Bug of the Day
July 23, 2010 2:15 PM   Subscribe

Flickr user Urtica posts pictures of elusive luna moths, surly bees, gregarious aphids, insect eggs, and of course beetles.
Most of these she finds in her backyard in Framingham, MA. She posts a new Bug picture every single day.
I give you Urtica's Bug of the Day!
posted by vacapinta (22 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Great photos.

I love my Canon Powershot S3 IS (my own bee picture), and know exactly what its like to chase around bugs in a backyard holding one in macro mode hoping to get that shot.

Now she's making me wish I had a backyard again.
posted by Atreides at 2:26 PM on July 23, 2010

Even a bug hater could love these!
posted by francesca too at 2:29 PM on July 23, 2010

I haven't seen a live Luna moth in, probably, 30 years. It was clinging to the outside of my parent's kitchen screen door. Big beautiful thing.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:10 PM on July 23, 2010

I want to come back as a surly bee in my next life. "Stand back you, I'm a surly Bee!" and everyone runs away, because I'm a bee.
posted by jamaro at 3:26 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had a huge one outside my door last week thorzdad, and like you, it was the first one I had seen in many years.

I remember running across a site a few years ago where a guy had built his own steadicam and used it to get macros of bees and other bugs in flight around his garden. Does anyone else remember this. Wonderful photos.

Thanks for the link vacapinta :)
posted by puny human at 3:27 PM on July 23, 2010

Oh, I always wanted to be a bee. So lazy and surly...mind if I buzz angrily next to you?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 3:38 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

I found a cricket type creature on my tomato plants today. It leaped away from me when I tried to kindly remove it. That is my bug of the day, and much better than a Jerusalem cricket or a black widow spider. It's the little things in life.

Love this photography. Looks great against the new Flickr black background, and she's uploading some adequately sized images so you can check out all the buggy little details. Thorougly enjoyable.
posted by saturnine at 4:05 PM on July 23, 2010

This is so great! I love the fact that insects are diverse enough to be able to fuel a bug-a-day feature without even having to leave your own yard. Awesome!
posted by troublewithwolves at 4:17 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Funny this should appear today, since I was visited by a tiny snow-white moth that fell in love with me and wouldn't stop clinging to me for the longest, which reminded me of how standing in that very spot last year I saw a luna moth. Sadly, all I had to photograph her with was the kinda crappy camera on my cell phone, so her last moments (she was clearly at the end of her week-long lifecycle, as she was just kinda sitting immobile on the pavement, though she did spread her wings when I blew on her gently) were captured forever by substandard means.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:28 PM on July 23, 2010

Luna moths live for one day (as moths). That's why you don't see them much. I found one dying on the sidewalk outside my apartment on my way to work about 12 years ago. I built a little shadow-box for it with a plexiglas cover, and it's on my wall right now.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:38 PM on July 23, 2010

This brings back all the wonderment I had for insects as kid. Great website, great quality photos. Thanks for the find.
posted by teSiren at 5:42 PM on July 23, 2010

Yay, Framingham, my home town! I wonder if I've ever met this Urtica...

A while ago, I tried self-directed immersion/desensitization therapy to combat my fear of bugs, using What's That Bug?, and I got as far as a picture of a hornet dragging away a dead moth before I freaked out and gave up. Maybe Urtica's photos, being prettier, will freak me out less?
posted by lizzicide at 6:12 PM on July 23, 2010

Urtica's day job is at the state Department of Agricultural Resources, where she's the point person on the dreaded Asian Longhorned Beetles.

A year or so ago, I took a course she offered in the Boston Public Garden on how to spot signs of infestation - back when the beetles were only a problem in far distant Worcester. Then, a few weeks ago, they showed up in the middle of Boston.

Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is one of her projects. Also see her guide to Invasive Plants in Massachusetts and her Invasive Species Blog, although she hasn't updated that in awhile (I bet she's been too busy with beetles).
posted by adamg at 7:10 PM on July 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not only did they show up in the middle of Boston, adamg, they showed up directly across the street from Harvard's Arnold Arboretum, thus putting into jeopardy many rare species.
posted by waitingtoderail at 7:17 PM on July 23, 2010

Indeed. But even aside from the Arboretum (which already has a problem with wooly adelgids), that area is one of the most heavily wooded areas in Boston - from Jamaica Pond and Franklin Park to the grand old trees down the VFW Parkway. We live about five blocks outside the quarantine area - my wife was almost in tears when I made the mistake of telling her the only way to deal with an infestation is to cut down all the trees, like the ones in the urban wild behind our house.
posted by adamg at 7:37 PM on July 23, 2010

hey, I thought some of those creatures looked familiar, that yard is only two towns over - I think I have met some of those bugs' family members!

Thanks for this, I love insect macro photos. Just don't jump on me, guys, and stay out of my cellar!
posted by madamjujujive at 9:16 PM on July 23, 2010

Excellent!!! Thank you for this post. Great photos. Great subject.
posted by rmmcclay at 4:30 AM on July 24, 2010

The bright red lily beetle that she has as the set photo is a crazy bug. Devastated my snakes-head fritillaria this year (after they had flowered fortunately). The larva smear themselves with their own poop to deter predators which I am guessing would be a less striking photo. The adults also make a fantastically loud squeak when threatened.
posted by srboisvert at 7:08 AM on July 24, 2010

Oh my god thank you. I am embroiled in an insect-themed trivia league for the next few weeks and this will give me a fun way to study up.
posted by jessamyn at 8:17 AM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I saw my first luna moth just last month while camping in the Adirondacks near Lake Placid. It was beautiful. I ran back to our tent and grabbed the camera for a couple of shots. About 1/2 hour later, we found its mangled wings and are pretty sure one of the jays or crows got it.

Last weekend, we visited our local farm and were fortunate enough to see some long horned bees working the sunflowers. I had only seen pictures of them previously. They are quite striking.

Her pictures are beautiful and make me want to hide my crap cam shots.
posted by onhazier at 4:12 PM on July 24, 2010

Urtica has often been great help for me (and countless others) identifying insects in the ID Please! group, now sadly locked due to a spat between admins. She also administers the invasive species group.
posted by cRamsay at 7:09 PM on July 24, 2010

Thanks for the inspiration!
posted by pkingdesign at 5:49 PM on July 28, 2010

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