Whack!

What is it with hitting me on or about the head?  Whether it’s a bagworm landing in my hair, a wind-blown tree branch slapping me in the face, a large garden spider landing by my eye, or angry mockingbirds bouncing off my head, it just seems that my biological belfry attracts all manner of impacts.  So I wasn’t surprised when…

A few weeks ago—this is obviously before my camera died—I sat on the porch of the White Rock Lake park office in Sunset Bay.  I had just searched Winfrey Point for killdeer and scissor-tailed flycatcher nests.  On my way back toward home I decided to sit for a few minutes and do some people watching.

And that’s when it happened.  Whack!  Upside the head.  Again.  I rolled my eyes.

It’s not like my cranium makes for a big target.  Still, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I should expect to attract nature’s kamikaze assaults.

Whatever hit me stuck in my hair.  I could feel it moving.  So I reached up and gently pulled it from my locks.  It was large, perhaps 30mm/1.25 inches in length.  A small tank struggling with my fingers.  One look and I realized it was a male Florida leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala femorata).

Florida leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala femorata) (2010_04_28_054450)

I placed it gently on the office porch where it scrambled up to the door.

Florida leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala femorata) (2010_04_28_054389)

There I was once again on my hands and knees chasing something with a camera, an act that begged for more than a few inquisitive looks from passersby.  And it even elicited a quick visit from the park supervisor since I was crawling around their porch.  I’m surprised he didn’t tap me on the scalp to get my attention.

Florida leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala femorata) (2010_04_28_054382)

I know they’re considered pests, but I rather like the whole group of leaffooted bugs (family Coreidae).  That’s probably because they remind me of kissing bugs (subfamily Triatominae), the devilishly delightful critters that drink blood—including from humans.

Florida leaf-footed bug (Acanthocephala femorata) (2010_04_28_054439)

My fondness for them notwithstanding, I scolded this chap for thumping my noggin.  It won’t do any good, I know, if my experience is any indication.  Nature will go right on taking aim at my thinker.

6 thoughts on “Whack!”

  1. I was happily walking in a park a few weeks back, when a twig fell from the top of a tree and landed bang in the centre of my head. Not too much of a problem, it was only 15cm long, and about 1cm dia. But… it was home to a colony of Crematogaster ants, which proceeded to spend the next 30 minutes stinging me in various spots all over my body!

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