Friday, April 4, 2008

Friday cat blogging / bug blogging

Last night around nine thirty, Hodag began acting strangely. He began making a lot of plaintive Hodag noises (which had to mean something since he is normally not a meower) and running up and down the hallway. When Colin went to investigate he reported that the cat had caught a grasshopper and was chasing it around the hallway and stairwell. Hodag had apparently been trying to let us know that he had caught a bug for us. He played with the grasshopper for an hour or so before it died.

Hodag, mid pounce.

I have defeated the evil grasshopper!

Grasshopper, with paw for size comparison.

Then this morning as I was entering the Tropical Medicine building at school I saw a really cool looking bug on the glass of the revolving doors. I stared at it for a minute because it it was bright fire engine red and had iridescent blue spots on it. It was just about the coolest looking bug I had ever seen. I tried to take a photo of it, but seeing as how it was on a shiny glass door and all, I quickly gave up. Instead I decided to capture it and bring it over to the entomology lab in the building next door for identification. So, I grabbed a waxed cardboard soup container and lid from the cafe next to the entrance and carefully herded the insect into the container. I took the soup container over to the Entomology lab and there I was told we could freeze it to death and then examine it under a dissecting microscope later. So the container and insect were put in the freezer for the afternoon while I went to classes. After classes I opened back up the container and had a look at my capture. Everyone in the lab agreed that it was a pretty awesome looking bug (which made me feel less stupid for busting in on them with a soup container) and eventually my Entomology professor identified it as a "clear-wing" or "picture-wing" moth. Specifically I had caught a Scarlet bodied wasp moth, or Cosmosoma myrodora (I have also seen it identified at Cosmosoma auge). The larva feeds on hemp weed and the adult is a nectar feeder, none of which explains what it was doing on a revolving door in downtown New Orleans. When we learn how to pin specimens next week in Advanced Entomology, I am going to try my hand on this one.

Abortive photographic attempt of the cool bug.

A better image from an online source of the mystery bug.

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Blogger Benjamin said...

There's something about that bug story that sounds like the beginning of a '50s monster movie. "Hey, I found this weird bug; let's take it to the entomology department to figure out what it is!" Neat.

April 5, 2008 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger nana said...

yup thats my family- busting into bug labs since 1962

April 14, 2008 at 9:40 AM  

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