I know they get a bad rap, but when you take the time to get a good close look, "bugs" can be pretty awesome. Here are a few of my favorites from the past week or so. The grasshoppers get quite a bit of the attention here, and that's because they've been grabbing my attention lately.
Golden Silk Spider (Nephila clavipes) Almost every time I see this species, there's a male and large (sometimes 4+ inches long including legs) female in the web together. I wonder if it's a seasonal thing. Their silk really is a golden color instead of white or cream.
male rhinoceros beetle (Strategus antaeus) Males of this impressive species use those huge "horns" on their thorax along with their strong legs to fight each other for mating rights.
Handsome Grasshopper (Syrbula admirabilis) A fitting name in my opinion.
female Eastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea guttata) This is a hulk of a grasshopper, with its width equal to that of my thumb.
unidentified grasshopper - Even if I can't figure out what someone named this thing 100 years ago, it's still an attractive enough animal to include here.
Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) I've seen this species in other states, but I just really like hairstreaks. I mean, look at the black and white striped legs and antennae, along with the obvious cool wing markings when you blow up the photo. What is there not to like? As an interesting natural history note, the caterpillars of this species feed on dead and decaying leaves on the ground rather than living leaves that are still attached to the plant. Definitely not a "garden pest."