Though there’s hushed talk in the halls of meteorology about possible snow flurries early next week, right now we have cool nights and warm days.
Even subfreezing temperatures last week failed to halt the march of the arthropods. Yet their prevalence in warm afternoons and their scampering about in drops of sunlight fail to hide the sense of strident pearl clutching, worrisome critters knowing each freeze brings them closer to the end.
The herd is thinning. Each drop to or below freezing sees to that. Nevertheless, one need only look carefully to see how much the insect and arachnid communities continue to thrive even now, even in December as we approach winter’s official start.
And being a La Niña year, a warmer and drier winter could well allow many to survive right through the season into next spring. Assuming, of course, that “warmer and drier” isn’t occasionally pummeled by “colder and wetter” brought on by the Snow Miser’s muscle, such as a polar vortex, the McFarland signature or an unexpected progressive pattern.
So while it lasts, it doesn’t hurt to watch for the bounty nature offers this time of year that normally would be all but missing. The observant can find more in winter than birds and brown landscapes.
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- Female spotted orbweaver (a.k.a. cross spider or redfemured spotted orbweaver; Neoscona domiciliorum)
- Texas leafcutter ants (a.k.a. Texas leafcutting ant, town ant, cut ant, parasol ant, fungus ant or night ant; Atta texana)
- Female short-winged green grasshopper (Dichromorpha viridis); brown morph