Blog

Blue Morpho…Dragonfly?

When we were researching interesting species to find in the Amazon Rainforest,  Jess learned about the Blue Morpho Dragonfly. This thing IMMEDIATELY went on our Top 5 List.  Most people know or have seen pictures of Blue Morpho butterflies, as they are some of the most beautiful and visible...

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Is it a Kissing Bug or a Leaf-footed Bug?

Lately, we have received a few questions on our Facebook page asking about kissing bugs. Some people have sent pictures of insects that they suspect may be the insects that transmit Chagas Disease, a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi that can range from mild symptoms to...

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Can you guess the species of this pupa?

The other night in the kitchen as we were cleaning up after dinner, I came across a small green caterpillar on the counter. It must have come from some of our produce. I immediately wanted to photograph it and get it under the scope. But also, it was late, I had just washed a bunch of dishes and I...

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Bug Blast at the Burke Museum!

Last Sunday I woke up at 5AM and packed up my trusty car with my arthropod zoo and some bug costumes. I made the three hour drive up to Seattle (after stopping to get coffee- I’m not a robot) to headline Bug Blast at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. I was hoping Jess would...

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Evidence of Animals (Frass Happens)

Sometimes finding the evidence of an animal is just as exciting and interesting as finding the animal itself. Unfurling a leaf I uncovered a mass of silk and excrement from what I’m assuming was a leaf roller moth in the Family Tortricidae. The moth had pupated and left this behind. This...

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Flowers Up-Close

I took a botany class once. It was…fine. It was the semester before I went to Kenya for the first time and I took it concurrently with entomology, so it was never going to have a chance to feel my love.  I was all- Plants, meh. Truth be told I’m still a little bit like that. I...

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I’m Lichen It!

I went out for a walk around the block with my FlipView digital microscope, looking for inspiration. After playing with the video function and filming some pollinators I decided to turn my sights onto the tree in my front yard. It’s a maple tree and it has these little notches in the bark...

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A Few Pollinators

I challenged myself to walk around the block and simply explore with my FlipView microscope with an assignment to shoot some video with it. I didn’t even make it one quarter of the way! I shot some footage of pollinators doing their thing. It was a bit windy, so the flowers are moving quite...

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Sexual Dimorphism: how males and females look different

I promised you dobsonflies! I think these megalopterans are one of the best examples of sexual dimorphism, where males and females have different body forms. These large insects start their lives as larvae in streams. Back east we call them hellgrammites or ‘toe-biters’ (though some...

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Insect Mouthparts: Part Two

Last week we talked about some basic mouthparts found on insects. But this week we are going to explore some funkier specimens. Chewing mouthparts are not boring. Let’s take this male lucanid stag beetle. The mandibles extend forward and are functionally useless for feeding. Male stag...

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Insect Mouthparts: Part One

When starting in entomology, mouthparts are some of the first things you learn about. Usually people start with typical chewing mouthparts, like that of a grasshopper. You have the basic parts: labrum (the upper lip, or as I like to call it, the Mr. Ed lip), two mandibles (the chewing jaws),  two...

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The Color of Love

We got a new box of insect specimens. It counts as a Valentine’s week gift to ourselves and the business. We needed some to fly to LA this past weekend for a bit of filming and  I need them to teach at NSTA at the end of March so it was  a perfect excuse to treat ourselves. We were in a...

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