Friday, May 19, 2006

Hundreds and hundreds of steps ....

... again today. Brought in my first mushroom baits, and set up the last ones on a trail. Also collected some ants.

I'm also hoping to bait for ant parasites, and that protocol is simple: Beat up an ant, put it into a petri dish, and wait for the parasitoid flies to go for it. Now, I've checked thousands of live insects into things from which they cannot check out -- usually ethanol vials or an ultracold freezer. Also, if you don't watch where you step here on BCI, you'll undoubtedly flatten a few leafcutters, some of them incompletely. But there's something about deliberately leaving an insect injured and helpless but alive that really distresses me. I gave the parasitoid-baiting one try, and then had to duck into my office for twenty minutes to compose myself. I think I'm going to be able to try again, but only if the bait ant is, like the Wicked Witch, not merely dead but really most sincerely dead.

Julie-rific bugs of the day: Actually, I encountered these scarabs last night. This time, my hand is present for scale.

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