Tag Archives: photos

Caterpillars of Wisconsin: the unauthorized guide

As an amateur naturephile, I take pleasure in spotting and watching new flora and fauna in the world around me. I also like to know what I’ve spotted, so I can tell other people and in case it has a really cool name.

Unfortunately, the identification guides available for insects in particular, and especially caterpillars, tend to be spotty in their coverage or littered with large pictures of really icky spiders. Even the mighty Wikipedia does not have images or descriptions for all the butterflies it lists in its pages. So it is that I offer a little bit more knowledge to the Internet, in the form of this collection of caterpillars I have seen recently, gathered with what information I have been able to scrape together regarding them.

Tiger swallowtail (swallowtailus clawedfelinus)

Everyone knows this gal. Her durability makes her a solid pick for early fighting, but savvy players typically swap her out middlegame for the berserker’s OTT attack capabilities or for an extra cleric. Male players often leave her in the party because she’s just so easy on the eyes.

Tiger moth (arctiinae)

Image courtesy SayCheeeeeese at Wikimedia Commons. After taking this picture, SayCheeeeeese was immediately rushed to the intensive care unit, but survived with minimal scarring.

In caterpillar form, this cutie’s known as the woolly bear. How much wool it wears is traditionally believed to be proportional to the oncoming winter’s severity. Unlike most bears, it’s soft and ticklish and usually quite harmless, unless you start arguing with it about the Ramones or try to take its picture. Don’t try to take its picture, and definitely do not argue with it about the Ramones.

Frumious bandermoth (specklia carrollus)

Despite being a showy dresser, the mysterious bandermoth is taciturn and elusive, so little is known about it. It likes to nibble hands and is quite a poor Scrabble player. Retired bandermoths are often seen sipping tea at street cafes in Paris.

Old Wisconsin wives’ tales hold that crushed bandermoth cocoons sprinkled in your beer are an immortality elixir. Modern science has disproven such foolishness: the cocoons only cure cancer.

Murderous skipper (skipperus slayerus)

As a caterpillar, this guy is highly aggressive and should only be approached by professionals. Never look one of these in the eye, as it will interpret the action as a challenge to its dominance and bring out the steak knives in response. Mentioning the phrase “little buddy” in its presence also constitutes a death wish. Once it becomes a butterfly and settles down to raise a family, the aggression usually drains away and it becomes a productive member of society.

Giant swallowtail (swallowtailus hugeganticus)

Giant swallowtails are impulsive, hasty folk who like to be jerks just to annoy people. This caterpillar turned into a butterfly in the time it took me to get out my camera, turn it on, and point and focus. Jerk.

Some sort of locust? (cricketus ieatyourcropsus)

This is not a caterpillar. Note the disproportionately long legs. It likes to eat yellow flowers, so do not live in Wisconsin if you happen to be a yellow flower.

Bonus butterfly (mariposa cinmil)

This is also not a caterpillar, but memorize its appearance. One of these is hidden somewhere in Wisconsin at any given moment. If you find it, you get fifty thousand points added to your score and a chance to play a cheese minigame.

Ex-woolly bear

This is a woolly bear after it took a bet to watch The Ring all alone in an abandoned mansion at midnight. Don’t let this happen to you.

Hope this helps!

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Pictures from the National Czech and Slovak Museum

We recently stopped overnight in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I happen to be part Czech, and there was a Czech and Slovak museum in the town, so we headed over and spent a few hours there. All three of us, baby included, enjoyed it. There was a sign encouraging visitors to take pictures and share them, so I did and have. The full album is here, and I encourage you to look through it, but here are a few images if you’re on a slower connection right now. There were two exhibits: Czech and Slovak art and products . . .

. . . and a larger exhibit about immigration and the Czech and Slovak struggles for freedom in the 20th century, as well as about freedom itself:


Vaclav Havel became the first president of the Czech Republic, after he helped overthrow the Communists and Czechoslovakia split up. Madeleine Albright is, well, Madeleine Albright.

Anyway, please click over. My commentaries on each photo can be found in the album itself.