Coughing up a lung

Once again courtesy of Not Exactly Rocket Science comes an article about a rather bizarre (to us at least) factor in the process of arthropod molting: apparently, they also shed the lining of their lungs while they’re at it.

Now, this is a little bit different from what we might imagine (yeah, like discarding [...]

So, spiders

And so, we rejoin our hero in his further adventures of spider encounters and arachnophobia…

When I did the detailed portraits of a largish wolf spider (family Lycosidae) a few days back, I released it under the porch steps and vowed to keep an eye open. Accommodatingly, the spider assisted this endeavor by molting [...]

I’m gonna git you, sucker

A couple of years ago, I captured a particular sequence of images that didn’t quite cut it, as far as I was concerned, and I’ve been trying to get a better set ever since. This evening, I was successful.

What you see to the left is a mosquito in larval stage. Mosquitoes lay their [...]

Aha, hmmmm

I decided to try and answer a couple of questions raised in the post about the newborn mantids, so I went out and collected the debris that was still hanging from the egg sac, that the newborns had been suspended from immediately after emergence. The first thing to become apparent was that it hung [...]

Spring and equinox and all that jazz

Shocked as I am to report it, the calendar event of the vernal equinox and the weather coincided quite well – the skies cleared and the temperature got into the twenties (or the seventies, if you prefer,) so I did indeed get out to chase a few spring subjects. It was exceedingly few – [...]

The Great Unused of 2013

I have to admit, I’m really not one for rating things, especially comparatively – top ten lists and all that are not for me. I did it last year, mostly because a prominent blogger would feature any such posts on his own blog as a bit of promotion, so it was blatant opportunism. If [...]

A year goes by fast

Last year about this time, I published a post about my little friends the fishing spiders, whom I call ‘friends’ not because we hang out and hammer down Pepsi together, but because my first photo sale featured one as a subject. Lately, a few have been making themselves obvious, clearly begging to be featured again, so who am I to crush their little spirits? And I say with all honesty, it’s not that I’m avoiding bunny rabbits and ducklings, it’s that I simply have not seen anything cute at all. But still, I know some people don’t want to be greeted with spiders all the time, so I’m including the detailed pics below the break.

A little over a week ago, while staging the photo for the previous post, I espied something that can occasionally be found at the edges of ponds and streams that have plenty of reeds, seen to the left: the molted exoskeleton of a fishing spider. Spiders, and most insects, shed their ‘skins’ as they grow larger, splitting the chitin and squeezing out backwards, and then usually hiding for a while since their new exoskeleton is soft, leaving them much more vulnerable to predators. The translucent molt is left attached to whatever surface was handy, usually mistaken for a dead insect, but it’s instead a clue to be watching for the former owner nearby. When I sat down to take this image, I soon spotted the culprit hiding in the tall grasses. With a stick, I carefully flushed him out, whereupon he panicked and scampered for cover practically underneath me, but then froze and held perfectly still for some really tight closeups.
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