Sunday, October 11, 2009

Firefly Larvae are alive and doing well in Eastern Ontario

Last night I went to the garden to pull some fresh carrots and spotted the bio luminescent glow of this insect which until now, I always thought was a glowworm. I first found this insect here in 2004 and each fall thereafter. One fall they were so abundant and literally everywhere even throughout the forest. They were spread out no more than a metre (3 feet) apart.

I first thought that this was a glowworm but I bought a new book on Insects titled Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America ISBN-10:0-618-15310-1 and it clearly identifies this glowing insect as the larva of a firefly[Genus Photuris for sure and probably photuris pennsylvanica.] This makes total sense because we experience many fireflies in our fields in the evenings and all summer long it seems. The typical glowworm on the other hand has a real worm-like appearance. It is typically long and cylindrical and not at all like this insect.

Firefly larvae prey on snails which is a good thing. We have no shortage of them either.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Giant Water Bug

Arriving home this afternoon I noticed on the driveway near the back steps a Giant Water Bug [Lethocerus americanus]. It probably flew in since it ended up on its back - turned turtle - and was attempting to turn itself over while flailing away.

By the time I got back out it had righted itself and found itself a small puddle to rest in. This is the state that it was in when I took these photos. 20 minutes later he was gone and must have flown away. About 10 years ago we found the same bug on our drivway in the suburbs where we lived, in the west end of Ottawa. At that time we were much less well prepared, or interested, to identify it without the bug books I have now and the quality of internet resources.

This beetle will attack and prey on small fish, frogs and snakes as well as other bugs, and it will bite a person if irritated.