Invertebrates

Invertebrates–animals without backbones. That covers a lot of species from butterflies to spiders to slugs and earthworms. I could have divided this category into more specific categories like spiders, insects or mollusks, but often I don’t even know where to start looking when trying to identify an invertebrate. Did you know ticks are  arachnids not insects?


Wildlife attracted to dead trees

I often notice snags because of the woodpecker holes or woodpeckers drumming on the tree. However, woodpeckers aren’t the only ones utilizing snags. Snags (any dead or dying standing tree) are considered wildlife trees because they often provide more habitat for wildlife when dead than when alive. Wildlife utilize snags…

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What happens inside a chrysalis?

Butterflies, moths, beetles, flies and bees all look different when they are young. From caterpillars to grubs and maggots, these young undergo a major transformation to become adults–complete metamorphosis. Last week, I wrote about incomplete metamorphosis and how the young and adults look similar but the young are smaller and…

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Metamorphosis transforms many insects

One of the most fascinating transformations in nature is the change a caterpillar undergoes to become a butterfly. Small, wriggly caterpillars hide within a chrysalis and emerge as a winged butterfly. Butterflies may be the most well-known insect to undergo metamorphosis which is Greek for transformation or change in shape.…

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Some animals capable of growing new appendages

Lizards are one of the more well-known animals to regrow their tail after shedding it to evade predators. Last week, I wrote about autotomy (the process of voluntarily shedding a body part) and how it is advantageous at first but can cause hardship afterwards. Certain animals alleviate these hardships by…

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Animals utilize self-amputation for numerous reasons

Northern alligator lizards and western blue-tailed skinks possess two unique abilities in the animal world–they can self-amputate their tail and grow it back. The process of voluntarily shedding a limb or tail is called autotomy and the ability to grow it back is called regeneration. Animals capable of autotomy include…

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Ant hills only a portion of the nest

When wandering through the woods I’ll occasionally stumble across an ant hill. Sometimes the ant hills are only a few inches high, sometimes a few feet high. The mounds of needles, leaves, grass and small sticks are either teeming with activity or void of any movement depending on the time…

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Antlions lurk at bottom of mini sand pits

Have you seen the small pits that resemble craters on the moon at the base of large trees? Or maybe in the sandy soil under your eaves? These miniature sand pits are the result of larval antlions, also known as “doodlebugs”. Typically found in fine soil that stays protected from…

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Water striders walk on water

While throwing rocks into Boulder Creek, I noticed the insects that look like big mosquitos walking on water in the eddies. I call them water striders but they are also called pond skaters, water spiders, water bugs, water skippers and Jesus bugs. Water striders truly walk on water. Unlike boats…

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What are those big beetles?

Big insects are hard to miss, especially big beetles. This summer I’ve encountered two big beetles I’ve never seen before–the ten lined June beetle and the white-spotted sawyer. Whether you’ve encountered these beetles before or not, now you’ll now their names. Ten lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata) June beetles are…

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Spit bugs most powerful jumping insect

Spit bugs, spittlebugs, froghoppers. They’re all the same insect that produces the globs of spit-like froth on the stems of grasses, flowers and shrubs this time of year. While the spittlebug may be well-known for its spit, it isn’t as well known for its jumping capabilities. The name froghopper is…

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