Freak show @ Petroglyph National Monument

Of all the freak shows on earth, one of the strangest occurs quite regularly at the Albuquerque Volcanoes. It's the cyclical flux of bugs that make their appearance throughout the Petroglyph National Monument on Albuquerque's west side.

Over numerous hikes at the Albuquerque Volcanoes, I've witnessed oddities such as: giant furry red ants, strange swarms of caterpillars, and ground burrowing bees. Every time I go, something new and unusual is pupating or molting or hanging around like a midway freak.

Case in point, this odd beauty, part of the Meloidae family. Photographed by Kent Swanson of Albuquerque's Open Space division, it's an unnerving one, isn't it?

Views: 106

Comment by mombat on June 15, 2008 at 8:51am
I have been out there when the millipedes are active and the trail is covered with the little spiral guys, I think that the petroglyphs are a wonderful place to watch critters.
Comment by Jeremy Brittain on June 15, 2008 at 9:02am
Wow, how beautiful and very interesting article.
Comment by NMBosque on June 15, 2008 at 11:12am
As an undergrad in Biology and desperate to impress my professors, I volunteered to collect some centroides scorpions - guess where we went? A night-time trip to the Petroglyph Park...
Comment by NMBosque on June 15, 2008 at 3:02pm
Yup - we fired up battery-powered blacklights to spot them. They flouresce pretty brightly under UV due, if I remember correctly, to certain chemicals produced in the chitinous exoskeleton by critters living in very arid areas. They are extremely well chamoflaged and almost undectable even a few inches away, but you can seem them 10-15 feet away with the blacklight in the dark, which is the way I liked it...
Comment by Izquierdo on August 7, 2008 at 2:41am
I understand why one would collect specimens at night in Petroglyphs. I believe there's a federal statute forbidding the collection of animals (even animalitos) in natural or historical areas of the National Park System, or plants (even pinon nuts, or seedheads), or artifacts without permission. Of course, you may have that permission.
Comment by NMBosque on August 7, 2008 at 10:38am
You're correct, but Petroglyph National Park was not established until 1990. This was in the late 70s...
Comment by Izquierdo on August 7, 2008 at 12:44pm
Bosque, I figured you were still in grad school.

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