Insects

Myrmecos

Category archives for Insects

Up close with a drone fly

Eristalis, the drone fly Urbana, Illinois Easily mistaken for a bee, Eristalis is in fact a clever mimic capable of luring many an unsuspecting observer into the land of amusing taxonomy fail. But the structure of the antennae, the broad attachment of the abdomen to the thorax, and the presence of only a single pair…

Forensic entomologists, of course. These are the strong-stomached folks who study the arthropod fauna that colonizes dead flesh. Their knowledge of insect taxonomy, ecology, and development can be used to provide estimates of the time and conditions of death. Or zombification, in the present case. Hypothetically, suppose a zombie shuffles along to my house at…

Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

Loxocera cylindrica rust fly (Diptera: Psilidae) Urbana, Illinois The unmistakable antennae on these amorous insects mark them as psilid flies, and commentator Chris Grinter (of The Skeptical Moth) correctly surmised the species as Loxocera cylindrica. Nine points to Chris, and one to FormicidaeFantasy who was the first to pick the order. This brings us to…

Monday Night Mystery

Ok. Now you guys have asked for it. Apparently the mysteries haven’t been quite obscure enough. So here you go. A real challenge: One point for order, three points for family, three points for genus, and three for species. Points are awarded for the first correct guess in each category. The cumulative points winner for…

Have you wondered about the buzz in the air this week? Why the world seems to tingle with the excitement of little wings and millions of jointed legs? No? Well, you’re probably on the wrong drugs. Anyway. This week is National Pollinator Week here in the U.S., where we take time to appreciate the fact…

A Dagger Fly, Victorious

A dagger fly (Diptera: Empididae), eating a fly it caught.Shawnee National Forest, Illinois Among the insects, one lineage in particular excels in the air: Diptera, the flies. These animals have evolved a gyroscopic control system that’s faster and more efficient than the standard insect sensory system, and as a consequence the flies are the most…

Answer to the Monday Night Mystery

[The following is a guest post by Rob Mitchell] Rob here, back again with your answer to this week’s mystery… not that you need it! And here I thought I was being tricky. Six points to FormicidaeFantasy for hitting the order, family, and genus, and another four to Gordon Snelling for making quick work of…

Monday Night Mystery

[the following is a guest post from Rob Mitchell] Hi folks – Rob Mitchell here, guest blogger extraordinaire and your temporary replacement for Alex while he celebrates a recent age-related milestone. My job tonight is to provide you entomology sleuths with a mystery, so take a look here at exhibit A: Who is this gangly…

Monday Night Mystery

Tonight’s challenge is this rather unusual insect. What is it? Points will be awarded to the first person to pick the order (3), family (3), and genus (3). Plus, a bonus point for explaining what is unusual about this insect’s life cycle. The cumulative winner for the month of June 2010 will get their choice…

From the clever UK children’s series Smalltalk Diaries: