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Monday, October 30, 2006

Heart of the Bell Pepper

I think it looks like some sort of Roger Dean album cover for Yes... I just dated myself, didn't I? Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006


This wolf spider seems kinda small for this nest. Maybe he took over the place after another spider left. Maybe he's just got some sort of inferiority complex for which he'd like to compensate.

I still felt like uber-nature babe for finally getting a picture of an in-view wolf spider next to a burrow. Generally they hide too fast and are too shy for me to get the shot -- at least in the time it takes for my kids to lose their patience and drag me away. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 09, 2006

Crab Spider Tarsi Hook

I was watching this spider when I scared it and it dropped with a dragline trailing behind it. At the point this picture was taken the spider was preparing to climb back up to its flower and wait again for prey (before it was so rudely interrupted). I'm usually more interested in watching the side of the creature where the eyes are, but in this case, I really liked how I could clearly see the hooks grab a hold of the silk.

On another note, I just watched "The Root of All Evil?" a program by Richard Dawkins on religion. It was fantastic. Here's Part 1 and Part 2 on YouTube, if anyone else is interested. I sought it out after his interview on Science Friday Talk of the NationPosted by Picasa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Late Blue

These are probably the last Chinese Forget-Me-Nots before the traditional Halloween snowfall. I planted them this spring and they started blooming right before we left for China. Posted by Picasa

Barking Moth

In this case Barking is defined as the verb "to appear as the bark on a tree." It also made me think of Klingons; sort of the lepidopteran version of a knobbily forehead. Posted by Picasa

Thinking of Orange

I was wandering in my backyard (the plants were horribly neglected this year) and found among the weeds a huge orange marigold and thought of Orange Fronkey. This one's for you! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wolf Spider


This is a larger wolf spider in its burrow. These spiders are very shy and hide if they sense large motion around the burrow. I spotted the motion of the retreat into its burrow. To get the picture I had to wait a number of minutes before it even came out this far. I used my zoom lens to get this.

The hole was about an inch in diameter. I found a molted skin by the hole as well as the empty husks of yellow jackets. Desperately hungry yellow jackets carelessly searching for a meal anywhere are an easy meal for an ambush predator.

I found out how to tell the difference between a tarantula hole and a wolf spider burrow in one of my new books, A Field Guide to Desert Holes by Pinau Merlin. The wolf spider burrow has a "collar" of silk woven twigs and grass around the hole. It's theorized that this might be for flood control. The burrow can spiral twelve inches into the soil. A tarantula hole can be a half an inch larger in diameter, it's length is "J" shape, has no collar, and is often sealed with silk during the day.

I think I'll revisit this hole in the early evening with a ruler, some crickets and a flashlight. ;) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Check out those antennae -- he's checking out the ladies. Actually, this was prolly the only beetle on the bush not engaged in sex. I bet he got some a few seconds later. It was a very friendly day in beetle town. Posted by Picasa