Monday, October 15, 2012

Zoo Two

It has been an animal rich year; I cannot help but celebrate more:

 A greater sufferer of biophilia would try harder than I do find out what this very large 10 cm (4") moth is called.
 A Mutillid, or "Velvet Ant" on Opuntia sp.  These glorious beasts are said to deliver one heck of a sting, and have a special habit of starting their lives in the nest of- and eating the children of- ground-dwelling flying insects.  They are truly eccentric- do look them up and read about their other bizarre habits.  They are a special treat to see in the desert; this one is in the show garden at Chelsea Nursery.

This moment made me think of the late great Cindy Nelson-Nold, who often (always?) included a scientifically-appropriate insect within her botanical illustrations for the three books. {Cryptantha sp. on Mt. Garfield, Mesa County, CO, USA)

A Collared Lizzard is perhaps the least skiddish of lizards here; I find them so fearless and confident that they tend not to shy away (like our other lizzards) when approached closely for a picture.  They scamper with their bodies off the ground, requiring that long tail for balance, and are thus capable of greater speeds. (again, unlike to our other lizzards).  My entire childhood was an informal survey concluding that this wonderful beast is one of few who s not afraid to serve a generous bite to a capturer.

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