Do you like arthropods? Do butterflies cheer you? Are dragonflies delightful? Do you want to know what that cool, metallic-bronze colored beetle is? Perhaps some pest is munching on your marigolds, and you want to learn more about it. Or, maybe spiders send you screaming. (I totally understand!) Would you enjoy reading an entertaining, scientific, yet easy to understand blog about all these topics—and more?
I’d like to introduce you to Eric Eaton, perhaps better known as Bug Eric.
Eric is the author of the Kenn Kaufmann Field Guide to Insects of North America, so you can tell he knows what he’s talking about. He’s an engaging writer. I love reading his posts. And happily for me, he and his wife, Heidi (who is also a fount of bug-related information), live here in town, so I get to directly benefit from his expertise (and patience with non-entomologists). You may remember that Eric and Heidi led June’s “Bugwatching” field trip that I enjoyed so much.
Let me quote a few blogged phrases to whet your appetite:
The alates [termites] I witnessed were issuing from imperceptible cracks in the soil, like toothpaste oozing from the tube.
Two things are immediately apparent about a solifuge [wind scorpion, sun spider] that are cause for alarm. The first is the animal’s sheer speed. They don’t get the name “wind-scorpion” for nothing, as they do “run like the wind,” and on only six of their eight legs. They are more agile than an NFL halfback, too. Attempts to capture them can leave you face down in the sand while at the same instant the solifuge is crossing the county line. I recall chasing a small one around the floor of an outdoor dining hall at a camp in eastern Oregon to the point of dizziness (me; the solifuge was fine).
Jumping spiders in general are very alert, with the best eyesight of any terrestrial invertebrate. They cock their heads (technically the cephalothorax) in the direction of anything that interests them. This curiosity is sometimes interpreted as aggression by the casual human observer, but these are not dangerous spiders. Enjoy their engaging personalities.
Imagine someone who thinks spiders have “engaging personalities”!
Complementing the stories, you’ll find numerous high-quality photos illustrating the creature under discussion (such as the ones used here, taken by Eric and swiped from one of Eric’s posts). The photos inspire me—lately I’ve been giving my macro lens a good workout.
If reading the blog leaves you with a hankering for more, Bug Eric is also an engaging speaker. Last April he presented an program at our Audubon chapter meeting, getting rave reviews from what are normally a bunch of birders. I’d certainly recommend him as a speaker for any nature-related group, or even your HOA. You can see his upcoming schedule on his blog.