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  • Boogie woogie aphids, also known as the beech blight aphid, are translucent blue, but covered in white waxy fluff that deters predators from eating them. They live in groups on American beech trees, giving the branches a fluffy, ghostly appearance.
  • Like other aphids, the boogie woogies secrete honeydew, a sticky and sweet excrement that is exclusively associated with a fungus called “sooty mold.” The fungus turns tree branches black, adding a spooky ambiance to the forest. 
  • “Nothing’s creepier than hearing a fox make all these super crazy sounds in the middle of the night,” Deborah says. “They’ve got this extensive vocabulary of strange calls. They’re commonly misidentified at night because nobody associates these blood-curdling shrieks with a beautiful, cunning red fox.”
  • For insects looking for a place to land in all the muck, pitcher plants seem the perfect oasis. But these beautiful plants have evolved a unique feature —they are carnivorous. “These beautiful, sweet-smelling, attractive-looking plants just lure insects in,” Deborah says. “They end up in a pool of digestive enzymes. Then they are slowly digested.”
  • A new kind of ferocity is in town: Fishers are aggressive weasels that live on The Nature Conservancy’s Cranesville Swamp Preserve and that eat everything they can get their paws on. “If you’re a small animal, you don’t stand a chance. Nothing fazes them.”
  • As creatures of the night, bats are obvious Halloween favorites. What’s really scary is the bats’ devastating disappearing act. A disease called white-nose syndrome has killed an estimated 5.5 million cave-hibernating bats across the US and Canada.
  • Each of the hairs on the flannel moth's caterpillar has venomous spines that cause a stinging, painful rash and welts when anything comes in contact. “I rarely get scared in the woods, but I thought something was attacking me,” says Deborah Landau. “This is the forest ghoul I’m most scared of.”
  • Black-crowned night herons haunt the woods in their own special way. They appear to wear a dark cloak and sit sort of hunched over, waiting for small fish, crayfish and frogs to swim by in the middle of the night, terrorizing the usual nightcrawlers.  Return to story
Coolest and Ghoulish
Every day is Halloween if you know where to look in nature.

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