Friday, October 12, 2007

The Land of Large Insects

We seem to have an influx of spiders this fall, some of them quite large. Here are two nice ones. The first one is perhaps a type of wolf spider (I need a better spider identification book), one that stalks and chases down its prey somewhat like mammalian predators. It was a good two inches long when stretched out, seen here in our insect "re-locator":

I let that one go in the raspberry patch where I hoped it might consume some of the lingering japanese beetles. The second one is a typical garden spider. Notice the intricate zigzag decorations they add to their webs. The body of this one was an inch long. With legs, it was close to 2 1/2 inches:

Not all our large insects are spiders, thank goodness. Here is a prodigious fellow, possibly some kind of a hawk moth caterpillar (I also need a better butterfly and caterpillar identification book), that Ajanta found munching on my pepper plants:

What a grip he had! Earlier in the summer, we found the following hawk moth, who might have been the papa of our green friend above. He had quite a grip as well, so it might be a family trait:

Other than the spiders, these visitors of course all need to be played with. Here's the house Ajanta built for the big green caterpillar, complete with a thoughtfully provided meal of pepper leaves:

These he munched happily for some time, consuming most of several leaves, before depositing a small pile of quarter inch droppings and wandering down the side of the porch.

Of course we also have the usual northeastern collection of large butterflies. Shown here, the monarch and yellow swallow tail:

Now we're just short two of my favorites: The preying mantis and walking stick. Oh well, maybe next summer...