Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Shenandoah River Walk

I love to walk along the Shenandoah River this time of year. The leaves and reflection in the water are stunning.

Of course I am still looking for spiders and I found this one from the genus Tetragnatha. There are 25 species in North America to choose from I think this one is Tetragnatha straminea. Also notice how long the legs are; they are about ten times the length of the carapace.

It is a long-jawed orb weaver and you can see the large chelicerae in this photo. They have long, slender abdomens as well. They make orb webs but I didn’t see its web. They catch prey using the web in the traditional sense but they also capture flies and other insects without the aid of a web.

They often can be seen stretched out on a twig or leaf and are almost impossible to see. The egg sac is a tightly woven sac sparsely covered with threads of beadlike, greenish silk attached to twigs and other objects. I looked but didn’t see anything like this nearby.

The walk along the river was really nice. Spice bushes are always good places to search for insects and it smell so nice as I turn over leaves.

To my surprise I found this fun looking colorful caterpillar out in the open. It is a Spicebush caterpillar (Papilio troilus) pretending to look like a snake. I think Disney should make a movie about caterpillars. This one could be one of the main characters. When it is in the early stages of growth it looks like bird poop so there could be a lot of fun teasing about that in the movie.

I have this whole cast of caterpillar characters in my head and maybe later this winter I will do a blog featuring them. For now I just want to show this one.

Here is a photo of two adults taken at an earlier time.

When I turned around to go back to my car I spotted a Praying Mantis eating a couple of bees.

Hello, do you want to join me? I have two bees.

They are very yummy.

 Most of the flowers were gone and I didn’t see any mushrooms but these three insects were great finds on such a beautiful day.


Jacqueline Donnelly said...

You just find the coolest stuff, squirrel! I love to go walking along with you, enjoying your clear and beautiful photos.

squirrel said...

You know I feel the same way about what you find. One of these days I'm going to drive up your way. In the mean time I love to go on these virtural walks together. Till next time.

laurak/ForestWalkArt :) said...

what amazing pictures!! i saw a long jawed orb weaver on my porch a while back...i have no idea how i spotted him, he was stretched out on a wind chime string.
the spice bush caterpillar is beautiful!!! look at that face!! i love it!! your close-ups are fantastic. thanks for the stroll!

Kim, USA said...

I have never seen such beautiful caterpillar it looks like a toy. And the face does looks like cartoon character already. I bet this caterpillar will go places in hollywood ^_^

Watery Wednesday

Cottage and Broome said...

Your bug pictures are amazing! Great shots, Laura, Cottage and Broome