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Fall Fund Drive

Buggy X-Mas Gifts: What'd ya get?

My family has finally come to grips with my buggy personality! It's about time! I'm so happy. :)

My buggy x-mas gifts included:

1) a see-thru computer mouse with a real spider inside it, which is very cool...despite the semi-mutilated state of the spider. :( It was tough to make out, but I think it's a male orb weaver. Which makes sense to me because I would assume companies that make these in bulk have an easier time collecting the super common and plentiful bugs. (Photo here.)

2) a key chain with a real Gasteracantha cancriformis inside it. It's very pretty and almost looks like the manufacturer painted the spider with some gold paint or something. Next to the spider was something the packaging called a lucky bean. I don't know what that is or why they put it with a spider, but the whole of the key chain was very cool. (Mine is similar to this one, but better.)

3) this one is funny: I got a small, yellow contraption called a Bug Buster that is basically a 'toy-like' version of a spider collector's pooter, lol. It runs on a D battery and uses the slightest amount of suction to suck bugs up into a clear plastic tube that has a lid. It doesn't kill them, of course, just sucks them into the tube. It was quite a good time with the fam when I immediately found an escaped cricket and sucked it up...and fed it back to my spider. And no more than ten minutes later my sister saw a tiny Philodromus and a just as tiny Steatoda grossa in the windowsill right next to each other...which I also was able to suck up and look at, my family watching all the while as though I were an alien, lol! (If anyone is interested, it was something like this.)

4) a cute pendant necklace with a silver dangling oval that has a spider silhouette cut out of it. (I couldn't find a photo online.)

That concludes my spider oriented gifts, but...

Some people may find this funny, I know my family and I did: My mom knows I like fairies and that I collect things of that sort. So in an attempt to buy me a fairy based puzzle, she thought she found one and bought it and wrapped it for me. But today, upon opening the gift in front of everyone, it turned out that my semi-naive mother had bought me the Michael Dubois illustration called "Dream Combo"...which is well, a pot puzzle! My mom was quite embarrassed. Lol! We all had a good laugh. I actually really like it though, for it's artistic quality, and I will admit I went to school with lotsa dirty hippies if ya know what I mean. (But do not currently partake in the toke, for those that may judge me for that, lol.) And this particular artist is actually the guy who does a lot of art for the Grateful Dead, along with The Rolling Stones and Santana (among MANY others). So I guess, all in all, this puzzle is quite a gem!

Okay...the living room isn't incredibly loud anymore and people are eating...so I guess I can stop avoiding the noise and get back to mingling. :) (Ah, Christmas.)


Oh, yes!! The point of this post- I am curious to hear what bug-related gifts others got for Christmas. Maybe we'll pick up ideas from each other for next year! :) Post whatcha got! Lemme see, lemme see!

Mine
Butterflies through Binoculars, The East (as a backup to Kauffman), Insects of NA (Kauffman,Eaton)and Spiders of the Eastern US a Photographic Guide were my buggy Christmas presents from others.

I also bought myself a kayak to go oding in. I'm hoping to find new (to me or the counties) species in those places otherwise inaccessible.

Pocket microscope
I got a pocket microscope from radio shack!
Its great, it has 60 to 100 magnification and runs on 2 AAA (or AA i don't remember) bateries, althrough it drains them quickly. The only thing i didnĀ“t like much about it is that its light is really yellow, but other than that its great, especially to look closely at little bugs like springtails, ant eggs,spider legs and eyes, etc...

 
Nice!
I need to get one of those, too. Maybe that will help tide me over while I await the day that I finally get a real microscope. :)

I felt a bit sad and left out...
...because I hadn't received anything bug-related this year that I could share about. But, some of my family ended up exchanging gifts well after the new year and I was very pleased to receive a copy of Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West by Dennis Paulson. This field guide is packed with detailed species accounts, diagnostic anatomical drawings, photos and range maps. It is a truly an impressive piece of work. I confess that up until this point my skills in identifying odonates were pretty rudimentary -- hopefully this fantastic reference will improve matters greatly!

 
Awesome!
That looks and sounds like a really great book! Out of curiosity, I searched for Dennis Paulson on BG and it looks like he is an expert user here (although I know you probably knew that, I didn't). Do you think this book would be good for someone who so far knows nothing about odonates (me!)? I would mostly just like to learn how they can be identified (what appendages, etc)...and possibly learn about the few that I have photographed in my own yard.

 
I think this book would beneft beginners...
...though there's quite a lot of information presented, possibly more than someone with a casual interest would be wanting to wade through. However, the introductory text has excellent info regarding basic anatomy that would help in knowing what to look for and/or photograph when attempting to get an ID. Although the book covers a whopping 348 species, the range maps provided for each species would allow you to quickly narrow down the potential candidates. Also, I gather you're not the kind of person who shies away from learning more on a topic (rather than less) and this would be a book you could grow into as your interest develops.

