Twelve Days of Christmas 2012

January 4, 2013

Since tomorrow is the twelfth day of Christmas, I thought I'd give you your belated gifts. Of course they're all part of L.A.'s surprising biodiversity, yes even those turtle wasps!

Twelve weevils wandering

 



Eleven pepsis wasps piping

 

 



Ten spiders-a-leaping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Nine ground squirrels dancing

 

 



Eight ants-a-milking (though technically they should be milking aphids)

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

Seven spittlebugs-a-spitting

 



 

Six roaches-a-laying (down that is)

 



 

Five under wings

 



 

Four warbling birds

 



 

Three French (phorid) flies

 



 

Two turtle wasps

 



 

And a hawk in a pear infested pond

 



Wishing you a happy New Year...what urban nature will we find this year?


(Posted by: Lila Higgins)

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I Have a Cockroach in My Office!

June 15, 2012

Last week, Tania Perez, who is on our Museum education staff, found a cockroach crawling on our office wall! Said roach was quickly trapped and contained and was waiting for me when I got back to my office. Here in North America we have 55 species of cockroach (there are 3500 total in the world)! Of these 55 species, six in California are considered pests. The American Cockroach is the largest of these six roaches, with individuals reaching a maximum of 2 inches in length. Surprisingly, this roach isn't from America at all. It actually native to Africa. The species is also known as the ship cockroach and has hitched rides on ships traveling from Africa to the U.S. A likely apocryphal story,  it paints the picture in such a way as to imply it was slave ships during the 1600s that inadvertently transported these insects to our shores. Although this roach is sometimes found in our homes (or on our office walls) it is much more often found living in sewer tunnels, steam vents, and industrial buildings. They are prolific breeders and, according to UC Davis, a "female and her offspring can produce over 800 cockroaches in one year." Females produce egg cases that are small, brown, and bean shaped. These egg cases are deposited in sheltered spaces and after five to seven weeks, they hatch. It takes just over a year for a cockroach to develop to adulthood, and they can live another year as an adult. What makes these creatures particularly impressive is they can go two to three months without any food, one month without water, and even up to a week without their head! That's right. Cockroaches, like other insects, have a decentralized nervous system, and can therefore survive, even walk around, without their head! 

Trapped!

After dispatching (aka freezing)...Check out UC Davis' Integrated Pest Management cockroach information sheet!


(Posted by: Lila Higgins)


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