Showing posts with label Bugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bugs. Show all posts

Saturday, June 25, 2011


In my last post I mentioned that I had been doing some volunteer work for a local environmental group.  This involved hiking a mile through the woods (at three different places) and then taking a sample of the water from the river at the end of each of the three hikes.  Two of these locations required some down hill and up hill hiking and really got the heart beating and the sweat poring.  The last selection site was just off a highway and required hiking through debris that had either been thrown by cars or washed up by a nearby flood area.  That was the place I showed in the previous post.  Looks idyllic, doesn't it.  I neglected to show the sand bags, bottles and other stuff.

Hubby and I started this project at 1:30 P.M. and did not head back to the "lab" (really an extra room on the back of the museum/house) until 5:00 P.M.  We had to filter the samples for both chlorophyll and suspended solids which meant filtering six times...two for each sample.  Then some of the sample also went into a refractometer for a salinity check...the river was freshwater.  Finally three samples from each site were poured into little vials and labeled and frozen along with the filters placed carefully in foil.  I am just telling you all this to impress you with my technical skills.

I think we must have used a double filter for the first sample because we waited almost 20 minutes for it to filter through.  We reduced our sample from 300 ML to 150 ML and  the next sets took only 5 or 6 minutes to filter completely.  We also had to label the vials and the filters and create a data sheet as well as complete another log.  We were not done until 8:00 and we rushed through our cleanup of the area and headed to the nearby I-HOP for a quick dinner.  It was in the middle of dinner I remembered that I had forgotten to complete two blanks on the 'custody sheet' and so back we drove, retrieved the key from under the log as it got darker, tried to do this so that a nearby family having a picnic did not see we were getting a key, and made our way back into the little back room.

I am clearly not cut out for all the details of environmental work.

On top of all of this I have been tormented by chigger bites which I probably got when sitting on a log near the river's edge while writing in water temp numbers.  I have not had to endure these pests for years and had forgotten how miserable they can make you.  They are a mite, red in color, but too small to be seen by most human eyes, and when they bite you with special mouth parts they liquefy the skin after creating a feed tube called a stylostome of the skin cells.  Don't you just love this info?  This tube they create is the thing that causes the unbearable itching because they fall off when you first scratch and then die.  But the tube stays in for days.  You must NOT scratch because the more you scratch the more it itches!  It can take 10 days for this stylostome to reabsorb.  It is nice to know that their mouths are not very strong, and so, they prefer the tender skin of women and children.  I am now on day 6....ONLY FOUR MORE TO GO!   Eeeeaahh!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hummingbird Moth

(I was supposed to post this on MY OTHER blog...but got mixed up and am too lazy to move all the html here it is!)

This is Hemaris thysbe (at least I think that is what is is) commonly known as the Hummingbird moth.  Got these photos while he was hanging out at the dianthus pot on the back of my deck.  They turned out nicely, so, of course, I had to share even if in reduced pixel size!

There is not much known about this moth, except one site said the scientific name was based on the Pyramus and Thisbe  love story where Pyramus finds Thisbe's blood stained scarf assuming she had been killed and thus impales himself with his own sword.  The Hemaris part is based on "Haemorrhagia as a reference to blood-like coloration" 

I also found this quote  "The courtship behavior of hawk moths is very complex. It often involes pheromones, love songs and aerobatic flights. This type of behavior has been noted in the cream-lined hawk moth from Asia, and is currently being studied in the North American species. However, many different hawk moths, such as the ocellate hawk moth, also found in Asia, do not have these behaviors. Rather, they tend to have broader wings and fly more clumsily. They have no tongues, do not feed as adults, and show little courtship behaviour. (Kitching, 1999)"

I see this often in the summer and sometimes people think they are a stinging insect because of their size...not so.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Summer Flying By

(Here I am in the cold mountains of Colorado and yet able to post something to my blog! Cool!)

All of these beauties graced my front yard on the day I loaded my car with suitcases to leave on this trip. They danced and danced across the grass and with each other. They will probably not be here when I return, but knowing the transience of life, I am prepared for some new beauty in nature to tuck in for a while. (This should be on my other blog, I know.)