It's a jungle out there. Out there in my yard, that is. I'm spending more time outdoors this summer than I usually do and seeing more bugs because of it. Or maybe there actually are more bugs, what with most of the nearby birds now dining on store-bought sunflower seeds.
Here's a fuzzy caterpillar (about two and a half inches long) lurking on the mat outside my back door, just waiting for me to open it so he can dart into the house!
And take a look at this giant grasshopper-looking thingy:
That big guy was nearly four inches long, and look what happened when I moved in closer for an overhead shot:
Is all that red supposed to scare me? Is it a warning?
I'll tell you what I saw on the patio that didn't scare me until I found out what it was: a red velvet ant (which is not really an ant but a wingless wasp). She was beautiful, about the size of a bumblebee, and walking so fast that if I'd had my camera with me, any photo I'd have taken of her would have been blurred. Once I had identified her on the Internet, I went out to try to find her again and get rid of her, but she was deep under cover by then.
Fortunately, since the birds don't seem to be helping, there are other creatures one step up on the food chain who seem more than willing to assist in controlling the insect population. This tiny gecko bagged a cricket:
And this little toad appeared to be waiting for me to get the light out of his eyes so he could eat the black beetle he had captured:
Still another step higher up the food chain, this hairy beast was eyeing that very same toad:
Fortunately for the toad, he was protected inside the doggy fence I had put up to try to get the grass to grow over one of Levi's freshly-filled holes in the ground.
Like I said, it's a jungle out there.