. These are really not seen much around here but it happened to show up on my grill while in the process of cleaning it. Figured it was worth going and getting the Macro glass. They definitely have a creepy Alf like head.
By the way, it is perfectly alright to scratch those itches I’m sure have been forming during the course of reading this post. It is taking everything I have just to stay in my chair.
The next one seemed like it would be obvious to track down but the Bug ID site came up blank. Back to Google in an attempt for a quick ID came up with a couple of options, but the best fit seemed to be the Emerald Moth. If someone threatened a hot poker to the eye I’d even be willing to call it a Wavy Lined Emerald Moth based on a large reference set on the Bug Guide site (link here)
Sticking with the Moth theme, here is a pretty common one that I tend to find in the house more than the outside. There are a number of different type of these pesky moths generally referred to as Snout Moths. Not a stretch to figure out how they got that name. In my opinion the more boring lot of the Moth species.
The next one ended up taking a lot longer to identify than originally projected. The Bug Identification site didn’t list it at all and almost all of my Google searches for black fly with yellow spot came up empty or with images of insects that were nowhere close to my specimen. Strange for such a distinct looking creature. Luckily I was able to find one image that was similar and followed a long line of back links to nail it on the Bug Guide site (link here). So without hesitation I present a somewhat soft version of a Golden-Backed Snipe Fly (apparently that is a gold spot and not a yellow spot)
Lastly I bring you the Mourning Cloak Butterfly. Took this on top of the West bluff at Devil’s Lake by Baraboo, Wisconsin. I stumbled on the name while investigating the insects above and figured I’d throw it on. Trying to leave you with something a little less creepy.
That’s all folks. I can now clean up a bunch of bugs in my queue – unfortunately, now I have to go take a shower based on the fact my skin is crawling with phantom insects. Happy Scratching