Thursday, August 03, 2006

Still, I'll restrict my swimming to bathtubs...

Today I saw an insect I've never seen before. It was swimming in a lake in the quarry by my house. Its body was about 3 inches long and maybe an inch and a half wide--roughly the size, shape, and colour of half a Tim Horton's lid. It had pincer thingies on its head. Not like a lobster or a crayfish, but like an earwig (shudder). And four little legs. Which it was using to swim. And a big, long stinger-type thing protruding from its hindquarters.

That an insect in my latitude is so big as to have hindquarters disturbs me.

It was swimming around, I dunno...eating stuff I guess. Once in a while it would dive down into the water and pop back up. I was so intrigued, and disturbed, that it actually distracted me from the gorgeous great blue heron perched on the island in the middle of the lake, which was why I'd wandered down to the lakeside.

As Chico and I continued our tour, I couldn't get that bug out of my head. You have to understand that I've wandered through the Canadian bush almost every day of my life for the last four years--and many, many times throughout my life before I moved up here. And I've never seen a bug that big.

We've had a lot of rain and the quarry's pretty flooded right now--there were minnows swimming down the middle of the dirt road that runs through it. I wondered if the flooding had unleashed some prehistoric yuckodite that would now spawn and eventually consume the Earth with its hideous clacky-pinchy things.

So when I got home, being the naturalist that I am, I turned to the Internet for guidance. I looked up the bug, and guess what--it's a kind of a cool bug, called a 'toe biter.' (Cool, that is, if you look beyond its tendency to "inject poison through a needle-like beak" and then "suck out the tissue fluid of its prey"). But it also navigates by starlight, which is a cool thought that almost makes you forget that "if removed from water they have been known to feign death and eject a fluid from the anus."

Nature never ceases to amaze me.

11 Comments:

Blogger Moose said...

Holy crap! I wasn't unduly dismayed when I read your post in bloglines. Then I clicked over to your site and got the full frontal bug shot. Avert the eyes! Avert the eyes!

3:38 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

Hi, I'm a dork. I'll stop commenting now.

3:38 PM  
Blogger whyioughtta said...

Yes, quite jarring, isn't it? Imagine it swimming at you...pinching and clicking and swimming with its little paddle-like legs...ggglllaaaaaachhchcyyyyeccchh

4:10 PM  
Blogger Ann-imal said...

I want to and almost HAVE to comment on the "feign death and eject a fluid from the anus" remark, but I can't. I just can't.

Anyone else with me on this one?

So, you saw a bug, huh?

4:24 PM  
Blogger whyioughtta said...

what can I say? it's been a slow week...

7:11 PM  
Blogger superchop said...

It looks like a country cockroach, equally as ugly with the added pleasure of poison and pinchers. I had a bug experience, I would like to share, that was pretty cool..maybe to be more accurate it was an arachnid event (are spiders bugs? or ..whatever.. who cares) We were cleaning out the canoe at the cottage (yes the cottage), we basically flipped it , flooded the canoe and started scrubbing...to be exact my brother in law was cleaning , I was on the dock drinking..anyway, there were a bunch of spiders in the canoe and once there little home got Katrina'd they all went scrambling for dry land. In the water at the time was Brothin law , my sister, my mother and Sam (3yr old nephew). To a spider anything in the water counts as refuge from the water so...as you can imagine people were scrambling splashing sreaming basically panicking as these spiders swam towards them and even clibmed aboard their bodies (at this point I feel very good about drinking on the dock) amidst all this commotion nobody told Sam that spiders crawling all over you is a terifying experience, so there he sat, in a semi submerged canoe with about 3 or 4 spiders using him as safety. This spawned more screams from his Nona and mom with him looking at them like they were crazy...it was quite funny. Now comes the cool part..there was a pretty scary looking and quite large spider swiming away from the comotion and I wanted to take a closer look so I tried to pick it up with a paddle, my attempts were not successful, so as I was staring at this spider trying to figure out how to snag it, along comes the big mouth bass and "BAM".. no more spider....nature is cool.

10:23 AM  
Blogger angrycandy said...

Why are bugs so icky? You don’t see birds or mammals injecting poison through needle-like beaks and then sucking out the tissue fluids of their prey or ejecting fluids from the anus when playing dead. We just roll over, legs in air. and uh..eat things in a more straightforward manner.... I guess that’s why bugs or rather, insects (even the word insect is icky), are so horrifying to us and so...cool. in a horrifying and totally disgusting way that is. It’s like we have aliens living on our planet already ya know? Cause they’re so uh…alien…to us. And icky. Even the pretty ones are pretty icky if you look close…ugh…(shiver) and hey, thanks for bringing up all my old cockroach memories from taiwan whyioughtta…thought I had buried those deep in my psyche but they all came flooding back when the freakin' bug photo crawled onto my computer screen...

2:55 PM  
Blogger whyioughtta said...

Funny story Superchop! "What is HAPpening?" "What is HAPpening?" (inside joke).

Yeah, the more I observe birds, the more I think of them as tiny shrunken dinosaurs with feathers. Except poultry, of course. I see poultry as walking, scratching, juicy eatin'.

I'm over the bug now. Moving on to something less heeby-jeeby soon...

11:35 AM  
Blogger Molecular Turtle said...

Bugs are really cool, with beatles being the coolest. They're the most diverse species on this earth and make up the largest portion of the species on earth. When someone asked darwin what he though about God he replied "He had a tremendous fondness for beatles"

5:07 PM  
Blogger whyioughtta said...

MT: I didn't know they made up the largest portion of species on earth--that's interesting. Cool Darwin quote too. He was one bug-loving cat, that crazy Darwin. Aren't they what got him interested in evolution in the first place? Visited the Darwin exhibit in NYC this summer but can't remember all the details...

5:15 PM  

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