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Danger In the Flowers

1 Apr
A stealthy specimen in the flowers (Welder Wildlife Refuge, Texas).

A stealthy specimen in the flowers.

Above, a predator lurks stealthily among the flowers.  Can you ID the rare specimen pictured here?

Many insect predators employ cryptic coloration and a sit-and-wait strategy.  In particular, flowers make a great place to lie in wait for prey, as they are the subjects of frequent visits by hungry herbivores seeking nectar, pollen, and even tasty blossoms.   Well camouflaged predators like spiders, preying mantises, ambush bugs and more sit unmoving until unwary prey venture close enough for a quick kill.

Alligator in the wildflowers....

Alligator in the wildflowers.

(PS.  April Fools!)

We did indeed encounter this little alligator while insect collecting for Entoblitz at the Welder Wildlife Refuge last spring.  He was greatly admired, but not added to anyone’s collection.

If you live in the Texas area check out Entoblitz, sponsored by Texas A&M’s Entomology Graduate Student Organization.  It’s been a lot of fun every year;  we gather a diverse crowd of professional and amateur entomologists and get some pretty cool specimens.  Entoblitz 2011 will be held on April 22-25 (Easter weekend) at the Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area in far west Texas.