That being said, if you want to start simple, there is this pamphlet by Dennis Paulson which just covere the 76 odonate species for your state. Also, though it is not always comprehensive, one of the more enjoyable (and free!) ways I find that I can familiarize myself with the most common species for a group of insects in my area is to simply do a refined search on BugGuide for my state and then browse through the returned results...

 
Well, I decided to start simple...
I just bought the Dragonflies of Washington pamphlet that you mentioned. Only $9.77 (including tax and s&h) for non-members of the Seattle Audubon Society. Thank you for suggesting it, as well as including a working link in the books section! Lets see how long it takes me to buy the other Paulson book, too (probably not long!) :) My curiosity isn't very easy to satisfy!

 
Geez! Fast delivery
I already got my pamphlet in the mail! I was expecting a long wait. The Seattle Audubon Society is really on the ball. The envelope was hand addressed and everything.

 
Great!
Just so you know, we will now expect you to be able to handle all of the odonate IDs for the greater Washington area. (*smirk*)

 
Haha!
In my dreams! Lol!

Fictional Sci-fi 'Bugs'
Does a copy of the movie District 9 count? :D

(For those unfamiliar with the film, the aliens in this one are basically big social insects and the lead alien character is an evolved worker...a sort of alien ergatoid neotenic--neat!)

 
Well
now I HAVE to see it.

 
Nice!
That movie is on DVD already?! I wanted to see it in theaters, but never got around to it. Did you like it?

 
Great Movie, BUT...
Personally, I love this movie, but it's not for everyone. More a character drama/morality tale than your usual sci-fi, I think. Also contains lots of black humour with bloody violence and cursing and the odd bit of perversity that comes right out of left field, all of which'll either make you laugh or leave you feeling a little queasy and disgusted. Some people have trouble with the pacing (it's fast) and the accents and miss a lot of the in-jokes--it's very much a South African film. However, if you love big bugs and have always had a secret hankering to see one featured in a starring role and even get to play the hero, then this is an absolute must-see! You'll probably never again get to see an insectoid get equal billing as a viable character all on his own the way the lead alien in this movie does.


 
Sounds like a must-see if you ask me! :)
Thank goodness for Netflix. Hehe! It should be here by Friday.

Two comic books
I forgot to mention two comic books or more appropriately, graphic novels, by Jay Hosler, Ph. D. Being an expert on bee electrophysiology is not incompatible with being a very funny comic book artist : )
Clan Apis is about honey bees; I learned a lot about bees reading it.
Sandwalk Adventures is a dialogue between Charles Darwin and a mite living in one of the hair follicles in his brow. There is good information about evolution. It made me want to know more about Demodex, the tiny parasitic mites. We don't have any in the guide even though most of us carry some in our eyelashes. We have a good excuse, they are microscopic.

 
Neat!
I hadn't ever heard about this guy. I checked his website and his novels and books look like a lot of fun to read! Thank you for sharing! I think I'm going to buy the honey bee one, since I really don't know anything about bees yet.

 
Jay Hosler's website
Yes, I forgot to mention Jay Hosler's website, a nice present to all bugguiders. Enjoy it.

Not directly entomologically related
Buuut, I got a watch so I can manage more my time better and set more aside for looking for caterpillars!

 
time management is always helpful!
I got a kitchen timer that hooks onto my belt, and when I go looking for bugs and birds on my lunch break I set it for 50 minutes. Then when it beeps I have 10 minutes to get back to the office. Otherwise I'd be out there with my binoculars and magnifying glass for who-knows-how-long...

 
Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin', into the future...
It's amazing how time flies when you're having fun! I frequently spend the entire day outside on my own property, from sun up to sun down. It's awesome how I practically photograph the life cycle of my yard, lol. The first group of photos include the raccoons climbing down the trees (waking up), next the flora, fauna, and mountain photos, then the last group of shots is the raccoons climbing back up the trees to sleep! That's about when I realize I haven't eaten or drank anything all day and the neighbors are probably wondering what the heck is wrong with me! Lol! So yep, I should get a watch, too.

Just got a late gift
A new display case for my wasp nests! It looks great, and is just what I needed for my very fragile V. maculifrons nests

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff117/vulgaris_01/IMG_8718.jpg

 
Sweet!
Careful that the dragon doesn't eat it, though :-)

 
Nice!
.

only one
just a butterfly&moth id book, one that has no real photos, just drawings...

what i really wanted was the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America... now i'll have to go out and buy it myself.

