The West Texas and Southern New Mexico have had quite a bit of rain this past week. As a result many critters have been out and about here in El Paso. While in Silver City, New Mexico this past weekend we encountered several different types of bugs. The kids had a blast discovering all of the new types of bugs and showing mom and Grammy. Emma had a few moments of panic when told by the Ranger that the millipede we found was poisonous. It however, was not and after much reassurance from Daddy, we were able to calm her down. When your new coloring book is used as a shovel to pick up a 6 inch long millipede you are bound to be a little squeamish. Rest assured we did get a new coloring book, just to be sure.
Jack was awed and a little freaked out by these grasshoppers. We were again, told falsely by the Ranger at City of Rocks State Park that these were locusts that had not developed wings. They were very brightly colored, with blue or orange heads. Most of them were between 3-4 inches long, and there were millions of them. As we drove along the road with the windows rolled down you could hear them squish under the tires. Piles of dead grasshoppers were being eaten by other grasshoppers, it was pretty disgusting. I emailed the bug guy on Whatsthatbug.com and asked him to identify the bug as grasshopper or locust. He assured us it was a plains lubber grasshopper, not a locust as we were told by the ranger. See Marks fabulous picture at his website here. It is a fascinating website if you need to find out what you have crawling around. This picture and the others were all taken by Mark.
This is a Hueco (pronounced Way-ko) which form in rocky crevices all over the southwest. The insects and some amphibians lay their eggs in the rock which survive the dry spells when the rains come the eggs develop. We think these are tadpoles? There are several very tiny toads in this park.
Jack and Emma also have become very fond of a large black ground beetle we see roaming EVERYWHERE (will post a picture asap). They enjoy taunting the poor thing by trying to make it climb their sticks, or shoes or rocks. They had many of the folks in Silver City in stitches watching them play with the bugs. All in all it was a very buggy weekend and the kids LOVED it!!!