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Creature Feature

Read on to rid yourself of these paper pests

Pests lurking in our book nooks secretly graze, bore and eat the words we read.     A few pests graze on the surface starches or glues on papers and books. Others bore into books and eat the paper. Still others feed on mold that grows on the surface of damp paper. The Grazers     The most familiar paper pest is the silverfish, which looks like a fish out of water and swims lightning fast across floors and walls.

Masters of acrobatic antics

Snapping a spine under their thorax helps Eastern eyed click beetles turn right side up. It also gives them part of their odd name, which describes the loud click made by their flipping maneuver.     The eye in the name comes from the two white eyespots on the tops of their upper bodies. These eyes make the beetle look a bit like the head of a snake, to scare away predators. If that fails, it has a couple of other tricks.

Did Ray Caden Catch Diamond Jim?

Fifty thousand dollars is at stake in the Maryland Fishing Challenge.     Catch a Maryland fish, and you may also catch some of the money.     The big bucks — $25,000 — are riding on Diamond Jim. Jim’s a rockfish whose identity changes throughout summer. Each month, Maryland Department of Natural Resources fishers catch, tag and release one genuine Jim plus hundreds of imposters.

Fireflies’ luminescence is 100% efficient

Tiny golden-yellow lights flicker on, off, on, off.     Watching them brings memories of childhood.     Back in the days when I’d play outside from summer sun-up to after sundown, fireflies kept me company at night.     Reading kept me company, too.     P.D. Eastman’s Sam and the Firefly was a favorite.

Goodbye cicadas

Back on May 19, I spotted a few cicada shells — golden brown empty casings — scattered in my Huntingtown yard.     On May 21, I saw my first teneral adult, emerging milky white from a matching cotton-like casing.     Then, I saw a few adults — black in their new exoskeleton with eerie red, beady eyes — crawling around the patio.     After that, I saw nothing else. I could hear cicadas but not see them.

The dads take fatherhood seriously, too

Phoebes are inconspicuous in plumage, but you will hear them from wooded areas loud and clear: FEEE-bee-bee-bee! Eastern phoebes, part of the flycatcher family, swoop down from understory branches to catch moths, mosquitoes and other Undesirable Flitting Objects. The generic name for flycatchers, Empidomax, is from the Greek for king of the gnats.

With a wingspan up to four inches, Luna moths are one of the largest in North America

Like springtime, Luna moths represent rebirth and renewal.     I usually see one or two early each spring, hanging around hubby’s bug zapper. Perhaps they’re drawn to the light’s blue glow. The zapper poses no threat to the Luna moths, which are too large to fit through the miniature cage.

The Chesapeake’s new reality TV stars

Tom and Audrey have become the Chesapeake’s newest and most popular reality TV stars.     This charismatic duo, living on the Eastern Shore, is popular with more than locals. The Chesapeake Conservancy’s Osprey Cam has been watched in 48 different countries since its launch at the end of March.     Viewers have watched Tom and Audrey return to the Chesapeake, build their nest, mate and lay four cinnamon-and-cream-colored eggs.

In my Calvert country neighborhood, my ­kitties help me meet the neighbors

I grew up climbing trees and playing with Matchbox cars.     Scary spiders and slithery snakes? I didn’t bat an eye. Daddy’s girl was tough.     So when the kitty brothers Stripey and Babey bring home squirmy rewards, I’m the one among my family of hubby and two almost-grown boys to take care of it. Two ring-necked snakes have made it inside with kitties’ help.

It’s worth the work to attract these birds to your backyard

The goldfinches in my back yard are a real treat this year, borrowing their brilliant yellow from the Maryland flag our Preakness winner will wear.     I’ve tried luring them with plastic, tube feeders in past years to no avail.     This year, I hung two white, mesh feeders, or socks, filled with nyjer seed, and watched the bright birds flock to them.