Special thanks to the mower lady

The lady in the big blue tractor was mowing thistles and other prickly weeds beside the hard surface trail. She politely stopped and waved me out of the way, so I got to follow behind and see what the mowing turned up.In just twenty feet alongside the trail I had some terrific sightings.

Two amazing katydids I had spotted in the weeds before the mowing were much easier to photograph afterwards. They are Angular-winged Katydids. One was more tawny and the other definitely orange. The blog of the Houston Museum of Natural Science seems to back me up on this identification. The katydids have a genetic mutation called erythrism. I love that the author named a pink katydid "Don Johnson". From the blog:

The only katydid native to the United States known to have this genetic defect is the oblong-winged katydid, Amblycorypha oblongifoliaThe most common form of this katydid is green, less common is the pink or golden form, and the rarest is the orange form. I wish I could have gotten my hands on the orange one!

I was photographing some Very Cooperative Dragonflies (Odonata complianti) when I realized something large was running away through the weed clippings. Okay, large for a wolf spider. Look close. She blends in beautifully. My camera was on a small size setting unfortunately.

See the chevron markings?
Insects have three body parts--head, thorax, abdomen. Spiders have two--cephalothorax and abdomen. The body of this spider is about an inch long, with the two parts about equal size. Boy Rabid Wolf Spiders are just tiny guys. The legs on this gal make her seem much, much bigger, like she's wearing six inch spike heels. Rabidosa rabida will bite with enough venom to cause misery for several days, but is not poisonous.

The Rabid Wolf Spider is a night hunter, so the mower's ten a.m. wake-up call was undoubtedly annoying. You can read about her menu preferences here, and you probably won't want to trade lunches. And I am sooooo over juice boxes! And you might want to check out this amusing little video to learn the differences between Rabidosa puctulata and Rabidosa rabida.

But now back to the Very Cooperative Dragonflies:


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