Big orange neuropteran(?) Seattle
Location: Seattle (Woodinville)
April 26, 2011 12:27 am
The kids spotted this
”Squee! Can it hurt us?”
”I don’t think so: no sting, and it looks like chewing mandibles”
”Ooo, it can FLY”
”I wanna hold it”
Well, it was outside, on an unusually non-rainy and warm spring day (4/24/11) here in a rural suburb of Seattle, at our new house, where there are a lot of creeks and swampy ground. We found our first-ever salamander the same day. The critter likes syrup, can fly, and is unusually …charismatic… for the area. Since there are all sorts of worries about invasives here like Asian Longhorn Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer, I thought it best to ask before letting it go. Unfortunately, I had no film for the camera with the macro lens, so I took these with a cheap little cameera while holding a magnifier in front of it.
I know you’re on vacation, but I hope you can take a look when you get back….
What a marvelous story. This beauty is a Giant Stonefly or Salmonfly. See BugGuide for more information.
Yep: Just after I posted the picture on my facebook, my college daughter (who had been with me and her sisters when we found it) popped-in with:
“Hey I searched online! it looks like a skwala stonefly, also known as the american springfly. the nymphs are aquatic, and they make good fishing bait apparently. and only the females have wings. http://flyfishingtraditions.blogspot.com/2010/01/bugs-yuba-skwala-stone.html
“I figured there weren’t that many large insects in washington with wings and orange bits. google images for the species, then searched that for an informative website. haha
So it’s apparently Skwala americana, and she’s quite a genius.
Actually, we’ve always been a critter family: One of the attractions of this new place was the peculiar superabundance of garter snakes for the kids to play with (makes for smelly laundary though). I regularly make mud for the daubers when it’s dry, and keep Polistes as pets (ask me about it sometime); the girls like to feed them, and bumbles, beetles, butterflies and whatever else will take it, with sugar-on-the-finger. Makes for good memories and pictures. I was surprized the stonefly so avidly took sugar syrup; I always thought the adults of such things were ephemeral, non-feeding.
I have quite a few pictures, and many more stories, about my childhood, adulthood, and THEIR childhood adventures with insects and other wildlife; I should write a book.
BTW, I appreciate your site: it’s a useful service, of more value than you realize. Scientists everywhere (and you do indeed qualify) need to do public outreach. Here is a discussion on the topic by a prominent and controversial scientist, famous for his obstreperousness: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/04/my_cunning_plan_has_worked.php#comments
Thanks for the followup and kind compliment George.