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Bug ID; Fishing for Redfish; Dinner With a Professional Entomologist; Brit Cuisine?

Gloria Quigley correctly identified yesterday’s “April Bug” as a Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia). The wings of this moth are bright white with a pattern of neat black blotches; the abdomen is dark blue with orange markings. The caterpillar is a “wooly bear” type, with a thick coat of black bristles and red or orange bands which become conspicuous when it rolls into a ball for defense. (Okay, but who would be dumb enough to want to eat that hairy critter?)

On Sunday morning, My Lovely Bride and our two Adorable Dachshunds, Rudy and Gretchen, drove to Crystal River so that Your Faithful Correspondent could do some redfish fishing from a kayak. The drive was pleasant, but when we unloaded the kayak at Fort Island Beach, we found that the area was loaded with sand fleas and “no-see-ums”. I was able to launch the boat and paddle into the river away from these tiny insects with huge teeth, but Suzanne had to retreat to the air conditioned car for safety. She worked on her new book while I went searching for redfish, also known as red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus). 

Unfortunately, there are approximately 800 square miles of water in the vicinity, and only 14 redfish and 23 sea trout living there. (That does not make for good odds for Ty’s fishing…) On the other hand, there were 287 boats with fishermen and 638 jet skis noisily disrupting My Fishing Spot. Skunked again…. Sigh.   On a more positive note, Suzanne finished another chapter.

Coincidentally, we had redfish dinner last night with Connie England and John Henry at Harry’s, a New Orleans-style restaurant in Ocala. John is a PhD entomologist and confirmed Gloria’s moth identification. Who would have thought that we would have three insect-related blog entries within 24 hours? Even better, we had a great time with Connie and John; Connie made us laugh with several great stories and jokes, and John, who is an avid fisherman, promised to help me out with some sorely-needed angling tips. John also noted that he is from northern Minnesota, but now lives in a much warmer area – North Dakota. He only has nine feet of snow in his yard today… 

We asked a couple sitting at an outdoor table to take our photo in front of Harry’s. Fred Cooper, a retired British Army sergeant with a great haircut, suggested that his dinner date, Denise, was far more sober than he. It was a good call; Denise was certainly steadier on her feet than Fred, who does have a great sense of humor. He also must cook pretty well, because he is a traveling chef who has cooked for Queen Elizabeth on several occasions. I have to make one comment about “English cuisine”… when I was stationed in the UK back in 1983-85, the joke was that there wasno such thing, only “Brit pub grub”. That was then, and today there has been a Renaissance in English cuisine. We hope to make it back to the UK one day to try some new dishes, although I have to admit to an affinity for Beef Wellington and English Trifle. 


  • Jennifer
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Nice photo of you all with the Entomologist.They look like a very nice couple. This moth has dark blue and orange on it's belly? Would love to see this. How beautiful..

    Ty,you would never run out of things to post with an "insect blog"…

    I like Suzanne's Blue jacket!

  • Ty and Suzanne Giesemann
    Posted April 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    Jennifer, Thank you! You made me laugh out loud with your comment about never running out of things to post with an insect blog! I have never been a bug person, so I think the world is safe on that count.

  • Jennifer
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 2:35 am

    Hi Ty,
    I'm glad I made you laugh! I'm not much of a bug person either but some can be very interesting! Last year we were flooded with "stink bugs" and they are harmless but they look as though they are wearing a coat of armor…

    I really like the photos you take of nature…


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