Tagging Monarch Butterflies Helps Track Their Migration

tigist-monarch

By Kevin Fitzgerald Every autumn, the Migration Festival takes place at Lighthouse Point on the seacoast of Connecticut near New Haven. It’s a celebration of flying creatures: birds, butterflies, and dragonflies. This event is a cooperative effort sponsored by the New Haven Parks, Recreation, and Tree Department; New Haven Bird Club; Audubon Connecticut; Menunkatuck Audubon […]

Tsetse Flies Are Strange and Dangerous Insects

glossina-morsitans

By Kevin Fitzgerald Tsetse flies are the scourge of Central Africa. The flies are vectors for the disease nagana, also known as African animal trypanosomiasis (AAT), in wild and domestic animals, and a similar disease among humans that is known as sleeping sickness, or human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). The agents of the diseases are trypanosomes, […]

Burying Beetles Are Part of Nature’s Clean-up Crew

Nicrophorus-tomentosus

By Kevin Fitzgerald Certain species of insects, along with species of vertebrate scavengers, fungi, and bacteria, are members of nature’s clean-up crew. These entities break down organic matter from complexity to simplicity, converting it into nutrients for plants, thus completing a cycle of life, death, and decay. Ways of reducing dead matter in nature vary, […]

How Do Cicadas Know When to Emerge from the Ground?

cicada-chris-simon

By Kevin Fitzgerald If you’ve never seen a cicada, you’ve certainly heard them, filling summer days and nights with their loud, raspy love songs. If you’ve seen any, you’re not likely to forget, since they are impressive insects. In the U.S., they grow up to 1.5 inches long, with wingspans of up to two inches. […]

Vampire Moths Suck the Blood of Vertebrates, Including Humans

Calyptra-thalictri

By Kevin Fitzgerald Vampirism — piercing or cutting animal skin to suck or lap up blood — is known throughout the animal kingdom. Mosquitoes come to mind, plus ticks, mites, vampire bats, and the vampire finch of the Galapagos Islands. But … vampire moths? Yes indeed, there are moths that feed on the blood of […]

Stink Bugs’ Tree Host Preferences May Provide Management Clues

Halyomorpha-halys

By Kevin Fitzgerald Since its discovery in Pennsylvania in 1998, the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), an invasive species native to eastern Asia, has swept into most U.S. states, parts of Canada, and several European countries. The creature feasts on a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, soybeans, and ornamental plants. New research published in […]

Two New Creeping Water Bug Species Found in Belize and Peru

Ambrysus-cayo-kevin-wp

By Kevin Fitzgerald Two new insect species have been added to the 900,000+ species that have previously been described: Ambrysus cayo, which was found in streams in western Belize, and Procryphocricos pilcopata, which was found in streams in southeastern Peru. Both are true bugs in the suborder Heteroptera in the family Naucoridae and the subfamily […]

Predatory Wasps and Citizen Scientists are Taking on the Emerald Ash Borer

Cerceris-fumipennis

By Kevin Fitzgerald The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is a pest species that has killed tens of millions of ash trees and has the potential to kill most of the 8.7 billion ash trees in North America. The beetle, native to Asia, was accidentally introduced to the U.S. in 2002 in Michigan. Since then, […]