Horseshoe crabs are not crabs at all. They are the distant cousins of arachnids such as scorpions and spiders.
What's Bugging You?
Dr. Arthur V. Evans teams up with WCVE Public Radio producer Steve Clark for a weekly feature, “What’s Bugging You?,” which airs during NPR’s Morning Edition. The program takes its name from another of Evans’ books “What’s Bugging You – A Fond Look at the Animals We Love to Hate.”
Tune-in each Tuesday morning at 8:35 a.m. on 88.9 WCVE, Richmond’s Public Radio station.
While sorting through some spring Malaise trap samples from the Bull Run Mountains Natural Area Preserve, Dr. Art Evans came across a single specimen of an unfamiliar beetle about five millimeters in length. After a bit of research, Evans determined the beetle to be Omethes marginatus LeConte in the family Omethidae.
The specimen represents a new species AND family record for Virginia. Omethes marginatus was previously known from Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; additional new state records include Arkansas and Indiana.
Steve Clark and Dr. Art Evans continue their discussion of forensic entomology and how a forensic entomologist cracked an unusual case involving a misplaced millipede and an allegation of child abuse.
Cicada killers, Sphecius speciosus, are large and solitary wasps that are widespread east of the Rocky Mountains and are active from mid July to September. Males emerge first. They stake out and defend territories in anticipation of females that emerge about a week later. Both males and females drink nectar for their own sustenance. Female cicada killers hunt cicadas by sight, sometimes capturing them in flight, and deliver a paralyzing sting. The living cicada is stuffed down a burrow as provisions for the developing cicada killer larva.
The name "mantis" means soothsayer – an attribution relating to it’s typical “prayer-like” stance.
Mantids, with their huge compound eyes mounted on a triangular shaped head, are literally able to look over their shoulder. With a combination of incredibly powerful forelegs, camouflage, and stealth mantids can quickly seize unwitting prey in a vice-like grip and devour it alive.
As with the black widow spider, male mantids occasionally become the unfortunate meal of the female. However, his sacrifice provides much needed protein for the female's egg production.
WCVE Public Radio Producer Steve Clark and Dr. Art Evans discuss the role insects play in Forensic Entomology.
Brood nineteen of the thirteen year (periodical) cicada can be heard around Virginia and won't be seen or heard until 2024. To track their locations or to just learn more, visit magicicada.org.
Periodical cicadas are found only in eastern North America. There are seven species -- four with 13-year life cycles and three with 17-year cycles. The three 17-year species are generally northern in distribution, while the 13-year species are generally southern and midwestern.
Green June Beetles – members of the Scarab family of beetles – are out in vast numbers this time of year. Seen flying low to the ground, the females scan for the ideal grassy place to lay their eggs. Green June Beetles can be found during hot summer days across the eastern United States.
European Hornets, also known as Japanese Hornets, first hitched their way to America in the 1840s. These large hornets can be found throughout the Eastern United States, with their paper nests hidden away in tree holes, under steps or in out buildings.
Dr. Art Evans interviews Jessica Speart the author of several mysteries and a freelance journalist in wildlife enforcement issues. Her latest book is the non-fiction thriller Winged Obsession which exposes a world of greed and smuggling – the illegal and lucrative trade in exotic butterflies.