Cow Killer and Wandering Gliders

Top Image: Cow Killer or velvet ant, a flightless female parasitic wasp. A cow killer (Dasymutilla occidentalis) is a wasp. The females are flightless. If you’ve seen one, you’ve surely remembered it for its velvety, bright red or orange and black coloration. It was probably racing around your backyard, a sandy patch of soil with sparse vegetation, or across the hiking trail you were trekking down.     If you were wondering what the insect was doing, dashing around as it was,Read more

The Cryptic and The Conspicuous

All grasshoppers are well camouflaged, usually for life, in the grass or on leaves. Pinetree Spurthroated Grasshoppers (Melanoplus punctulatus) look a bit like lichen-covered tree bark. I found one on the trunk of an Oak Tree. As you can see from the two images below (#1 and #2), they blend in quite well. Treehoppers are small insects which are often shaped like various tree or plant parts: thorns, buds, or perhaps tiny leaves. When disturbed they often quickly “hop” away.Read more