Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

 

Lubber small

When driving through rural areas in Florida it is not unusual to have these huge grasshoppers flailing themselves at your car in large numbers.  I imagine for some people seeing this for the first time they might find it sort of creepy.  Romalea microptera, common name Lubber is a large grasshopper found throughout Florida and the southeastern United states.  Known for it’s size and color (about 3″).  Though the Lubber has small wings, it does not exactly fly but jumps rather clumsily (thus the name Lubber).  These grasshoppers can be very damaging to crops and ornamentals.

For more information on the Romalea microptera:   http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/lubber.htm

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

A single Monarch butterfly goes through 4 stages in it’s lifecycle; 1- egg  2- larva/caterpillar  3- chrysalis/pupa and  4- butterfly.   The other lifecycle that Monarchs go through is that of their fascinating and somewhat mysterious migration involving 4 generations.  Stick with me while I attempt to explain this in the briefest and most simple terms.

Monarch butterfly Gen. 1 begins his life in Mexico where he starts the migration north.  On the way he mates and procreates.  His offspring, Gen. 2 continue the migration north, mate and procreate.  Gen. 3 flies northward, mates, procreates.  Finally we have Gen. 4!  This fourth generation Monarch reaches southern Canada around August where he feeds off of the Milkweed plant and does not procreate in order to build up energy.  Gen. 4 now begins southward, making the 2 month journey back to Mexico to the very same trees which his great, great grandfather (Gen. 1) emerged and began the process four generations and one year earlier.  It’s still a mystery as to how this fourth generation Monarch knows where to go to complete this four generation lifecycle.

July 22nd (12)July 22nd (9)July 22nd (10)

 

 

Digger Wasp

Chlorion lobatum

This is a type of Digger wasp.  Digger wasp females typically capture their prey – in her case crickets – and paralyzes it. She then buries the prey in the prepared nest but not before laying a single egg on it.  The emerging larva will feed on the live paralyzed prey, eventually killing it. Latin name, Chlorion lobatum is a very brightly colored metallic green with antennae that curl at the ends.

Painted in watercolor on Bristol paper

Rainbow Scarab Beetle

Phaneus vindex small

This colorful lil Rainbow Scarab is a Dung Beetle. Latin name Phaneus vindex.  I’ve been fortunate enough to witness these guys in action on numerous occasions. I’ll never forget the first time I saw one. I was outside in North Florida with my dog, who ah, welll. . . had just created a small dung pile.  Within minutes I heard a loud buzzing (like a very loud bee).  I looked, and to my surprise I saw this shiny, huge beetle buzz right by us and land on the dung pile.  She was so vibrant and shiny green that I just had to watch as this beautiful beetle effortlessly pulled that log of dung down under the soil within seconds, leaving only what looked like an ant hill.  I later learned that she lays her eggs on the excrement where the larva eventually will feed on it until they eclose (hatch) into a full size beetle.  Cool eh!?

Painted with Liquitex acrylics, detailed with Prismacolor colored pencils

 

 

An Exotic Long-Armed Scarab Beetle (Euchirus longimanus)

Euchirus longimanus (small)

One might notice that among the insects I paint I clearly favor the beetle (order – coleoptera).  It’s actually a pretty common favoritism among entomologists and insect enthusiasts.  A famous biologist/naturalist, JBS Haldane once surmised that the Creator must be inordinately fond of beetles.  That said, I offer you a few tidbits about the beetle: The earth is home to easily 350,000+ different species of beetle.  Beetles are a diverse group of insects and inhabit nearly every ecological niche on the planet.  Most can fly and typically have four wings.  The outer two wings are hardened (elytra) and serve as a body cover to protect the flying wings and the abdomen. Beetles begin their life as an egg which hatch into a larvae or grub that goes through a metamorphosis which turns this worm-like creature into an adult with six legs and four wings.  New species are still being discovered regularly.
Exotic beetles are such a fascination in Europe and Japan that they are collected much like coins or stamps. Some enthusiasts often breed them.

This Euchirus longimanus  painting was created using Liquitex acrylic paints, and Prismacolor pencils.

Euchirinae subfamily of the Scarabs is found from Turkey to the Himalayas through much of Indonesia. This subfamily is characterized by the males having very long front legs with a few spines and is from Indonesia.  The females have normal length front legs.