Insects and the photographing of them have been one of my simple pleasures. There is a whole different world that we don’t always see; actually there are many small, tiny and microscopic worlds that we don’t see. But there is life in them all. From the tiniest microbes to the garden spider they each have their own little worlds in which they exist; forage for food; defend themselves and their homes and their young; mate, grow and die. Most of those lives are hidden from our view.
I love my fellow world inhabitants. I don’t like to kill bugs unless they threaten me or my family’s well being. When one of them invades my home, I try to capture and release the critters when I am able. After all they just got lost and need an escort out to their freedom. I often catch flying bugs, spiders, wasps, crickets and the like, under a big plastic cup. I slide a piece of cardboard gently under the cup, capturing them with as little trauma as possible. Then I carefully release them back into their natural habitat.
Mosquitoes, biting or poisonous bugs who are in my home are invaders and may cause potential problems. They get as quick and painless a death as I can give them. After all they are only doing “what comes naturally” and can not help themselves. But I DO NOT want them in my house!
Insects may bring us so much beauty, grief, irritation, admiration, fear and wonder. But we all love to see butterflies flitting around flowers. They are wonderful mood lifters and often make me smile when I see one. They assist in pollination of various flowering plants thereby helping to balance the ecosystem in their own way.
Then there are the weavers of the insect realm. The spiders who can scare us to death if their web happens to be in our path and we don’t see it. There are also jumping spiders and huge spiders, (which fortunately don’t live near me!)
One particular spider I discovered after living in the same house for 7 years was the spiny orb weaver. I am always observant of bugs and unusual ones especially. But I had never encounterrd one until one strange web appeared in my back yard. The next year there were three webs separated wisely a courteous distance from each other.
The spiny orb weaver looks like a little crab and has a hard shell on its back. The soft body and legs extend out from the shell when spinning its unique web. The web is shaped kind of like a kite or four pointed star with anchor strands coming out from each corner of the kite. The circular web is meticulously strung between the “kite” points. Along the radial arms from the center and down the anchor lines there are tufts of web that look like cotton. After discovering these webs and their inhabitants I was amazed at how many there were around our town. These spiders also come in reds, blues and yellows.
Spiny Orb Weaver
Last but not least of my favorite insects are the dragonflies. Their slender bodies, ethereal sets of wings, varying colors, and darting, hovering and speedy flight patterns make them somewhat of a mystical insect for some cultures. To some they symbolize change and growth to maturity or finding one’s true self. Just a few interesting facts: they can fly at 45 miles per hour, hover, fly backwards, and straight up!
Once I even saw a live, Hercules beetle. My curiosity was piqued and I had to look them up to learn about them. Although I had never seen one before they are more common they I imagined. They live in moist forest floors under logs, leaves and dirt. They have amazing strength for their size. In proportion to their size they can lift 850 times their weight. That would be the equivalent of a human lifting nine adult elephants!
Insects live short lives usually which are full of hatching, eating, growing, mating, laying eggs and dying. I wonder if they think of their lives as short and more precious than we think of ours. But that gives me more reason to try to respect their lives. After all they hide when in danger, so their lives are as important to them as our lives are to us.
What amazing creatures we share our planet with!