Saturday, May 2, 2009

Nightdragon, the amateur entymologist

During a recent trip to central Florida, I had the chance to employ my amateur knowledge of entymology. (I've been casually studying insects since the age of 9, and I took two semesters of entymology for my Associates Degree eons ago.)
While standing on the balcony of our motel, overlooking the pool, I heard a slight flutter, felt something touch my leg and then hop off. I looked down and saw an insect just like this one:

Once I got over the incredible thought that a six-legged freak show like this had actually been on my person—I performed a quick little "eww, eww" dance to commemorate it—I stooped down to examine the creature.
When I got too close, it stretched out its wings as if to fly away, so I immediately backed off. I checked the insect out from all angles, as closely as I could without it feeling threatened.
"It's not a cricket," I said to myself. "And I'm pretty sure it's not a beetle." I looked at the head, the overall body shape and the way its wings were folded, and determined it to be a bug—that is, a true bug, a member of the order Hemiptera. (All bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs.)
Only problem is, I had never seen a bug this large.
Once I was home, I did a search for "Florida bugs" and I came to the Florida leaf-footed bug, Acanthocephala femorata, and immediately recognized it. All I had to go on was the overall head and body shape, but I knew a bug when I saw one. Made me feel rather proud.
I also wrestled with this creature too, although I'm pretty sure it's not an insect, bug or otherwise!

1 comment:

Raggy Rat said...

hehe you made me laugh
how are you and sq, i made her rat bag back in 1998 !
saw your story again in rat and mouse :-)