We are doing a little bit of fancy building out in the back yard to convert a bit of space from grass to a food plot. A few years ago I cut down and old tree that was both ugly and in the way. I had high hopes of sawing the tree into boards (just to see if I could) and doing something interesting with it. Three years later, the log is pretty well rotted…and in the way like the tree before it. I rolled it out of the way so we could work and we found a regular entomological wonderland!
These two huge beetles dashed around in circles. I dubbed them vampire beetles because they just wanted out of the sun. I think they were actually Patent Leather beetles (Odontotaenius disjunctus). I let them crawl around on my hands and arms a bit, trying to get the kids excited (in a “my dad is so brave and awesome” kinda way). It didn’t exactly work as I expected but I was delighted that the kids at least wanted to touch the beetles. I am a country boy trying to raise city kids to not be too much city and a little more country…touching bugs is a good step on the path. I delivered both beetles to a safe spot nearby…I do not want to harm such cool and beneficial bugs.
We also noticed a large millipede cruising around quickly once we moved a chunk of bark. We could not pick him up but he was super cool though a little shy. He had no interest in posing for a photograph. I am not sure about exactly what type of centipede he is but I think he is in the genus Cryptops. I also learned a little something about centipedes versus millipedes. Millipedes have 2 leg pairs per segment while centipedes have one leg-pair on each segment. Centipedes have venomous legs while millipedes do not. Centipedes are fast while millipedes are typically not. Gosh, there are so many other differences…read some more here.
Anyhow, I think what made me happiest about this log was the worm family we found there. Abigail bent right down and grabbed up a worm. It’s a simple little thing but I love that my darling little daughter will pick up a worm without worrying about it being slimy or wiggly. She relocated a family of worms the other day while some other little girls looked on in shock. I have city kids but even in the city, under a log, lies adventure and wonder and just a little bit of country!