Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Seven

Today's Sunday Seven are all photographed on the garage wall where I keep my black light when it's not raining or to windy. Over time you will probably come to recognize that slump block background. I think it looks better than my dirty white collecting sheet and also doesn't flap in the wind as much. 

Euscirrhopterus cosyra (Staghorn Cholla Moth)
Staghorn Cholla Moths are back. Soon we will find groups of their caterpillars feeding on cholla branches.  I'm  amazed how closely these Owlet Moths resemble the Mesquite Stinger Moths in the Flannel Moth family.

Ligurotettix coquilletti, Desert Clicker Grasshopper
Day and night our creosote bushes seem to emit little clicking noises. A small grasshopper with a lot of attitude is producing them by rubbing his hind tibia against its abdomen. The sounds seem to be territorial markers as the males do not appear to be randomly distributed over the desert but to keep strict distances from each others calling perches.

 Cylindera lemniscata, White-striped Tiger Beetle
Diminutive Tiger Beetles are running along the wall catching his small prey close to the black light. They seem to come out only during the warmest time of the summer, maybe they need the heat to keep up their high activity level and speed.

Hogna carolinensis, Carolina Wolf Spider
Speaking of speed, the records at my wall are certainly held by spiders and relatives. Running Crab spiders, the depicted huge Wolf Spiders and a number of Windscorpions (Solifugae) are taking advantage of my nightly bug parties under UV light.

Anomala arida
Defenseless soft Anomala scarabs and moths are the favorite prey of the predators. 

Epicauta tenella, Blister Beetle

 Blister beetles are better left alone. Their hemolymph (circulatory fluid)  contains toxic cantharidine and the beetles react by 'reflex bleeding' to attacks and inadvertent squeezing. I very carefully keep them out of my shirt collar and so far never developed any blisters.

Dermestes marmoratus
Here is another one that I carefully stay away from. I believe that I can actually smell his dietary preferences from a distance of several meters, probably because I have seen whole aggregations of these guys feeding on cow carcasses. Forensic labs use larvae of this species to quickly and thoroughly clean skeletons.

Female Eretes sticticus, Predatory Diving Beetle
We are living in a very dry part of the Sonoran Desert. But even so, Some water beetles show up regularly at my lights, and curiously, this was the case even before our neighbor installed their cattle tanks. So there's either water around that I don't know about or these guys can fly very far.

Ooops, ....and then there were eight... I don't think you would have noticed :)


  1. Great photos! The spider looks a little terrifying if you don't mind me saying so - and I say this from Australia where we have similar types! An introduced Gecko has overtaken the "little house predator" niche that our spiders used to occupy though, so a Huntsman (as we call Crab Spiders) is an uncommon sight indoors these days.

  2. That White Striped Tiger Beetle looks like a beautiful iridescent semi-precious stone and, gorgeous though your wolf spider is, a slight feeling of panic is rising in my stomach. The word 'huge' didn't help matters!