Monday, July 18, 2011

Biology, It's All Around Us

We are a family that thrives on our marvel for nature.  We love all (the non-gross*) living things around us.  We trap and release things like frogs and wasps.  Which is to say, we mean them no harm.  Right now, in and around our house there are spiders, lizards, tadpoles, a green heron, frogs and, of course, the unmentionables*.

The piece de resistance, however, is our newest acquisition - two dragonfly nymphs!  Dragonfly "NYMPHS"? - you say.  What on earth is that?
It's this guy!  Times two!

The best part of the story is that sweet animal whisperer Lauryn found them in our cousin's pool.  And she knew what it was, without a doubt.

They are now living in a specially designed Dragonfly Nymph Containment Unit (aka a Hellman's mayonnaise jar).  They've already eaten two tadpoles and some mosquito larvae we just happened to have lying around.

Speaking of which, we really do have tadpoles up the ying yang around here.  Just yesterday I noticed a fresh set of eggs on the surface of one of our big water catchers outside.  They have since hatched and are being deployed to the home of a fellow unschooler in the specially re-adapted Tadpole Containment Unit.

I feel a teensy bit bad about feeding our darling 'poles to these carnivorous nymphs, but it's no different than the beautiful Green Heron who has been feasting on them in the bottom of our defunct above ground pool for the past couple of weeks.  He has essentially moved in, as the pickin's are, well, not-so-slim.

In our mosquito infested laundry room, several small spiders have set up shop.   We've been observing them and the neat little packages we assumed were egg sacks on their webs.  And we were right!  Having noticed the frogs eggs on my way to the laundry yesterday, I was on alert for all reproductive activity in the vicinity.  Naturally, I checked the web of my favorite spider and - gasp! - she was not there.  And, what's this?  Tiny black spots on her web?

*Leans in closer (but not too close) squinting*

Oh my gosh, those are her BABIES!  30, maybe 40 spider hatchlings, who have presumably eaten their mother, just sitting there in her web.

Right there.  Inches away from where we go to use a machine to wash our clothes, biology is happening before our very eyes.


*Roaches, Mosquitos, Centipedes, Rats, Fleas, and/or Ticks


Catrina Dugué said...

We've had alot of tadpoles around here also! The 4 we got from my boys pool have been eaten by our koi and goldfish. Sounds like fun!

Milkshaken said...

Catrina, it was actually your tadpole post that inspired me to write about our adventures with dragonfly nymphs. I hope they don't mature before we come back from our trip in two weeks.