Deer flies are persistent and their bites are painful. In some places they are important pests of both humans and livestock. Strong fliers, they can move several miles from their breeding grounds in search of a meal or just following their chosen target, waiting for a chance to strike. Males are typically mild-mannered, feeding on pollen and flower nectar; females, however, feed on blood, using two pairs of “blades” to lacerate skin, soaking up flowing blood with a sponge-like tongue.
Some species have iridescent eyes, which almost makes them pretty. After nailing me but good on the arm, this deer fly agreed to sit still and let me take a few close-ups of her eyes. Actually, gripped in the jaws of a pair of pliers, she agreed to nothing, having no choice in the matter.
Look into my eyes…
Having reached the ripe old age of 420 minutes, there’s not much left for these two to do. They don’t even have mouths. If you look closely, though, they do have little moustaches like Salvador Dali.
Click to Enlarge
I’m sure these two will be sharing their wealth of life experience and dispensing advice to this evening’s duns before heading off to procreate and die. Their get-ups are pretty elaborate for a one night stand that will last only a second but at least they’ll go out in style.
You can click this one, too.
There are swamps and bogs and all sorts of wet spots full of mosses and ferns around Fish in a Barrel Pond. Appearing lush and green, these areas are actually highly acidic and lacking in nutrients; very challenging places to live if you are a plant. The plants that thrive here in spite of it all are able to do so because they posess special traits, and some are even able to extract nutrients from insects they capture.
I have seen pitcher plants, deep in the bogs of Maine, and I have seen Venus flytraps in plastic cups on the counter at the local garden center but until last week I had never seen a sundew. Insects are attracted by a sweet scent and become trapped on sticky hairs on the sundew’s leaves. The leaves then slowly curl around the prey, enzymes digest the meal, and the sundew gets what it needs to live, bloom and set seed.
On a recent walk with our consulting foresters, I asked if there might be sundews growing nearby and within ten minutes they found several clusters, growing in the peat. I must admit I somehow expected something a little more carnivorous looking…
but it’s still cool to see something I had never seen before:
Round Leaf Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia)
I took a bunch of pictures yesterday and, as usual, found myself wondering what I would ever do with them. Thanks to Rebecca and her photo prompt at the Outdoor Blogger Network, I have an excuse to post a couple.
I still haven’t figured out how to tie a transparent mayfly imitation but I am pretty sure a lot of the rises I saw last evening were to these guys (and gals). Of course, I only say that because I couldn’t see a darn thing on or in the water, even though I was surrounded by rises.
I did get some enthusiastic refusals of a #18 sulfur spinner, though. It is August, the time of long leaders and tiny flies.
Tight lines, y’all.