Monday, August 20, 2007

A harvestman eats a fly

We were in Ferry Beach State Park in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, on 11 August when I spied this tiny drama taking place. One of the kids present was fascinated and another couldn't care less. A harvestman (Order Opiliones) was sucking the juices out of a large fly.

Eventually it got nervous and dragged the fly to a lower leaf, where it continued feeding.

I returned an hour or so later, and the harvestman was finished its meal and was resting on a nearby leaf. (The conical structure beside its body may be a gall produced by a gall wasp - see comment for correct id.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More on Gypsy Moth

A holiday in the Bar Harbour area of Maine last week produced these images of mating European Gypsy Moths (Lymantria dispar). This female crawled to a sheltered spot under a board behind a shed at a campground. She pupated (see the image of the dark mass with a shed larval skin beside it), then emerged as a large white adult. The females don't fly, so she moved a short distance away, emitted her pheromones, and attracted a much smaller, brown male. After mating (next image), she deposited her eggs close by (third image). The egg masses can contain an average of 500 eggs.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

NB Crane Flies

Phantom Crane Fies (Bittacomorpha clavipes) are an amazing sight when seen drifting along a wooded trail with their legs outstretched. The white bands on their black bodies and legs give them the appearance of a series of unconnected mid-air dots. Two are shown here mating. These flies are in the family PTYCHOPTERIDAE, while other, more common crane files, such as this Pedicia Crane Fly (Pedicia sp.) are placed in the TIPULIDAE. These 2 images were taken about this time last year.