Like camping? Like bugs? Well....

  • Hi Guest, you may choose a LIGHT or DARK theme that works best for you with the "Style Chooser" button at the bottom left on this page!
  • HTML tutorial

RonaldHoward1313

Rank III
Member
Adventure

Member III

874
South Dayton, NY, USA
First Name
Ronald
Last Name
Howard
Member #

26138

I don't mind seeing strange and foreign critters when being "out there" but they can keep there space....I'm not going to be cuddling up with any of them....lol
 
  • Like
Reactions: MazeVX

Chuckem12

Rank V
Member

Member III

2,043
South Florida
First Name
Charlie
Last Name
Mike
Member #

16940

Driving through Oklahoma last year, around September/October time, I would see critters crawling on the road in front of me. I thought they were bigger lizards similar to the kind we have in Florida. I'd never seen bugs big enough that I could see them coming up as I was driving. I googled it when I got to my stop and come to find out....Oklahoma has tarantula's that cross the roads every year....how big are these tarantulas that I could clearly see them and make them out a couple hundred feet ahead of me?!?!
 

OkieDavid

Rank III
Member

Member III

703
Guthrie, Oklahoma
Member #

15628

Driving through Oklahoma last year, around September/October time, I would see critters crawling on the road in front of me. I thought they were bigger lizards similar to the kind we have in Florida. I'd never seen bugs big enough that I could see them coming up as I was driving. I googled it when I got to my stop and come to find out....Oklahoma has tarantula's that cross the roads every year....how big are these tarantulas that I could clearly see them and make them out a couple hundred feet ahead of me?!?!
Meh, they don't eat much :grinning: Seriously though, Florida definitely gives Oklahoma a run for its money when it comes to the creepy crawlers, lol. Pythons, Alligators, and more, I'll take a few friendly, fuzzy spiders any day...now it's the snakes you really have to look out for, we have more than our fair share of rattlers.
 

Road

Not into ranks, titles or points.
Member

Advocate III

3,379
On the road in North America
First Name
Road
Last Name
Dude
Member #

6589

Oh boy, another topic I find intriguing when out adventuring.

Bugs don't bother me much, whether camping or in urban environments. I find them intriguing, actually, so keep a good general field guide for insects with me on adventures to learn about the more exotic bugs I run across. I like the Kaufman's Field Guide to Insects of North America the most, so far, though sometimes get more localized info when I can.

kaufmans-field-guide_1441-800.jpeg
I often pack this for hikes, bike rides (as above) and canoe paddles, as well as keep it handy in camp.

Here's a mess of images I've made in my travels of insects and arthropods:

dragonfly-emerging_8414-800.jpeg
Dragonfly emerging from its nymph shell and drying its wings before its first flight. New Hampshire, 2019

Various arthropods--characterized by exoskeleton, segmented bodies, jointed limbs, and generally go through a molting stage--seem to favor my canoe as a resting place to emerge from their nymph stage. This was on the outside of my canoe, which I would've thought would be too slick.

nymph-shell_7803-800.jpeg
Dragonfly nymph shell after it has emerged. You can see the wing shapes and how folded they were before molting. The white string-like things are umbilicals of sorts.

nymph-shell_7806-800.jpg
Underside of dragonfly nymph shell
.

emerging_0602crp-800.jpg
Cicada-like arthropod emerging from nymph stage, having split the upper back of the shell. This was on one of the thwarts of my canoe.
.

scorpion-emerging_0451-800.jpg
I watched this scorpion for the longest time at the edge of a camp I had in the Chihuahuan Desert before I realized he was not eating, but struggling to shed its skin after just having molted.

Just like lobster and crawdads, other arthropods like vinagroons and scorpions will seek various nooks and crannies in which to molt. They will hide until their new skin dries and hardens sufficiently and they become less vulnerable to predators.

It's a good reason why one should shake out tarps and other items when camping.
.

scorpion_4031-800.jpeg
Another scorpion in camp.
This one was wandering around on the fender of my trailer.
A very short vid of it scurrying away, trying to avoid me:

.

Another vid, 34secs, of a scorpion I discovered on my trailer just after it had eaten and disassembled a spider:


.


tarantula-hawk_1237-800.jpeg
This guy is fascinating. It's a Tarantula Hawk. Here's how the Texas A&M Dept of Entomology describes them:
"Tarantula hawks are one of the largest species of wasps in Texas. They sting tarantulas, bury them in holes in the ground and lay eggs on them. The larvae of the wasp then feeds on the tarantula. These large wasps are bright metallic blue-black in color with red wings. They are generally quite harmless to humans because they seldom sting. They can be provoked though and should be left alone."​
A very short vid of the Tarantula Hawk above, made while talking with a river guide along the Mexican border. We were talking about how many insects and arthropods etc come around camp in the dark and that when you shine a light their way you can see a glint from their eyes even through brush, though it's difficult to tell how large they are or what it is. After a while, you get better at determining what kind of critter it is by the spacing and movement of just the glint.


.

And this is a short vid of a beetle that landed on my knee while I was talking to 'DJ from PA' about building and construction. He's a fellow van guy I met along the border and camped with in various places for a few weeks. You can often get a better and clearer view of small critters with your phone than you can with just your eyes.


.

But by far, the most interesting crawling critter I've ever run across was in the borderlands late one night in 2017. It was preying upon the number of flying ants and other insects that were attracted to the rock lights under my trailer. When I shone my light on her, she reared back and spread her forelegs as if to say "Yo dude, quit harshing my vibe!"

mantis-1142-900.jpeg
Iris oratoria - or Mediterranean Mantis: non-native.

Introduced, probably accidentally, into California in the 1930s, then spread through the southwest US.

Known for it's deimatic display when threatened, in which it:

"...sets in motion a complex series of actions which combine to form a startling deimatic display. The mantis turns to face the aggressor, rears up by arching its back, curls its abdomen upwards (dorsiflexion), raises and waves its forelimbs, raises its wings to displays the large brightly coloured eyespots on the hindwings, and stridulates by scraping the edge of its hindwings against its tegmina, the leathery front wings" says Frederick Prete in his book The Praying Mantids.​

I wish I'd had my camera set up for vid and used it, not just my phone.

.
 
Last edited:

Chuckem12

Rank V
Member

Member III

2,043
South Florida
First Name
Charlie
Last Name
Mike
Member #

16940

Meh, they don't eat much :grinning: Seriously though, Florida definitely gives Oklahoma a run for its money when it comes to the creepy crawlers, lol. Pythons, Alligators, and more, I'll take a few friendly, fuzzy spiders any day...now it's the snakes you really have to look out for, we have more than our fair share of rattlers.
That's funny....for us here in Florida....alligators are so common that we almost forget they are wild animals....Hell, people have them as pets here. Pythons aren't too bad...can get big but still not bad. We don't have many BIG spiders (maybe a banana spider or two)...its the little brown recluse spider we have to watch out for. Cotton-mouths/Copperheads are definitely around here though.
 

MiamiC70

Rank V
Member

Member III

1,855
Miami, FL, USA
First Name
MiamiC70
Last Name
N/A
Member #

19849

Don’t forget the most dangerous animal in Florida. I’m not talking skunk ape I’m talking mosquitoes