I saw this gal on a trash can in Chicago. Praying mantis is the only insect that can move its’ head from side to side. They eat other insects and could be called “preying” mantis. This is a female which has a large body but no large antennae. The female cannabalizes the male after mating…. Read more »
I found a large cocoon lying on the ground which I later identified as a luna moth cocoon. I kept it for a few months but nothing hatched. I opened it with scissors. The cocoon was made of fibers/silk. Inside was a pupae that had died.
I have not seen a terrestrial (land) snail since I was a kid. We used to call them wood snails. I picked up a board off the ground at my daughter’s home in Arkansas and discovered a Yellow Globelet Snail (Mesodon clausus) on the underside of the wood. The snail was crawling on the board…. Read more »
I saw these mushrooms growing on a dead tree while walking the dog. They are called Dryad’s saddle or pheasant back mushrooms. They are edible. Here are two links to videos: Foraging for Dryad’s Saddle/Pheasant Back Mushroom How to cook Pheasant backs & Ramps (Dryads Saddle & Wild leeks)
A live oak is a species of oak that keeps it’s leaves during the winter months. The live oak pictured is the famous Candler Oak in Savannah, Georgia which was planted in the 1700s.
This mushroom was growing on a dead tree in my daughter’s yard. The scientific name is Sarcodontia crocea. Sarco means “flesh.” dontia means “teeth.” crocea means “yellow.”
I found this mushroom while walking the dog. It was growing where there had previously been a tree stump and looked like a pepperoni pizza. The scientific name of this mushroom is Ganoderma sessile. Ganoderma means “shining skin.” The Ganoderma family are edible. Other Ganoderma species called “reishi” mushrooms are said to have healing properties… Read more »
As I was recently driving north on Highway 65 in northern Missouri, I saw numerous hedge ball trees full of the strange yellow fruit. My grandmother used to put hedge balls in her basement to get rid of crickets and spiders. The weird fruits are also known as Osage oranges, hedge apples, and monkey brains…. Read more »
I saw this wolf spider in the driveway, carrying her egg sac to protect her spider babies until they hatch. After the eggs hatch, she will carry the baby spiders on her back until they can fend for themselves. There is a nice blogpost about wolf spiders at https://animals.howstuffworks.com/arachnids/dont-be-afraid-big-bad-wolf-spider.htm
Mushrooms fascinate me. I found these odd fellows growing in my flower beds. These are called stinkworts, and they do stink. When I dig in the wood mulch, I find white strings which are fungus mycelia. There is a more technical discussion of “fun guys” in garden mulch here.