Showing posts from January, 2011

Inventing the Wheel(bug)

Back in September, a good friend brought me two bugs he had found in Little Hocking, Ohio. He didn't know what they were, but figured that I would know something about them.

Eh, he was correct.
In fact, what he had found was a wheel bug, part of the assassin bug family, of the species Arilus cristatus. Two of them in fact, which was quite fortunate (one was a female, as I found out later when it laid an egg cluster). Wheel bugs are quite large: the wheel bug is one of the biggest true bugs in North America (1 inch to 1.25 inches in length), and, certainly in Ohio, is probably the biggest you're likely to find. If there are bigger true bugs (Hemiptera) in Ohio, I would love to find them. Female wheel bugs are bigger than males, as is the trend in the insect world. Wheel bugs range from Rhode Island to Nebraska, further west into California, and south into Florida and Texas. They've also been reported to be in Mexico and Guatemala, so if you find yourself down there, look ar…

Líquenes de Costa Rica

I had the great fortune of going to the Poás Volcano this weekend and seeing all the interesting biota there. The first thing I noticed after stepping off the bus on starting the walk up to the crater was the intense smell of sulfur. It was almost suffocating and apparently some people got a bit sick from it. Of course, what else can you expect from a volcano?

The main crater, which is 950 feet deep.
The volcano is located within Poás Volcano National Park, so naturally there was a gift shop. It had a wonderful selection of books that were 50% off, and I found one about lichens! This was a pretty big deal to me, since it's difficult enough to find books about lichens in the United States, so I promptly bought it. It's Líquenes de Costa Rica, by Loengrin Umaña and Harrie Sipman, and is published by INBio, the Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, a huge Biodiversity institute in Costa Rica. The book has some general information about lichens, and identification information for 55 …

Hitting the Ground Running in Costa Rica

I've been in Costa Rica for about two weeks now, and it's been an eye-opening experience to be in an entirely new biome. The only exposure I've had to tropical plants before now has been in greenhouses, but my visits could hardly come close to exploring the actual tropics. So far I've been to a beach on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, and one on the Caribbean side. I've explored tide pools and the brush around a chocolate plantation, as well as my new front yard. I've seen so many new plants, animals, fungi, and so much more, which has led me to one conclusion.

I made the right choice in coming here.

Now unfortunately, the internet I'm currently on isn't the fastest in the world, so I'll probably start using less pictures. Actually, that's probably a lie. I've found so many interesting things here, I'll invariably end up posting a lot of pictures. What I truly mean is that it will take me longer to write up the blogs while I'm uploadin…

Predeparture & Teeth

I'm heading to Costa Rica tomorrow for four months, so we're going to see how many posts I'm able to write in between everything else I'm going to be doing. Hopefully it's going to be a lot, because I'm pretty keen on finding a lot of new insects and other things while I'm down there. So, expect to see a shift in the content of my posts!

Before leaving, however, I would like to share a link.

Enlarge that picture. Now, you'll notice a very peculiar thing: it has teeth on its tongue. TEETH! ON ITS TONGUE! That is too amazing. It's a dragonfish from Australia, though I couldn't find much other information about it. It lives in deep water, and you do not want to get bitten by it. Obviously. It was discovered by the Census of Marine Life, which is one of the most exciting projects I've ever heard of. For more information, check …