Saturday, July 21, 2012

Alien Bugs

Black Witch Moth(This one is for you Ragged Robin:)
Here's a collection of interesting bugs I've found around Southern Arizona. The above was a great find.  This moth is found mostly in Mexico but it does make it's way up into Southern Arizona and what a find!!!  The name alone is fun:) It is considered a harbinger of death in Mexican and Caribbean folklore.  Glad I didn't touch it:)
And while the monsoon brings on the rain, you'll see many many beetles flying around our parts.  Some I like.  Some I don't.
Blue Mud Dauber Wasp
But this Blue Mud Dauber is something.  Here's why you don't squash this one.  The blue mud dauber is a metallic blue species of mud dauber wasp that preys primarily on black widow spiders. It does not build a nest, but uses nests abandoned by other mud dauber wasps. Like other mud daubers, it is rarely aggressive. Blue mud dauber wasps are generally considered beneficial, because they help to regulate the population of black widow spiders.
Giant Mesquite Bug
When I first met this bug, I thought, "Is that real?"  And yes.  Yes it is. They are harmless and don't bite.  And you can hold them in your hand.
Palo Verde Beetle
And this one.  This is the grand daddy of them all.  I'll tell you a short story for this GIANT bug.  This one looks like a cockroach, but it's not.  Here's one for the books.  I first discovered this alien bug while moving here in '96.  It was during monsoon and the thing flew into our apartment window.  I had thought it was a bird at first.  I opened the door and it got into our place.  I began to scream because I had never seen a beetle that big.  I would NOT put this guy in your hand at all.  They don't bite, but they do click and could pinch your skin.  But that's not my story:)  One of my friends came to visit from the Midwest during the summer.  They drove with their windows down probably listening to the Macarena.  It was evening time when these bugs like to come out and of course one flew into my friend's car.  Let's just say that a car crash almost happened from all the screaming and swirving on the road from this Giant Bug.  It was on Speedway and the monsoon storms were getting started:)  Thankfully no one was hurt and a hilarious memory still surfaces today in conversations:)  "Do you remember that time when that alien bug entered your car?" Evil laughs follow. And you should have heard her describe this beast.  It was the funniest thing ever. If you have friends in Arizona, ask them about the Palo Verde beetle and see what their reactions are:)  I've come across so many people with great stories of their first encounter because it's rather traumatic:) 
Figeater Beetle
Horse Lubber Grasshopper
This actor played Johnny Rico from the movie Starship Troopers which was a violent movie about humans fighting alien bugs. One of his lines was, "I'm from Buenos Aires, and I say kill 'em all!" His very American accent wasn't quite convincing to play someone from Argentina so I'm not sure his words should be taken seriously:) Everything has a purpose. More tomorrow.....
Cicada-when they emerge from their exoskeleton, you'd swear there was an alien in the garden somewhere

 Carpenter Bees(above).  They seem scary, but they're not:)


  1. bugs!! yay!! i love bugs...your pictures are great and the story of the 'hitch hiker' beetle is hysterical, although NOT at the time. (similar has happened to me...but with bees.)
    i love the name and markings of the Black Witch moth!! the mesquite bug is a pretty one, almost looks velvety. your shot of the flying...beetle?? with wings that look like a dragonfly or great...with the blurred out background. cicadas, one of my favorites!

    ((i have so much catching up to do...yikes, how quickly we can fall behind!!)) have a great weekend! stay cool!

  2. Yes indeed, everything has a purpose.....don't kill any of them is my motto, they are all valuable and fascinating too in my opinion. That moth is enormous!!! The Blue Mud Dauber Wasp is an amazing colour and I like the Figeater Beetle too.

    I have a friend who has a severe wasp and bee phobia and she has never learnt to drive because she is terrified that she would cause an accident if either flew into the car when she was driving!

    Lovely photos Chris, the last two are so pretty.

  3. Great pictures! I love the second shot of the bug with it's wings open and lit from above. It looks like it's hang gliding :) When you see the variety, colour and what appears to be armor of these insects, you have to wonder about the bigger picture... What were they really designed for?

  4. i got to see a black witch here 2 summers ago! flew into the barn and i thought it was a bat! ran and grabbed my camera and took a few shots. as big as my hand! i was thrilled to see it!

  5. What a gorgeous mud dauber! My neighbor, when we were kids (a male child)...used to tie string around the cicadas head joint and we used to fly them around the neighborhood on string leashes, so to speak!!! He was a fun guy!!! LOL.

  6. Wow!!! Oh thanks Chris :) What a superb looking moth and such a great name too. Thanks so much for posting.

    Fascinating post too - I like the Blue Mud Dauber! I didn't realise (or I had forgotten) that you got Black Widow Spiders where you are:(

    Love the story of your friends when the huge bug flew in the car - sounds like the sort of thing my son does if he's in my car and sees so much as a money spider!

    On a different note entirely - so sorry to hear the dreadful news of the shootings in America.

  7. OH!!I hate bugs and alien ones even worse. :-) I probably would have wrecked the car.

  8. I saw some pretty large bugs when I was in sounthern France recently but luckily no bug in car incidents. That blue wasp is really interesting.

  9. So funny that you posted bugs. Last night Mike and I saw the BIGGEST beetle ever, even bigger than the Verde. Now I know I'll have to post it.

  10. This was fun... I always have fun here. Love the wings on the Cicada.

  11. One advantage of our desert over your' palo verde beetles! (but just about everything else) Great pics...somehow, no black witch moths this past late spring. First time I saw one, I thought it was a bird...the size of a bat, but more graceful. It came in lowwww...

  12. I am not a lover of bugs but I enjoyed seeing and learning something new about these.

  13. Those are some amazing looking insects! Love the color of the wasp.

  14. I do like seeing all these bugs...but the thought of a giant bug kinda freaks me out. :))

  15. The Macarena! Really? :-)

    There was some sort of white grasshopper floating in our pool all day Friday. When I got in Friday afternoon I went to scoop it out and it was alive. It jumped back in. Scooped it out again. Jumped back in. Stupid grasshopper. Finally the third time I scooped it out it flew off to the nearest pygmy palm.

  16. This year we have had mud daubers in our house. Usually one a week. The cats always find them first. I think they were coming from our chimney. Carpenter bees are very cool. I often find them "sleeping' on plants in the evenings.

  17. I failed to comment here earlier, but i love the variety of colors with your insects. We have some similar shapes and colors here although i don't know their names. I love most that green beetle though. But we have a more scary version of that Palo Verde Beetle, i am actually scared of them too. Have you seen the rhinoceros beetle?

  18. Bugs, bugs everywhere! I hate (sorry, such a strong word) those Palo Verde beetles!


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