Friday, June 22, 2012

But how big a bug is it? (This one? BIG.)

My mother recently made a request, along the lines of a suggestion: It would be nice if you indicated how big these things you photograph are... (Actually, she's informed me that she wanted to know how small these things are.)

It was a good idea that in less than two days I had the opportunity to put into practice.

So after I had stripped a few years' growth of multiflora rose (nearly impossible to get rid of non-native that grows like a weed) and Virginia Creeper (native stuff, good for wildlife, blah blah blah, but it grows like a, well, a weed…) from one of my sheds, I  glanced up and noticed an odd shape on the wall. Closer inspection gave me this:

I was doing nasty sweaty yard work and didn't want the cameras outside, but I did have a recently-emptied container to corral the beastie in after its in situ shots. Hopefully it would stay there long enough for me to get some close-ups. Yes, of course it was near the peak of the shed a few feet over my head, and yes, I knocked it down, as gently as I could. It landed safely on a few years' accumulation of mud and mulch, which may have made a better landing than the bucket anyway. (And once it was down, who knew it would play dead so well for so long?)

Top shot while it's pretending to be a bit of bark or something. Yup, that's an inch and a half. Eyed Click Beetles top out at about one and three quarters inches.

Bottom shot, with appendages well tucked. I didn't leave it this way for long, even though this is a typical click beetle capable of "clicking" itself right side up. After reading a recent blog post on Naturespeak about this incredible beastie and thus discovering they are capable of delivering a strong chomp (they eat grubs), I didn't want to pester it longer than I had to.

As it turned out, it was determined to play dead. I finally breathed on it to provoke a response.

Once it decided I wasn't going to eat it, it quickly started to scramble away. I tipped it into a plant pot, where it promptly returned to its defensive rigor and stayed that way longer than I had the patience to wait and see what it would eventually do.

The next day I found the kind of click beetle that I grew up with:

These are comparatively wee things (about as long as my thumb nail is wide) we never thought twice about turning upside down to watch flip upright with that audible little *click*.

I bet that Eyed Click Beetle would have gained some serious altitude and made quite a noise…