Tag Archive | Bugs

A fall ramble: High Park and Humber Bay


Because Ontario is harsh, and the invertebrates are quickly going to ground, I decided to do two days of outings this weekend! In addition to our trip to Leslie Spit on Saturday, I went out alone to High Park on Sunday to see what I could find.


The herbaceous vegetation was mostly dead, with very few insects out and about.


I found these Leptoglossus occidentalis (western conifer seed bug) behind some boards, getting ready to overwinter. These were not present in Toronto when I was a kid.


Behind the same boards I also found a Agelenopsis on an egg sac. I replaced her carefully after this shot.


This very orange Araneus diadematus was also on an egg sac. She also posed, and then I put her back on her sac. It is doubtful the adults ever survive the winter here.


This Phidippus audax was much more orange than others we have found so far.


Not sure why it was missing a palp, but it will probably regrow, as this one was still small.


At Humber Bay, I found some hungry wasp queens. Luckily I had a vial of honey on hand. This one ate so much she could barely fly afterward, but it should fatten her up for the winter.




I was delighted to find this brown snake, AKA Dekay’s snake (Storeria dekayi) moving along a fence.


I encountered these small snakes often when I was a kid. The juveniles of this species are quite beautiful,and the adults have their own subdued charm.


These snakes are natricines, related to garter snakes. They occur in Eastern N. America all the way down to Guatemala.


This shot shows the faint iridescence of the scales


All in all, I was glad I went out! This kind of break from the downtown chaos will hopefully keep me sane!

Bugs ‘n’ More! Insect outreach with kids


Getting out to talk to kids about bugs has got to be one of the coolest things to do in science outreach….As we did last year, we went to the Richmond Nature Park for their insect (and spider!) show. Great thanks to all the volunteers and especially Emily Toda for putting this together.


Tanya Stemberger was out to get the kids into entomophagy (eating insects), serving up tasty insect treats with Grant Olson. Tanya is subtly indicating that this is going to be awesome.


Grant is a professional in the world of insect cuisine, as he works for Enterra, a company that produces animal feed from insects. Of course, all the bugs served up were human grade!


Catherine Scott was on hand to talk to kids about our native spiders, and to show some great examples, including black widows and jumping spiders. Here she is with a Madagascar hissing cockroach, one of the great insects we had on hand for kids to touch and handle.


It was great to see Mike Hopcraft, the Reptile Guy, back again with his awesome collection of scorpions, tarantulas and more!

We had an absolute blast showing these cool insects and spiders to the kids. If you ever get the chance to do this kind of outreach, DO NOT HESITATE! It is awesome!

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OK, bear with me here. I got so many great shots of kids playing with insects, I put them in a gallery. Just click on the first image below, and a slideshow should appear. Enjoy!