The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

It’s pretty as long as it’s not biting me

I have to admit: this Deer Fly (more commonly known as a Get The @#$% Away From Me You @#$% Fly) was pretty.  It was feeding on the nectar of these tiny Spirea blossoms (I’m pretty sure I could spend all day hanging around this one bush and find a gazillion different species).  With its patterned wings, face dusted in yellow pollen, and rainbow-hued compound eyes, it was a pleasure to watch.

Chrysops sp. (Tabanidae)

Equally lovely, this little face peeking out from between the blooms was incredibly well camouflaged:

Misumenops celer - Celer crab spider (Thomisidae)

I only noticed it after it shifted a little when my finger (which was poking a mosquito carcass) got too close for comfort.  During my various ew-yucky-spider rants, I fear I neglected to include Crab Spiders on my (short) list of Spiders That Are Not Gross and Creepy.  I think it’s their calm, patient demeanor and beautiful cryptic coloration that I admire and appreciate.

8 responses to “It’s pretty as long as it’s not biting me

  1. Ted C. MacRae May 7, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    Great eyes on the Chrysops fly – think I’ll try to get some eye shots of one of those guys with the 65mm lens this summer.

  2. dragonflywoman May 7, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    I love the tabanid photo! The eyes and the pollen together are gorgeous. Nice… I am also glad to know you have a list of Spiders That Are Not Gross and Creepy! I’ll have to track your list down and compare it to my own. 🙂

    • TGIQ May 7, 2010 at 4:46 PM

      The pollen actually caught my attention more than its eyes…it was so striking against the otherwise black body.

      As for the list, its very short:

      1. Jumping Spiders
      2. Tarantulas
      and now,
      3. Crab Spiders

      Long-jawed orb weavers might be allowed on it too, but they make webs that are Gross and Stick On Me And Might Contain A Very Large Spider That Will Wind Up On My Face, so it’s iffy.

      Any spider can be on the list on a TEMPORARY basis, as long as it a) did not sneak up on me and b) is not on my person and c) can be safely admired from a distance of at least 1 foot. Except wolf spiders. They are forever blacklisted as Gross and Creepy. Blech.

      • Ted C. MacRae May 8, 2010 at 9:44 AM

        One time my older daughter (then ~8) and I came downstairs to find the biggest wolf spider I’ve ever seen sprawled out in the middle of the kitchen floor. A saucer-sized spider just sitting there – my daughter was terrified, amazed, and entertained all at the same time. We clamped a plastic container over it, slide a sheet of paper under it, and let it go outside. She doesn’t particularly care for bugs and stuff now but still talks about that experience 6 years ago with glee!

        • TGIQ May 10, 2010 at 9:02 AM

          I’m pretty sure I would have shrieked and fetched either a dog or my wife to dispatch of it as I quivered in fear from the safety of a chair, screaming “OH MY GOD LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT THING, GET IT!!!” *hangs head in shame*

  3. RamblingWoods May 9, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    I am getting over my fear of spiders slowly….Those deerflies really hurt when they bite….

    • TGIQ May 10, 2010 at 9:03 AM

      I figure three families is a good start 🙂 And yeah, the deer flies can be really brutal…they destroy my poor German Shepherd’s ears when we’re in the bush. I wish there was something safe (i.e. non-Deet-ey) I could put on her.

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