Thursday, May 20, 2010

Buggin' Out On Thursdays :: I'm Molting! A Metamorphosis.

Today is Buggin' Out On Thursdays and this little grasshopper's outer skin is the star of the show!

Did you know grasshoppers molted and left a perfectly intact outer casing of their former self hanging around?  I never really thought about it until I found this skin casing hanging upside-down from one of my flower's stem.

Not only was that interesting enough for me but I also noticed the actual baby grasshopper very close-by trying to hide from me and my camera:

After a little research I found out more than I ever wanted to know about the way these insects metamorphose into adult grasshoppers.
  • As insects grow and develop, they molt at intervals, changing structures and their form. This process is called metamorphosis.
  • A number of insects undergo gradual (simple) metamorphosis, such as grasshoppers. With this type of metamorphosis the insect that hatches looks like the adult except for its smaller size, lack of wings, fewer antennal segments, and rudimentary genitalia.
    • After shedding the serosal skin, the newly hatched nymph is called the first instar. After each molt the instar increases by one so that the nymph consecutively becomes a second, third, fourth, and fifth instar. When the fifth instar molts, the grasshopper becomes an adult, as called an imago.
    Now you know more than you ever wanted to about those darn grasshoppers who chomp on all your plants and garden vegetables!  You remember my bug butt post about those bugs stuck in the mud?  Well, here's a picture of another bug butt - this time in the form of a molted skin casing.

    What kind of bugs have you seen lately?

    Thursday, May 13, 2010

    Hummingbird Live Cam :: Nestling hatched on Mother's Day!

    This is Phoebe, a non-migratory Channel Islands Allen's Hummingbird living in Southern California where she is raising two newly hatched baby hummingbirds named Hope and Hoku.  I love hummingbirds!

    I'm a blog follower of TexasEagle Talks and today I ran across her post about this Live Hummingbird Nest Cam.  Visit the Phoebe Allens Web Cam to see Phoebe and her two nestlings!

    As soon as I laid eyes on them I instantly fell in love with Phoebe and her two new hatchlings.  She's built her nest in a rose bush.  The nest is made out of feathers, spiderwebs, plant fibers and lichen.  When she laid her eggs the owner the of webcam, Joe, said they were about the size of a tic tac mint!  His website,, has the live streaming webcam as well as facts, a chat room, and other information about how it all began when a little hummingbird kept coming back each Spring to their rosebush to make a nest.

    Hope hatched on Mother's Day and Hoku just a day later.  To tell the babes apart, Hope has a blue tint to her body and is a little bigger than Hoku, who is brown in color.  

    In addition to the Live Hummingbird Cam, I love to look in on the Sydney, BC Eagle Cam which has a nest with one baby eagle named Solo being reared by his parents.

    Live Wildlife Web Cameras including channels dedicated to falcons, loons, eagles, robins and a house wren can also be found at WildEarth.TV.

    Do you have any favorite live wildlife cams?  If so, leave a comment and please share them with me.

    Monday, May 10, 2010

    Origami Hummingbird Tutorial

    Today I am sharing with you a video I found on on how to make a folded origami Colibri Hummingbird.  This is my first origami hummingbird and it looks a little beat up because I had no clue what I was doing but I followed the video by Cheung Nga Chun on YouTube.  He has since deleted the video so here is one that is very similar and the maker sells special printed origami paper for the design:

    The colibri (hummingbird) is a sacred symbol for the Taino Indians, pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. Because the hummingbird is a pollinator and therefore disseminator of new life it is sacred to the Taino people. It symbolizes the rebirth of the Taino Indigenous Nation in the Caribbean. The bird is found on many Caribbean islands, but the most sacred species is the Guani, which 500 years ago inhabited all the islands, but today is confined to Cuba. Although the smallest of the Caribbean hummingbirds, only about the size of a penny, it is known by the mountain people as the most noble warrior of the valiant Colibris.

    Thursday, May 6, 2010

    Buggin' Out On Thursdays Is Back! Meet Mothman

    Every year in May I get little earthy green and brown moths hanging out on my kitchen window. I call this one Mothman because from the underside he looks a little bit like Spiderman clinging to the outside of the window. I'm not sure what these moths are but I have an identification request in at so I'm hoping to update this blog post with the exact genus and species as soon as I hear anything from the wonderful people at the website. In the meantime it's fun to speculate about this "fuzzy" looking character with the big, black eyes!

    My first guess after researching a bit was that this moth is a smaller parasa called Parasa chloris. However, I've learned today that smaller parasa moths have a green thorax (what looks like the top of his fuzzy head in above photo) and my guy has a brown one so he must be a Euclea. More precisely, E. incisa or E. delphinii.

    In any case, my Mothman belongs to the Family of Slug Caterpillar Moths (photo credit). The caterpillars of these moths are colorful with spiny stingers so if you see any pretty little wormie sluggers - admire but don't touch! These guys in caterpillar stage like to feed on oak, willow, and other deciduous plants. They better stay off the 1000 year old Granddaddy of all Coastal Live Oaks I recently blogged about though!

    So back to identifications, the more I look at my moth the more I think it's Euclea delphinii. It's interesting to see what other Bug Huggers think about this one: follow the discussion taking place right now.


    moth - probably a Smaller Parsa moth (Parasa chloris)

    Just Hangin' Out!