One more night at the light sheet. I liked being alone (except for the clouds of insects). I am starting to recognize some of the insects that show up each night, so that I notice when something new comes along. I collected a whole lot of moths, beetles, mantids, and katydids, so that I’ll have material to pin and display.
There were 2 new insects that were easy to notice, because they were both larger than any bug you’ve ever seen. The titan beetle came first, about midnight. They don’t fly onto the light sheet, so you have to scout around in the weeds where they are noisily walking around. In fact, it isn’t clear whether they fly at much, or at all. They are so big and heavy that I can’t imagine them going any distance. Like with the white witch, we have no idea where they come from. Unlike the white witch, the titan beetle was discovered late, like in the 1800s. The first ones were discovered in the bellies of fish that had eaten them. Must have been big fish.
The second awesome new insect was a harlequin beetle, Acrocinus longimanus. It showed up about 5 am. I had a hard time getting it off the sheet because it has long sharp claws. The other problem was that I handled it a little too close to the mandibles, and it bit me. Not just a nip; it grabbed onto my finger and held on for a minute or two while I yelled at it. I’m glad I didn’t make the same mistake with the titan beetle.
During the day today I saw my shadow (note to first grade). Sunshine is a wonderful thing, especially when your damp clothes are starting to grow mold. Of course it also rained. I packed a large plastic box with my collected insects, and kept it in the freezer—that’s how you store your specimens until you can pin them. I decided what clothes to pack, and which ones to throw out because they were so stinky. I decided what to leave behind so that I would have room: my rubber boots, a bug net, collecting vials. After I packed, I realized that my large duffle bag was inside out, so that there were no straps for carrying it. Margos saw this and said “that’s hilarious!” And it was, though I had to carry the monster for what seemed like miles through the Miami airport.