Tagging Monarch Butterflies Helps Track Their Migration

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

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

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?

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

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 […]