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Ick, weird but wonderful, in their own way.

One of the benefits and/or curses of being surrounded by 500 acres of woods, water and wildlife is that sooner or later you come into contact with things that you haven’t seen before. In my case, most of these things have multiple legs. Yes, I am talking about bugs.

A few years ago, I despised bugs. Generally, I still do. They are small critters that can get into the museum and chew up objects or poop on them, thus causing lots of damage. The sight of a particular one of these tiny pests can make one coworker decide to stand in her chair and scream for help. (No kidding…it’s happened twice now) Bugs are the reason I have to do twice-monthly forced marches through all the areas of the museum with a pest control technician who diligently sprays all the doorways and windows to keep them out. And I have never said, and probably never will say, “I love the smell of pesticides in the morning.” We manage to keep most of the pests outside where they belong but just in case, I subscribe to a list serve site where museum people from all over the world compare notes and share bug identifications and I have at 5 different insect identification websites in my “favorites” list. All for the cause—to keep the visitors, other staff members and the collection safe and happy and free from the sight and close proximity of multi-legged thingies.

But at some point during the last 10 years, I found myself running around with a camera and taking photos of some of the critters who obediently remained outside where they belong. And an odd thing happened…I began seeing some of the most beautiful and strangest things ever. I found that even though I still despise bugs (generally), I enjoy the challenge of identifying the ones I haven’t seen before.

So, for this post, I offer a few photos of the weird and the beautiful sights I have captured with my camera. And whether or not you despise the infernal pests, I hope you can appreciate their beauty and/or strangeness too. Click on the photos for a closer look.

Male Luna Moth. Luna moths have a short lifespan. They are really big–about the size of your hand.
Wheel Bug. Check out the gear-looking hump on his back. This is a predatory bug–they eat other insects, so he is a hero in my book.
Dark Spotted Palthis Moth. This guy is tiny and it was a real challenge to get a good photo.

This is a Shovel Headed Garden Worm. They can grow several feet long and they eat earthworms. Not a favorite of earthworm farmers who raise worms to sell to bait shops. Just like regular worms, we usually see them after a hard rain.

Puss Caterpillars. They look cute and cuddly but they carry venom. Kinda prehistoric looking, don’t you think?
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