 
Field Guide author...
You may already know this, but the main author of that Kaufman Field Guide is Bug Guide's own Eric Eaton! Pretty awesome, eh!

 
yeah
i realized that when i first saw the book at border's. i was like"that name sounds familiar!" and and it clicked that he was the guy that was id-ing some of my photos. even more reason to buy the book.

 
another reason
Eric came to your rescue and fiercely defended you against my malicious attempts to frass one of your pix, Molly -- remember?

 
yeah...
well anyway i just bought the book with my own money. I gave myself a late christmas gift.

Sort of bug related..
A Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28k camera (as an early Xmas gift)
A $200 B&H Photo gift card (which was used to purchase a Raynox Dcr-150, a Dcr-250 and a monopod)

Not very fancy
I guess that I go for more sedate stuff than some of you. I got several books; one in particular, Grimaldi's Evolution of Insects, pleases me. Too bad it is too heavy to try to read it in bed.
I jumped to chapter 11, Hymenoptera: Ants, Bees and Other Wasps, right away.

 
the funny thing about G&E book is...
it's 'Evolution of the Insects' -- i still don't get the nuance; another hefty treatment published about the same time is titled, yes, Evolution of Insects...

 
Maybe there's no nuance
Authors and publishers want to differentiate their books from others on the same subject. Giving a book a title that hasn't been used yet helps.

 
"a," "an," and "the"
Oh, the nuances of English articles. One of my college literature classes spent an entire afternoon on the title of Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady. ("What would be the implications of/How would you react to/Why do you think he didn't use the title A Portrait of the Lady? Or The Portrait of the Lady? Or Portrait of a Lady? Or...")

 
so you must feel my pain dear
i spent an otherwise impeccable day editing a manuscript abysmally written by rooskies in what they apparently believed to be inglish

 
That's Russian - no articles?
That's Russian - no articles? No problem!

The hands of fate
delivered to me yet another new Wisconsin state record of a ground beetle species (Bembidion nigripes from unidentified UW-Madison material) on Christmas day morning while waiting for guests to arrive for our traditional midday feast. That brings my discovery census to 87 new state records over ten years just waiting to be published. The thrill of such discoveries - many in my backyard - keeps the juices flowing.

 
Bembidion nigripes
I've set aside a few of these for you as well.. :-)

 
Thanks Tim
for the belated Xmas gift. I look forward to comparing specimens which should key out to subgenus Notaphus with predominately dark elytral pattern, legs uniformly blackish, and only antennal scape reddish. Just today did I see your note, having missed it with the bewildering barrage of others posted here. Since it appears that just about anything goes on this weird Xmas page, let me now encourage you to link your many BugGuide images to the corresponding "photo-voucher" specimens bearing labels with the unique BugGuide image numbers. Perhaps you are already doing this. In case you missed it, this matter is now being discussed on page "Voucher Collections" under Web Site Problems & Suggestions.

 
Peter--
be so kind, make a nice present to everybody by publishing your exciting data! perhaps by the Val's Day :)

 
Manuscript already submitted
earlier this month and is currently in the hands of two reviewers. Work entitled "An Annotated and Phylogenetic Checklist of Wisconsin Ground Beetles" includes 487 species of which 87 are new state records discovered during survey period 1999 - 2009, with collection data, nomenclature updated with references.

 
that's great news!
*

cheap guy's dream stuff bought online
(1) used 1984 ed, $5.04+S&H
(2) new, $2.10+S&H (they must have misplaced the decimal)

both books absolutely fantastic!

 
...
Now those are some good deals!

I put out the word, no dead bugs...
for me, they always creep me out. My favorite gifts are regional guides, though I count those as gifts to myself. :) I got three nice gifts from myself this year!

 
I know what you mean about the dead bugs...
...the one in my new computer mouse is basically mutilated and is starting to creep me out, too. It looks like he's hollow or something. I'd like to know how they make products like this. It's weird. But I still have to act excited about it around the family, though. Lol. ;)

Diddn't get any bug gifts this year...
but I wanted a hornet suit. I don't think they are very easy to get...

 
Do you mean...
...a life-size halloween type suit? Cool!

Just one
Arthur M. Shapiro and Timothy D. Manolis, Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions (University of California Press, 2007).

my nephew got a bug vacuum too!
He's 2 1/2 and obsessed with bugs. He can pronounce "caterpillar" better than some kids twice his age!

I had a coccinellid-kitsch Christmas: silver charm bracelet w/ ladybug charms (undetermined species); ladybug wind sock (not dissimilar to Coccinella septempunctata); ladybug kitchen timer, which is adorable (undetermined species); insanely-complicated ladybug jigsaw puzzle, one of those "extra-challenging" ones with no picture, just a huge conglomeration of dizzying colors and patterns. I've already identified most of the pronota and suspect I'll be able to at least put them in the right area..."there's nothing else with the Anatis pronotum in the upper left corner, it must be this one!"

I think I put American Beetles vol. 2 on my Amazon wish list too late for Christmas. My birthday's in June, plenty of time till then...

 
 
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