"Nature's Way of saying 'Don't mess with me!'."
This title is based on a line my Uncle David Stott said in reference to a brightly colored insect he found in his backyard.
I've been bad... well, lazy actually. I have lots of photos, both of just insects I've found, and of things encountered during my family's trip to Georgia that I've been slacking off on posting online. Tisk, tisk!
This big, ol' black widow was living in North Carolina's Green Swamp National Park, one of only a few places where you can still find wild Venus Flytraps (which we did not see, unfortunately). The big girl was underneath a piece of dried, dead wood on a flat that was left over where a marsh had been. She had two or three egg sacks there when my mother (I think it was my mother) over turned the wood she was nesting under. In typical widow manor, she flipped on her back to expose her bright red hourglass marking in warning of her potent bite. I came & snapped some photos before returning the wood back where is had been and leaving her and her eggs in peace.
It was summer, it was hot, it was dry, and this was also a sight that experiences regular annual burnings (controlled fires to help remove dead brush and encourage new plant growth), so it comes as no surprise that the marsh was virtually gone in that part (there was water left, but it was pretty fowl stuff). Else where the park felt more like a desert, like something from the western U.S. (the dried scrub lands where you'd expect to find cow rustlers and things from cowboy movies).
But then you'd look back and go, 'hey, wait.... isn't that a sun dew?... and these are trumpet pitchers.... these things live in swamps, not arid scrub!' The park is really a beautiful collection of several different habitats from woodlands to swamps to scrub where you can see a diverse range of plant species and (if you stick around long enough) animals.
This is what the place looks liek on a good day: [link]
(note, I did not take this photo.)
We just happened to be there during the dry part of the year. Oh well. We saw a good number of wild plant species, some interesting habitats, and some rather impressive insects (like the wolf spider posted earlier: [link]
There were many young whip tail lizards out and about too! Those little guys are FAST! Being so fat and slow (well, slow at any rate) I couldn't catch them, or get close enough for a good shot. Guess I need to work on my patients.