Category Archives: Variations

Two days in a row, when I went to my mailbox there was a Zelus nymph — a young assassin bug — on the handle. Each time, I gently lowered the door on the box, trying not to disturb the unique creature that graced my front yard. Each day, it was a different species, too! One day it was the red one shown below, Zelus longipes. The other day it was a smaller, little green guy, Zelus luridus. While some say they look like their adult forms (due to incomplete metamorphosis), I could not find these nymphs in any of my insect books because there is no ADULT insect that has this body shape. My research began by googling “skinny bug”! 😀

assassin bug nymph young zelus longipes milkweed longlegged skinny red black hunter

American Insects: Zelus longipesZelus luridus
Reduviidae: Assassin Bugs (Austin Bug Collection)
Bug Eric blog — Nature at Close Range blog
Arthropods of Maine (blog page on Z. luridus)
Featured Creatures: Zelus longipes
Beneficials in the Garden (mostly on Zelus longipes)

There are thought to be seven distinct subspecies of Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii). The map below shows distribution and examples of the wide variety of colorations for this single species in its genus. The ensatina is a lungless salamander who breathes through its skin and therefore must remain in moist habitat. When times get a bit dry, they can burrow down under logs and leaf litter until the above ground habitat becomes more moist once again.
Click the links below the map to find out more about this amazing species, and to see more pics of its variety! Scroll down on the first linked-to page to see entire pages of pics and videos for each of the seven subspecies! 😀

ensatina salamander species subspecies map california oregon washington canada spotten red black yellow brown tan

California Herps
Ensatina Natural History
Wild Herps

Orange Peel Fungus can be quite reddish and cup-like!

red cup fungus orange peel aleuria aurantia log ground moss

Most are more orange and have less of a cup form — click the pic to see over 150 more pics.
This is one highly variable fungus species!

There are about 40 to 50 different species of plants in the Yucca genus.

yucca tall plants white flowers bells desert spikey leaves

Native Americans used every part of this plant for either food, medicine, or fiber. It is often cultivated in semi-arid regions: I have three of them growing in my front yard in Texas!

The Yucca Page
Mojave Yucca
The Yucca and its Moth

Acacia trees in Australia tend NOT to have thorns, while acacias everywhere else in the world usually DO have thorns!

acacia thorns leaves senegalia tree closeup branch spikey

Cup fungi can be black and long-stemmed!

plectania nanfeldtii black cup fungi fungus long stemmed stem

Plectania nanfeldtii on Sitka Photos

Dwarf Mongooses can be so BROWN!

brown dwarf mongoose helogale parvula group

Dwarf Mongooses can be so RED!

red dwarf mongoose helogale parvula arkive