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Thursday, June 23, 2011
Small Brown Friends
Ellen and I sure picked the good day to play last week. It has rained all this week. A low pressure is parked over Michigan, and we are WET. With some help from BugGuide.net, I can tell you what these small creatures are.
OK, we'll do the one some of you may not like so much first. This is an unidentified species of Wolf Spider in the genus Arctosa. This one was scrambling around on the Lake Michigan beach.
I was surprised that Bug Guide IDed it as a wolf spider, because I thought they were darker, with stripes, and some are. It's just that this is a different one. Clearly, I need to learn more about what makes a wolf spider: hairy, 8 eyes in a particular arrangement, long legs, note the shape of the cephalothorax and abdomen.
Wolf spiders can bite, but they usually won't unless they are provoked. Bites can be painful, but usually not serious unless someone is allergic.
Next up is someone much more cute. As I'm sure you will also recognize, this looks like a black lady bug, or lady beetle.
Well, it turns out that is basically correct. The real surprise is that this is a Fifteen-spotted Lady Beetle, Anatis labiculata. So, where are the spots, you ask? Unlike humans, who gain spots as they age, this beetle loses its spots. When they are young, they are gray with dark spots. This one is really old, with a solid purple-black case. Aren't the legs cute?
Now I'm just going to have to look for a young one!