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A site for parents, teachers and bugdorks.

Evidence of Animals (Frass Happens)

Leafroller Silk Celestron

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 gorgeous clump is frass. Frans is insect poop. Frass happens, people. And I will photograph it. The color is strangely beautiful and the slight striations on the surface remind me of the microstructure of a seashell. Whoa– too much waxing poetic on poo.

Gleaming Slime Celestron

This is one of my favorite shots I’ve ever taken with the Flipview digital scope. When I was looking at it on the tree, this tiny, clear gossamer strand initially looked like spider silk to me. But when I blew the picture up, Jess and I determined that it was a small, thin sheet of dried snail slime. It is so delicate and so ephemeral. It likely dissolved with the rain that fell later that afternoon. This is what I love about being a naturalist. I get to put my small eyes on. And see the tiny universe in my front yard in a totally different way.

Got any ‘small eyes’ stories to share with me? I’d love to hear them.


Join the discussion

  1. Kelly Brenner

    I’ve been having the best time investigating pond life. I scoop animals up and take photos using my hand loupe held over my phone’s camera. Some of them I take home and look at under the microscope. Then I put them in my miniature wetland where I can watch them swim and do their thing. Some of my favorites have been the daphnia, hydra and water mites. I’ve also found seed shrimp, flatworms, snails, midge larvae spinning algae cocoons, scuds, damselfly larvae, water beetles, clams, mosquitoe pupae and water boatman. Amazing world under the surface!

    What I really want to make or find is an underwater viewing device. I’ve read you can make one with a tin can and plastic wrap, but I’m thinking about a PVC pipe and plexiglass glued in. Any tips?

  2. Thomas Chapman

    Properly credited, are you open to your images being used in an educational setting?

  3. thebugchicks

    Yes, absolutely! I would love that. If it’s any of the Celestron photos (taken with the microscope with the orange banner) the credit goes to Kristie Reddick of The Bug Chicks. Anything else can just be The Bug Chicks.


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