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Creature Feature

Summer sends these insects singing

Heat wave temperatures may not have us humans singing for the joy of life, but that’s not the case for several insect species that voice their appreciation of the heat this time of year.

Readers shared their stories — and pictures — of animal companionship. The stories are wonderful; they'll bring tears to your eyes and laughter to your heart and lips.

           

Just passing through

A big mother of a terrapin the size of our cast-iron frying pan lumbers from the swamp beyond the small garage, up the stones and through the poison ivy and, without stretching her long neck for a glance backward over her carapace, heads non-stop across our lawn toward the far woods to lay her eggs.     She is my first sighting of this summer, already August, and in recent years all turtles have been scarce.

Turn on a light to observe National Moth Week

In the midst of National Moth Week, turn on your porch light any summer night and see who you see.     Summer because moths get their wings in warm weather. Over winter, they are caterpillars. In spring they pupate, emerging winged from their cocoons to create new generations of moths.     Night because drawn to light in perhaps some moonstruck phenomenon, most moths are nocturnal.

But which butterfly is which?

Who’s that flittering around your summer garden? Most likely it’s a swallowtail butterfly.     The swallowtail family includes more than 550 species, flourishing on every continent except Antarctica.

Find out at Calvert Marine ­Museum’s Sharkfest

Millions of years ago, long before there was a Chesapeake Bay, sharks thrived in the saltwater marine environment of the flooded river we now call Susquehanna. Big sharks that could have swallowed a man whole, had any men or women been around to be eaten.     The megalodon, ancestor of the great white shark, was the apex marine predator of those waters. Rivaling today’s blue whale, the megalodon grew up to 50 feet long.     He’s long gone, but his kin are still with us.

Chesapeake Bay gets a summer show

Go out on the Bay this summer and you’re likely to see dolphins. Not just two or three but huge pods of the big aquatic mammals, arcing out of the roiled water.     Dolphins are familiar sights on ocean horizons. Not so much in the Chesapeake, though they are seasonal visitors.

A barking good time for all at Quiet Waters Park

On a perfect June day, more than 2,200 humans and their canine companions showed their support for the Anne Arundel County SPCA at the 25th annual Walk for the Animals, rescheduled from its original torrentially rainy May date.     Humans and canines of all shapes and sizes teamed up at the record-breaking event June 19 at Quiet Waters Park for a 5K run and walk. The fur was flying all morning as dogs — both large and small, fluffy and fuzzy — strutted their stuff along the park paths.

After rescue and recuperation, turtles released on World Sea ­Turtle Day

After seven months of swimming circles doing rehab in the pools at the National Aquarium, two juvenile green sea turtles have returned to the open wilds of the ocean, stronger and healthier.     The duo swam into the waters off Assateague Island National Seashore on June 16. The date marked World Sea Turtle Day and coincided with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Turtle Week as well as the National Park Service’s centennial and the Aquarium’s Animal Care Center’s 25th anniversary.

Scientists refute their reputation as oyster bandits

The rays are back. Anglers and paddlers are already spotting schools — sometimes called fevers — of cownose rays in Bay waters.     Perhaps this year they will be met with a warmer welcome than in years past thanks to a long-awaited acquittal for their impacts on wild oyster populations.