The Latest


September 7, 2014 - Latest, Naturalist's Notes

While walking through Irvine’s meadow in late summer, I can’t help but to feel like I’m on safari. All around, monarch caterpillars in the midst of a great migration are munching on a variety of plants, crafty predators are stalking prey, and flowers color the landscape. Each plant and each animal is specially adapted to survive in these hot fields brought to life by cool breezes and blooming jewelweed, goldenrod and ironweed.

One of the creatures I actively seek out is a ferocious beast that can take down prey ten times its size. It is the ¼” long jagged ambush bug! Well named, the ambush bug stays hidden amongst the flower petals. Often, an ambush bug on goldenrod will be yellow and brown, while those found on Queen Anne’s lace will be white and green while others blend in with other colorful backgrounds. If you didn’t know to look, you would never notice they are there. What great camouflage!

If you are stopping to smell the flowers and notice a bee or moth or fly that is conspicuously still, take a closer look. It just may have been nabbed! See if there is an ambush bug with its powerful raptorial front legs, holding on to its prize as it feasts.