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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wild America

Neither my husband nor I are native Texans. I'm originally from England, although I've officially lived in the US for more than half my life now.  My husband is a more recent transplant from San Francisco.

One thing that never ceases to amaze us about Texas is the wide variety of wildlife here. Specifically insects. I don't remember being particularly intrigued by bugs as I was growing up in England, except for having a loathing of spiders.

Perhaps its because the insects we see here in Texas are so much more diverse and interesting that I find myself fascinated by them.

Take the walking stick in the photo below.  I found this critter on the wall of our patio last August. Obviously it was some sort of stick insect, but I'd never seen one before so I did some research on and I'm pretty sure it was a Southern Two-striped Walkingstick  (Anisomorpha  buprestoides). Even though it didn't have actual stripes, nor did the specimens I found photos of online.

 I'm not sure why, but I decided this was male. I guess just from the size.  I should have known better...

A few days later I found this pair on the side wall of the house.  That's when I realized the walking stick on the patio had been a female.  And she had found a boyfriend!

Anyway, time went on and I didn't see either of them again. But this weekend as I was weed-eating (is that a valid verb?) along the fence, I happened to see movement a few paces ahead of where I was.  I stopped and looked down because quite often I get frogs frantically trying to hop out of the way of the weed eater. But what I saw wasn't a frog.  It was a stick insect, climbing from a blade of grass to the fence.

As I looked closer, I noticed something odd...

... Aren't they supposed to have six legs?  

I think I can say with certainty that I did not do this with my weed eater. I can see how it might be possible to slice it in two, but to remove two legs on one side and one on the other? No, I don't think so.

So I have no idea what happened to her. It didn't seem to be bothering her though, so after a quick photo op, I just took her round to the wild side of the fence (we have vacant lots on either side of us) and set her down to go on her way. 

Gotta love it - our own little corner of Wild America.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Kyna said...

Well, that's weird. I wonder how that happened?

I know you didn't do that, but I accidentally injure things all the time :( Usually it's a little lizard or a toad that's burrowed in my garden, and it gets in the path of my trowel. Chuck accidentally weed-whacked a frog once, he felt bad too lol

Anyway, walking sticks sure are interesting creatures! I don't know if we have those here...

meemsnyc said...

Wow, those are cool looking bugs!

Lancashire rose said...

Glad you saved her. Yes, all the wonders of the garden. I thought she looked pregnant even before she mated. A huge female with diminutive male, locked in embrace, on our gate. I measured her at over 8" They were there for hours. Then he was gone and she moved on too. Must post on this sometime. She was a lot thinner than yours but had the long antenna just the same.

Kathleen Scott said...

Cool post! I like walking sticks but always wonder which of my plants they're eating. My little Valentine rose bush has NOT ONE leaf on it right now...