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belostomatidae

Americans have a tendency to call all insects “bugs”. I first thought the terms were interchangeable, but I’ve learned that while all bugs are insects, not all insects are bugs.

The key difference between true bugs and other insects is their mouth parts. True bugs have rigid piercing/sucking mouthparts that look like a long beak and act like a straw. Most suck plant juices, but some feed on animals. Water bugs are venomous; they liquify then drink their prey. Yum!

Thanks to Trisha Nichols for another fun and informative lesson.

nursery

Our local hardware store and nursery is a rambling collection of small rooms built around big sycamore trees. It’s such a pleasing change from the big box corporate places, which might offer lower prices but can’t compare to the shopping experience here. I like poking around in the sinuous nursery, just to spend time with the plants.

pandion haliaetus

I often see this raptor at the lagoon, always solo.

The osprey (Pandion haliaetus), also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It’s large, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings.

The osprey is unusual in that it is a single living species that occurs nearly worldwide. Another oddity: osprey and owls are the only raptors whose outer toe is reversible, allowing them to grasp their prey with two toes in front and two behind. This is particularly helpful when they grab slippery fish.

hyalophera cecropia

Another one for National Moth Week. The cecropia moth is North America’s largest native moth, and can be found all across the continent. Females have been documented with a wingspan of five to seven inches (125 – 175 mm) or more. Like other members of the giant silk moth family, the cecropia moth lacks functional mouth parts and a digestive system. Due to this, they survive approximately two weeks. So if you get to see one, rejoice!