Sunday, October 22, 2006

I have tried to raise these Midwestern tigers, Cicindela sexguttata, before. My friend went back to Cleveland, Ohio to visit family and brought back a few of these wonderful tigers that skittle near the lake's edge. I got so far with my first batch that I was sure that I would have adults by the spring of 2006. However, I was having some trouble catching insects for them and the pet store had trouble getting shipments of fruit flies, that I decided to put the larvae just outside in the warming sun with a banana ... to entice unsuspecting small critters.... Instead, I came back to find the larvae rookery scratched up and a happy Ms. Chicken. She ate my little charges!

So, back to the drawing board... My friend returned with more adults and they laid eggs and now.....

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But, I still am having trouble getting fruit flies from the pet store. I noticed my bananas had a nice halo of flies.... One way to rid an area, a room perhaps, of flies is to pour out a bit of dark red wine into a glass. The flies go in, get happy, and don't get out... So, with a small plastic spoon in the midst of the larvae, I pour the smallest amount of Merlot. I put just enough wine so that it attracts the fruit and vinegar flies but does not kill them. They drink. They mate. They lay eggs. They get drunk and and and ..... get to close to the larvae.... Happy larvae.

Life is so cruel.

I took these pictures in the afternoon sun as it peeked through the window. I have to sneak up on these guys to see them otherwise they disappear down their burrow.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Phidippus adumbratus

Phidippus adumbratus
Originally uploaded by tardigrade.
Phidippus was sitting on the right rear fender of my car. He looked up and saw me. I love these spiders. He was busy at something, or concentrating on someone - or, perhaps trying to blend in the black of my car.... I reached down to touch his back leg and he gave me another look and turned a bit. I touched his back leg and he stood up higher to look at me, maybe to even look bigger then he was (about 2+ cm). His long mustache was very fetching. I have looked on the net for other color variations of this species of Salticidae, or jumping spider. I think this one was particularly beautiful and furry.