December 25, 2020
Ben is taking a well-deserved holiday vacation, so we're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update! The following post was originally published on May 2, 2020.
Now here's something unusual you don't see every day! When I first saw these, I thought they were dried-up pillbugs. Fortunately, VMNH Research Technician and millipede expert Dr. Jackson Means told me what they were, as he had encountered them not too long ago himself and was similarly baffled. According to Dr. Means, these are the larvae of Caenia dimidiata, which is a type of net-winged beetle. The adult beetles have broad, feathery antennae and wide orange and black elytra (the hard shell that protects a beetle's flight wings). The little protuberances sticking off of the larvae are composed of cuticle, and it is currently unknown what purpose they serve. Finds like this just underscore the fact that there's still a whole lot we don't know about the critters in our own backyards!
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends and the week of December 21 - 25.
NEW: TRIVIA CHALLENGE
You've seen the posts. You've learned the facts. Now, it's time to prove you are a #BenInNature Mega Fan! The museum's education team has developed the #BenInNature Trivia Challenge to identify the most devoted fans out there! Everyone who successfully answers each trivia question correctly will be congratulated by having your own nature selfie posted to the museum's #BenInNature Mega Fan Photo Album on the official VMNH Facebook page! Learn more and download the trivia challenge today by visiting www.vmnh.net/research-collections/beninnature-trivia-challenge.
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!