I photo-documented two very different invertebrates yesterday, one of which was new to me. Saturday evening a local sawyer delivered a truck load of freshly band-sawed white pine boards, and appropriately left behind a few smaller sawyers...Eastern sawyers to be exact.
On the left is the male, female to the right. Note the extreme length of the antennae on the male, well over twice the length of its body. There are over 900 species of long-horned beetles (family Cerambycidae) in North America. Some are considered pests by mining living trees (in their larval form). However, most species are valued for returning dead wood to soil.
When I picked these up with tweezers, they both made an odd squeaking sound, and when placed on my desk, froze into these positions. Here is a close up of the male:
On the short walk between my shop and house, I typically stop by wildflower patches to inspect the variety of insect life associated with milkweed, Queen Anne's lace, goldenrod, and others. Noticing what looked very much like a bird dropping, I took a closer look and found what at first appeared to be a fattened tick, but revealed itself to be a species of spider I had never seen before. Here it is on a goldenrod leaf fragment.
Bolas spiders are nocturnal, thus rarely encountered by humans. Their hunting strategy is unique in the spider world as well. While suspended on a horizontal thread, they swing another silk line with a sticky ball attached to the end, capturing small moths attracted to the spider by chemicals that mimic moth sex pheromones. The variety of spider silk and its uses is a fascinating subject, and to that topic I highly recommend this book: "Spider Silk" by Brunetta and Craig.
Here is a ventral view of our little friend:
Happy critter hunting!