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Darwin and Parisitic Wasps

Posted by David Moskowitz on August 25, 2010 at 12:28 PM Comments comments (1133)

Two days ago I stumbled on this hornworm caterpillar that has been parisitized by a wasp. The little white things on its back are the pupal cocoons of the wasp. Essentially, a parisitic wasp found this caterpillar, jammed its ovipositor into it, laid eggs, the larva hatched and began eating the caterpillar from the inside out before pupating. Those white cocoons will hatch into more parisitic wasps. While these wasps are incredibly beneficial and without them we'd simply be overrun with inse...

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Science Fiction or an Insect? A Wasp Mantisfly!

Posted by David Moskowitz on July 30, 2010 at 1:44 PM Comments comments (270)

A few weeks ago I was extremely lucky to find this wasp mantisfly at my mercury vapor light at about 3 AM. Although you cant tell from the photos, it is only about 3\4" long. This was the first time I had seen one. While it looks like a small preying mantid, it is actually closely related to the lacewings. This particular species is probably Dicromantispa sayi. The common name is really interesting, combining a wasp (which it is apparently a mimic of, a mantid and a fly). I would not w...

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Awesome Caterpillar

Posted by David Moskowitz on July 28, 2010 at 1:17 PM Comments comments (694)

My son Sam found this awesome spicebush butterfly caterpillar at camp in the Pocono's the other day. It demonstrates how awesome evolution really is. Take a look at the false eye spots on the top of the body and how closely they mimic an animal eye. (the head is actually at the very tip of he caterpillar). I've read that the spicebush caterpillar is one of the best snake mimics in the eastern United States and from the look of it, evolution did a pretty damn good job. When the caterpillar is ...

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Beaver Beetles

Posted by David Moskowitz on July 27, 2010 at 8:52 AM Comments comments (414)

At long last after about a three year hunt I was able to secure some beaver beetles! I had put a call out to the beaver trapping community and finally this January I received a call that one of the trappers had obtained 9 beetles from an adult beaver trapped in a lake near Hyper Humus (Newton) in Sussex County, New Jersey. This is the first record of the ectoparasitic beaver beetle from New Jersey. These small wingless and eyeless beetles live on beaver and feed on the beaver's d...

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Moth Flies or Who is that Creepy Guy in the Men's Room?

Posted by David Moskowitz on October 16, 2009 at 7:32 PM Comments comments (365)

The other title of this post is "Oh Shit, It's somewhere in my house and I'm damn glad my wife wasn't home when it got loose and flew away!"

I've been trying to find a moth fly for a few weeks now. They are really small, really cool fuzzy looking flies (Psychodidae) that have broad rounded wings and resemble moths. Since the first time I saw one, I've found them to be really interesting despite a rather disgusting ecology. The best way to find them is to look in warm ...

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Posted by David Moskowitz on October 6, 2009 at 12:40 PM Comments comments (288)

I was toying with something like Hear No Weevil, but it was just too damn corny! However, this weevil is so cool...I know they are the bane of farmers and foresters, but in the fall we regularly get these acorn weevils around our house and I really enjoy finding them. We have lots of large oaks (red, white and chestnut) around the house, but I'm not sure if this weevil is host specific on any of them, or is simply happy with all of them. The mouth is on the end of the long snout and is used...

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Insect News

Posted by David Moskowitz on October 4, 2009 at 8:38 AM Comments comments (129)

Science Daily is a great source for insect related news and other current science stories. They also have an archived story search going back 10 years.  You can go to the website by clicking here:

You should also visit the Entomological Society of America website for some really cool videos on insects. The thumbnails of each video are at: 

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My Research Video

Posted by David Moskowitz on October 3, 2009 at 4:21 PM Comments comments (672)

The Entomological Society of America is holding a video competition for members and the videos are posted on Youtube

There are some really fantastic videos of amazing insects and people. I entered a 2 minute video about my research on Cordulegaster erronea http://www.y...

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Two Awesome Insects from Panama

Posted by David Moskowitz on September 29, 2009 at 7:26 PM Comments comments (826)

I'm certain that if you don't find these two insects awesome you are:

Not a bug addict


I photographed these in Panama on Barro Colorado Island....

Lanternfly 2-27-08 Barro Colorado Island

I ALWAYS wanted to see one of these and was l...

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Underwing Moths

Posted by David Moskowitz on September 26, 2009 at 7:21 AM Comments comments (229)

This underwing moth flew into our house the other night when I opened the back door! It was attracted to the back porch light and must have been sitting on the door frame. Underwings are pretty fantastic and have been a favorite of collectors and evolutionary biologists for a long time. The upper wings are shades of gray and brown and are perfect for camoflouging the moth during the day on tree bark. The underwings, where they get their common name, are typically brightly colored and are show...

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