Category Archives: insects of mexico

Crawling or Flying

Most things crawl before they fly, if they fly at all.  The wood termites shown in the photo have flown into my pool, chewed their wings off, and are treading water or floating on their cast off wings to get to the side of the pool so they can crawl up to my wooden beams and make a meal of them.  The golden orb spider spins zigzag designs in her web as she crawls to its center.  I haven’t been able to determine why. The orange butterflies were on a lifejacket on a boat on the Amazon.  Attracted by the bright color, they were no doubt disappointed by the taste.  The tiny green moth flew down to my computer screen one night and crawled around a bit before it settled on a nice spot. The hummingbird moth larvae are fascinating in their various mutations before turning into moths. I never have been able to figure out what the crystal shapes are growing out of the one caterpillar. 

Most of my bird watching takes place at the beach, thus the photos of pelicans and gulls. Except for the photo of the walking stick on the cap and the hand-held giant leaf hopper, which were both taken in  the Amazon rainforest, all of the other photos  were taken at my house above Lake Chapala in Mexico.



Go HERE to join the photo prompt and post your photos of crawling or flying.

Web Mavens

I have seen the most unusual spiders since moving to Mexico 15 years ago.  The one little black and white triangular spider, I’ve spotted at least 3 different times in the past 15 years and they always have an uneven number of legs.  Must run in the family as it can’t be possible that the same spider has lived for 15 years.  The Golden Orb Weaver spider is my favorite.  It weaves the most interesting web.  This one remained in this spot where I saw it every day on the way to my car for over a month.

Beeing There

This beach companion was fascinated by my Diet Coke. Pedro says this is proof that they actually do slip sugar into diet drinks here.

(Click once on first picture to enlarge photos, then click on right arrow to advance to next picture.  When finished, click on X at top left of the page to return to this page.)

He ended up submerged, in spite of my best efforts to dissuade him from taking the icy dip. This called for pouring the coke and corpus onto the sand.  In lieu of artificial respiration, I blew on him and from a seemingly comatose state, he came to, crawled away, and in time flew away.  I wonder how many watery graves this fellow has escaped.




Mosquito netting above my head
and tucked securely around my bed.
What person forced to resort to it
hasn’t made  a sport of it
at bedtime, just as they recline,
shut off the lights, and hear the whine
of a mosquito, far then near
directly buzzing in their ear!
Mosquito netting so fine and thin,
both keeps them out and keeps them in.


I knew if I tried hard enough that I could find my picture of the mosquito–netted bed in my treehouse!  Finally found it in my Facebook photos.




What are these leaves doing scattered over the terrace just hours after Pasiano swept?  I decide to investigate.


Aha! The evidence is pretty clear when I find a chewed-up leaf.


Can you see those razor-sharp incisors about to close around this leaf?


More leaf-cutter compadres ascend my hibiscus, scouting out fodder for the hundreds of ants who will trek here in darkness to strip the bush and carry it away.


The team work is so incredible that I hate to interfere, but if I don’t, there will be no foliage surrounding my house by the time I get home in two months.


As above, the “timberjack” ant saws away on yet another leaf,


I scatter pellets.


By tomorrow, all the pellets will be gone, carried away by these bearer ants–and hopefully, the ants will be gone, too.

Hormigas, by the way, is Spanish for Leafcutter Ants. (I didn’t want to give away the answer before the question was asked.) They are fascinating to watch, with their generals and slaves, double machete-weilding lumberjacks dropping pieces of leaves to the bearers below, tinier slave ants carrying many times their own weight, some ESP that causes swarms of ants to appear to help any ant who needs help over an obstacle or out of a hole.  I could watch all day as bush after vine is depleted of leaves and flowers, but then–I’d have no bushes or flowers, so I resort to the little pellets that, carried back to the nest, with luck for me and no luck for the ants, will clear it out.  Cruel nature either way.


Katydid? Just What Did Katy Do?

IMG_6020Two months after my husband’s death in California, I moved to Mexico.  Once there, my days were filled with the completion of my house and the buying of appliances, furniture, and familiarizing myself with the language, processes, mores and customs of Mexico.  Although at first I knew no one in my new country of choice, my life quickly filled with the observation of the strange plants, animals and insects that appeared one by one to claim my wonder.  After 14 years, they still do! This poem was written during my first month in my new house.  As stories do, this story was just repeated in a slightly different version yesterday.  You can find that story HERE, but the poem below is fourteen years old.

Katydid? Just What Did Katy Do?

If you were in a salad or a stir fry, I would have taken you for a pea pod,
crunched you right down with the next forkful.
But instead you stand in bright green relief against the gray trash can lid,
stroking your proboscis with your curious hand shaped like a snake’s tongue.
Your six legs in graduated pairs:  long, longer, longest
bend constantly in 360 degree angles
as each moves in turn to your anemone mouth
which plays each like a piano
trying to stroke music from the keys.
As hand after foot after foot
vanishes into your mouth––
front flap like an apron hanging down––
I wonder if you are perhaps feeding
on nourishment too minuscule for human eyes.

