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It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

October 27, 2021

It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! I love cool-looking moths, and sadly, the peak time for spotting moths is now firmly in our rearview window. However, there are still a few moths fluttering about in southwest Virginia, like this showy emerald moth (Dichorda iridaria)! This is one of the geometer moths belonging to the family Geometridae. The larval forms of the moths in this family are commonly called "inchworms" for the looping way they move, almost as though they're taking measurements. This behavior is reflected in the scientific name; "geometer" roughly translates to "to measure the Earth." The showy emerald is a small but very attractive moth that can ...


Ben here with today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

October 26, 2021

Ben here with today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! Field crickets like this little lady belong to the subfamily Gryllinae. Here in Virginia, we often associate field crickets with the late summer and early fall; however, they're actually around most of the year! The eggs hatch in the spring and the juvenile or "nymph" crickets grow rapidly, but they're most visible later in the season when they've molted multiple times and reached their full size. Field crickets will eat just about anything, from plants to other insects (whether dead or alive). They can often be found feeding on grasshopper eggs or the pupae of butterflies, moths, and flies. One of my favorite facts about ...


Your generous support matters!

October 25, 2021

Your generous support matters! From providing education scholarships to making possible the next great scientific discoveries to helping create curiosity-inspiring exhibits, your VMNH Discovery Fund contribution will help expand science education, research and exhibits throughout the Commonwealth and beyond during the coming year. Please consider donating to the VMNH Discovery Fund online today!


Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

October 25, 2021

Ben here with the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! This may look like an elderly baseball that had a traumatic experience, but it's actually a puffball mushroom! Puffballs belong to several different genera of mushrooms, including Calvatia, Calbovista, and Lycoperdon. Given that this one was on its last legs when I found it, I'm hesitant to even hazard a guess at the species, but most puffballs are pretty similar in behavior. What makes puffballs unique is the way they spread their spores (basically mushroom "seeds"). Most mushrooms have a cap with little gills underneath it that release the spores. In the case of puffballs, the spores are produced internally inside a ...


We're reaching into the archives for this Sunday's #BenInNature update presented by our friends ...

We're reaching into the archives for this Sunday's #BenInNature update presented by our friends ...

October 24, 2021

We're reaching into the archives for this Sunday's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on August 19, 2020. Promachus rufipes, also known as the red-footed cannibalfly or bee panther, is one fierce little predator. If you don't believe me, just ask the unfortunate moth that this one captured! The red-footed cannibalfly belongs to the family Asilidae, members of which are commonly called "robber flies." Robber flies are voracious ambush predators; during the warmest hours of the day, they take a strategic position in an open sunny area where they watch and wait. Once they see an enticing-looking insect fly by, they take off and catch it in mid-air! ...


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