Changing summer sounds

Dog Day Cicada Hatching, licensed for use under the creative commons.

I’ve only just noticed a change since our move 100 kilometres south-west from Guelph to London: there’s a different Cicada that makes up the summer-time chorus.

I’m very used to the song of the Dog-Day Cicada (Tibicen canicularis): it’s song has made up the entirety of my summer aural landscape in Southern Ontario. Now that male Cicadas have started to call (I heard my first Cicada calling on July 11th this year), I’m not just hearing the constant sound that characterizes the Dog-Day’s call. Rather, I’m hearing a loud, buzzy, pulsating call. After a little work, I think I’m hearing male Scissor-grinder Cicadas (Tibicen pruinosa). Neat thing is this species is not common in Guelph, but certainly common enough here in London. Looking at a range map, they’re shown to be in Michigan near the Canadian border, but not shown to be in SW Ontario. Perhaps individuals are slowly moving North due to climate change?


Bedbugs, Toronto and Class

Creative Commons License photo credit: liz.novack

We don’t have a problem with them in our apartment (thankfully), but because of an interest (I guess somewhat similar to gawking when an emergency vehicle goes by) in where they’re found in Toronto, I discovered the bedbug registry and a map of reported Toronto sightings. Now the usual caveats apply to self-reported information, but it’s fascinating and not surprising to see that the hot-spot appears to be centred around St. James Town.

But really, sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Interestingly, when we were in NYC, we saw bedbug sniffer dogs services advertised. I haven’t seen anything like that yet here. But perhaps that’s just a symptom of when you look at NYC’s sightings map, it appears to cut across more socio-economic neighbourhoods. There is likely a need for sniffing dogs here in Toronto, it’s just those who need their services the most can’t afford it.

Insects Photos

Ant “farmers” and Hemipteran “cattle”

Ants and Aphids, originally uploaded by furryscaly.

A neat photograph of some species of Citronella Ant (Acanthomyops sp.) “farming” Aphids or Mealybugs (both Hemipterans).

The hemipteran insects feed on the roots of plants and exude a sugary substance called honeydew that the ants then feed on.


Some entomological detective work

I got an email from Leon (a director at the camp where I worked for over five summers) with the following photo attached:

Necrodes surinamensis

Make sure to look at the full sized photo. It’s a neat beetle. Seems as they have an infestation of the things. I wasn’t sure what it was, so I posted the photo to BugGuide, a neat website that I discovered today. Turns out that this beetle is a member of the Silphid family, known by the more colourful name, the Carrion Beetles.

As Eric Eaton suggests at BugGuide, it is a male Necrodes surinamensis otherwise known as a Red-lined Carrion Beetle, so-called because of that red (though I would have called it orange) line along the back of it’s elytra (back “wings”).

Seems as though there are dead things at camp!