I'm not sure what this little guy is, but he caught my eye. It was in an area near standing water, and the mosquitoes were quite active. Not this guy. He simply clung to a fallen tree, on which I saw no other bugs. The tree was all his (or hers). It has a shrimp-like body. Whether or not it flies, I cannot say.
This is a damselfly, a relative of the dragonfly. There were many of these buzzing around the small creek that runs through the park, which is quite low now. Damselflies feed on other insects, and have been known to pick spiders right out of their web! Although I didn't see that action directly, there is some evidence that this may have happened in the photo on the right: the spider was not in the web pictured next to the damselfly.
Fern Gully. It was properly named for the ferns, but misleading, as this area was rich with ticks. I stooped to move a stick for a better shot of a lizard on the ground, but the lizard didn't move. As I stood, there was a large adult deer tick crawling over the hairs on my arm, which I stupidly did not photograph! Anyway, there was another on my sock, and for the next hundred yards I was very itchy. No other bugs were found on my person, only a few webs.
I cannot see the forest for the trees, and it is a beautiful thing. Bugs or not, the forest is a world that will always have my love and respect. It turns the sunlight, water, and dirt into a world of life. We can take the hardwood, emulsify the softwood, and pave the rest, but in the end, the forest will return.
Below is the inverted tree. Another perspective that I dare not keep to myself. It turns my head upside down to think of how the trees may grow down instead of up.
Filmy dome spider, or Nariene radiata. I saw more than one of these critters in dead trees. At first I thought the appearance of the web might be happenstance, but another spider of the same tribe had the same architecture. Google answered my questions about this little forest feature.
Here was the confirmation web.
Gold silk orb-weaver, or Nephila clavipes. This little critter came out of the Jurassic period, some 165 million years back. It is a horribly beautiful thing. When you walk through its web, the silk breaks like a strand of hair, often with an audible pop. Walking into one of their webs is not a pleasant event. Their silk is extremely adhesive in addition to strong, and so much so that their web is a wealth of knowledge for biochemical researchers. Amino acid architecture in their silk give it the unique properties that terrify many hikers--myself included. Like I said, they are horribly beautiful.
I couldn't resist a close-up. Even though I am arachnophobia, they are amazing creatures. The fear of them draws me closer, because the terror of their long legs and many eyes is so overwhelming. Anything with that many legs and eyes as well as its lethal webbing...
This fallen tree offers homes to thousands of insects before it returns to the soil and feeds the next generation of plant life. It is the tree of life.
Enjoy life and life will enjoy you.