Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How to find giant insects:

Week-long time, not many posts.  We are still here!  It is just summertime with a lot going on, so here we go again...

So, here are some advice on how to find giant insects based on recent experiences in New Jersey.

Option 1. You paint a room and leave a window open without having a screen in it to keep the insects out.  A giant buzz follows and the largest blackest wasp you have ever seen will soon enter.

giant, giant black fly - what species?
I ran out of the room (wasp allergy...), and PP came up to take a look at it, and we killed it with the hornet spray (sorry, but I just can't have wasps in the house). Looking closer, it turns out it was no wasp, it had only two wings.  It was a fly!  A fly that was nearly 7 cm between its wingtips and nearly 4 cm long from head to butt. Incredible.  That was pinned for the collection of course.

Option 2.  You take a walk on a road on a summer morning, early (say 7 AM), and keep looking down.  That is how I found these two insects, also giant and gorgeous.

click beetle, Alaus oculatis

This 'double-eyed click beetle' ('knäppare' in Swedish, Alaus oculatis) I found was about 4 cm long, and was laying dead on the road. First it just looked like a piece of asphalt with white eyes painted on it, but I doubt that was evolutionary mimicry...  I wonder how high this beetle can jump when it clicks on its back... 10 cm?  It must be more than the small click beetles at least.

Imperial moth, Eacles imperialis
And then this.  A fuzzy large yellow moth. It might have been killed by a car, or a bird.  The body was damaged, but all the parts where still there, except one missing antennae.  A quick google search for 'big yellow moth' made it clear that this is a male Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis), a species I have never seen before.

Imperial moth, Eacles imperialis
The moth got pinned and mounted in a Swedish 'spännbräda' with waxpaper over its wings to dry its forms and shapes in proper arrangement for an insect collection, of course.  Insects are really gorgeous and incredible.  I highly recommend the book Extreme Insects for more of the biggest and most amazing 6-legged creatures.


LS said...

The big fly has been identified by entomologists on Flickr:

It is a Mydas tibialis. Now, the next question is 'what is Mydas?". What does it eat, live on, survive? Is it a horse fly?

It is called the "golden legged mydas fly", and is endangered in Indiana (thanks Google).

EH said...

Fantastic insects, LS! I especially like the two-eyed bug!

The Mydas fly was great to see. Please tell us more when you have found out if it´s a horsefly or a flower fly.