Tuesday, April 7, 2009

so many legs

i was consumed with gardening and insect-wrangling today. the overarching project was to clear out weeds, grasses and rocks from a stretch of land about 2’x20’ between the creek and a small fence that separates the yard from the creek. but since i can never do just one thing at a time, and since i kept finding fun creatures, i ended up stopping every fifteen minutes to either haul a load of vegetation to the composter or play with a bug or take pictures.

while digging out weeds i uncovered a lot of little friends. i found a grub, a caterpillar, about five large millipedes (four of which went into a terrarium), quite a few worms, two water striders that i relocated to the front pond, and i lifted this one piece of wood that had probably twenty pill bugs underneath.

i also found some egg sacs that i tried and failed to identify. the largest one is about .5” wide, they’re very thin and scale-like, made out of a peach-colored, semi-transparent, paper-like fiber, and they have little orange eggs inside. i ruled out just about every living thing i found near them and even some that weren’t: water striders, millipedes, centipedes, wood lice, earwigs, katydids, dragonflies…nothing even looks close. i’m pretty sure it’s not any kind of spider either. i’m thinking of sending in a query to “what’s that bug?” …or i might just wait and see what hatches.

all in all i spent about six hours outside, and most of the time i really was working…i’m already starting to get sore, but tomorrow i might not even be able to move. the next step is to work in fertilizer and compost, then i’m going to plant a row of sugarsnap peas along the fence, and maybe some carrots.

here’s one of the terrariums i made. i put the millipedes in a larger one. they’re so cool. i took one out and just watched it walk around for like fifteen minutes. it’s funny, they seem so graceful walking over uneven terrain, but when they’re walking on flat land it’s a rather inelegant sort of movement. they don’t undulate forward in smooth waves like caterpillars, it’s more of a march, with their bodies bumping up and down as they go. they also don’t grip very well, which seems odd considering how many legs they have to grip with.

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