Daddy Long-Legs

aka harvestman (Leiobunum townsendii) 30-JUL-10
These arachnids huddle together beneath the overhangs of the limestone ledges in the south valley at Gault. If you blow on them, they pulse up and down together like waves. Note the chert nodule in the background (lower right).

Queen butterfly

(Danaus gilippus) 5-AUG-10

These are often mistaken for monarch butterflies, but these have white spot patterns on the interior of the wings, which monarchs lack.

Robber Fly

(Laphria ephippium) 18-AUG-10

This rather large fly buzzed around the tent until we directed it out the door.

Wheel bug

(Arilus cristatus) 11-OCT-10

Regulars at the picnic tables, these are fond of crawling on diners. We use caution when handling them, as they can bite (or rather pierce your skin with their beak), and they have the ability to emit a foul scented spray when agitated.

Red swamp crayfish

(Procambarus clarkii) 15-OCT-10

These 'crawdads' share Buttermilk Creek with frogs, fish and turtles, among other critters.

Striped bark scorpion

(Centruoides vittatus) 5-MAY-11

I try to convince people to gently evict these occasional visitors to the tent and fieldhouse. Some are not convinced, and use more corporal means of eradication.

Red admiral butterfly

(Vanessa atalanta) 14-MAR-12
red admirals are fond of flying into the tent, but can't seem to find their way out. Anna and I released a dozen or more on this day.

Feral honey bees

(Apis mellifera) 26-MAR-12

This large colony was exposed when their hollow tree split. They quickly went to work moving the larvae and honey to a new location, a process that has lasted nearly a week so far. I received a couple of warning taps shortly after snapping this shot.

Crane fly

(Tipula sp.) 31-MAR-12

A wet spring has yielded atypically high numbers of crane flies. These harmless flies look like giant mosquitos. You can see one of its halteres (the little 'leg' with a 'ball' on the end) just below the upper wing. These appendages evolved from full wings (the ancestors to two winged flies had four wings, like a dragon fly), and help the crane fly maintain balance in flight.

Checkered skipper

(Pyrgus communis) 31-MAR-12

One of the smaller varieties of butterfly commonly seen at Gault.

Monarch butterfly

(Danaus plexippus) 07-APR-12

Most late summers, dozens of these beautiful insects carpet the field at Gault. In 2011, however, there were far fewer. The drought can be blamed, since the grass these two lit upon last year didn't grow this year, nor did the nectar-producing plants on which they feed during their passing-through on to Mexico.