Your broad chest expands and deflates like a bellows.
Praying mantis, grasshopper, leaf-hopper, pea pod––
Whatever it is you most resemble––none have your talent or your wing power.
Your alien protuberant eyes like small yellow beebees.
Now trapped in my jar, you define your glass prison with leg after leg, like a mime.
Colorful strayer from a world of green,
what do you make of this white world of mine?
I have stolen you for a closer look, and for this short hour,
You have enthralled me with your alien looks.
Your mystery.
So much I’ve been told of everything here in this new land strange to me,
each from a different point of view,
that now I feel the need to look at everything more closely for myself.
But you, in a jar, perhaps not knowing you are observed,
farm each foot in turn for something so infinitesimal,
then drum drum the glass.
“What is there?” you seem to ask.
“What is this new world?”
Nothing to nourish you here.
I sit staring in at you.
That artichoke mouth doesn’t look made for singing,
opening like petals of a flower as you put your foot in it.
Like an old man pushing himself backwards
from piece of furniture to piece of furniture,
you limp around the glass on geriatric legs and padded feet.

We move to the terrace,
where I put you down
On the leaf of a geranium
in the crumbling pot up on the wall.
Putting your heels down first,
you test each new leaf for it’s ability to support or give.
Each hand and foot is like a tiny forked penis hanging from green testicles–
the penis one forked finger, mining space
then gripping the leaf, fore and aft as your
anemone mouth
moves over it like a slice of watermelon
held the wrong way––
not side to side like a calendar illustration,
but front to back, even bites
increasing its inside arc.
In five minutes, one-fourth of the leaf is gone.
and you move to another
like a child with a cookie in each hand.
My ink run out, I leave you
And when I come back, you are invisible
against the potted geranium that I have set you down in.
Your mouth like a different insect
reaches tendril arms out for the leaf edge,
takes sharp bites–like a leaf cutter ant.
The white front flap of your mouth
sweeping the diminishing leaf edge like a vacuum cleaner.
One-quarter of the leaf gone in five minutes.
You fly to the tree branch next to me, startling me,
as finally we stand eye-to-eye at the same level.
You stand more clearly defined,
for you are the yellow green of geranium,
not the dark green of this tree.
Here you are more blended in shape than color

As you change your diet––
eating not the leaves, but stems of leaves––
you rock on a hobby horse of legs.
Your chest like bagpipes
expands and releases,
rippling like an air balloon.
Now that so many of your mysteries have been revealed,
I solve your only secret left––
the origin of your song.
You play “Las Mananitas” for your lady,
with your compadres joining for the chorus,
one wing your violin,
the other your bow.
My night newly passionless,
fills with the sounds of yours.


To hear Katydids, you can go HERE. And for a fascinating closeup video of what I experienced first hand above, go HERE.

See if you can distinguish “my” katydid from his background in these pictures.



Studio Surprise

                                                                    Studio Surprise

Yesterday I spent the morning in my studio for the first time in almost a year.  Actually, I was working on my blog, but I never could get connected to the internet event though my extender and also my personal hot spot on my cell phone both registered as strong signals. I was just about to give up and go up to the house, but there are so many interesting things in my studio to photograph, that I got involved in snapping a few pictures for Cee’s new “Compose Yourself” challenge.

Then, as I gathered my camera and computer and coffee cup to go up to the house, my eyes fell on something that gave me a shock.  Surreal!  Sure, it was something I had seen before, but  definitely not in my studio!! Yet there it was, placed on top of a screwtop drink container that came with my blender, next to a jar of brushes, right by the window.  This is what I saw:

IMG_5928It was a katydid. I’d seen one this big before, on a bush outside my bedroom door the first month I’d lived in my house.  As a matter of fact, fascinated by its alien looks and behavior, I’d put it in a large jar with air holes for two hours while I observed and wrote about it; but how did this one get here?  As I snapped picture after picture, it never moved, and I realized that it must have just become trapped in my studio, died and dried out in that pose.  But what were the chances it would die in such a prominent spot?

I haven’t even been in my studio for months and since it had been totally shut up, there is no way this object could have found its way into my studio, unless it hatched out there.  But in that case, what would it have found to eat?

Then the solution occurred to me.  Yolanda had at other times arranged strange little tableaux for me and just waited patiently for me to find them.  She and Pasiano knew my fascination for insects, for instance this is one that he had brought in from the pool a few days ago:

IMG_5468I shuddered to think I’d been swimming and exercising in the pool for an hour and a half in the dark the night before! At six inches long, with pinchers the size of tweezers, that millipede could have seriously damaged me!

So, I was sure either Pasiano or Yolanda had found the dead katydid and set it up as a surprise for me.  Hilarious. (Pasiano just called this insect a chapulin which is a grasshopper.  It seems that the Spanish language does not distinguish between the two.  When I put “katydid” in a translator, it translated as “saltamante,” but when I put both names in Google Image, they showed both pictures of grasshoppers and katydids for both.

I took at least 50 more shots of the beautiful green insect, then decided to move the paintbrushes to get a better angle, and when I did, HIS ANTENNAE TWITCHED!!!!Version 3Yes, he was alive!  Quickly I got a paper towel and cupped it over the top of him and carried the blender bottle, towel, uninvited guest––all out to the hibiscus shrubbery closest to the wall next to my spare lot. By now the two dogs had developed an interest, so I placed him far out of their jumping range.

IMG_5986Can you even find him in this photo?  Here is a larger picture that might make it easier to see him in his natural habitat.
IMG_5989I looked away for a few seconds to readjust my camera and when I next tried to find him, he was gone.  I had seen no flurry of wings, no movement.  He just vanished.  When I told this story to a friend that night, he said, “How do you know?”  Ha.  He had a point.  He might have still been there. How would I have known?  All he had to to was to adjust his position slightly, and he would have become another leaf.

Lest this post become to long, I’m going to try to find the poem about the katydid I wrote 14 years ago.  If I find it, I’ll publish it tomorrow in a different post.

Always a new thrill in Mexico, where if your friends don’t furnish it, nature will!