The benefits of “creepy” creatures

It’s Halloween! This is the time of the year so-called “scary” animals seem to creep their way into our consciousness. Everywhere—from the grocery store to the car wash, even the dentist’s office—seems inundated with gauzy cotton spider webs, vampire bats with over-sized fangs, and neon rubber snakes. Although these decorations can be fun, they also seem to play into human fears of these often misunderstood and beneficial animals.

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Camouflage revealed

Early fall finds most naturalists outside in fields of waist-high wildflowers. This was the case recently when a few Lake County Forest Preserves Environmental Educators stumbled across a miniscule critter with mighty camouflage capabilities. So small and inconspicuous, it was almost dismissed entirely as merely a part of the black-eyed susan flower (Rudbeckia hirta)—until it started to move.

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