October 5, 2014

Martha O'Kennon

Well, it has been quite chilly the last few days. The little bees and bumblebees and wasps who have been constant faithful friends for several weeks cling to the fading asters and dessicating goldenrod. When it does warm up for a while, they are back in business. Today there wasn't much action. One thing I did find fascinating on the poor old goldenrod was a tiny tiny creature that looked like a walking feather. Only when I looked at the enlarged pictures was it possible to see that it had an end with eyes and six legs.

Click on any picture to enlarge it. Click again to REALLY enlarge it.

It was so windy that i broke off the spray of goldenrod that it was on. It seemed to move around to escape my view (and just maybe the automatic flash that came on sometimes). Is this an odd creature or what?

I took a bunch of pictures despite the wind that still wanted to blow the goldenrod spray away. The very last one i saw as i loaded them onto the computer was odd- it showed a second creature right next to the weird one. I was afraid that I'd missed seeing what the two did with respect with each other. Fortunately when I got back out, the weird one still had hold of the aphid. So I took another batch of pictures. Sure enough our weird one was intent on what it was doing to the aphid. If you stretch out the second picture you can probably also find a small reddish ant-like thing trying to look unobtrusive.

Click here for the picture from bugguide.net:

Emboldened by a little success in identifying, I went back to another little fellow who had been on an aster a couple of weeks ago, and on the goldenrod a few days ago. It was a tiny beetle-like creature with a snout that resembled the snout of a weevil. I did a search at http://bugguide.net under weevils, and looked through a large number of pictures, finally lighting on one that resembled our little one. Chasing down the names that had been given to the one in the file, I found it was called "redbud bruchid". Aha! The aster I saw him on the first time was right under my redbud tree!

Click here for the picture from bugguide.net:

Did I mention that this little weevil is in danger of running into the crab spider lurking near it? Did I also mention that the little one on the aster was right under my redbud tree? You really get to use all your guessing and all the clues you have to identify insects and other little creatures! Look also how the spider blends in with the yellow flowers. Apparently this is a natural ability. Here is another Northern crab spider from an aster, with its usual coloration.

Bugguide.net is a wonderful resource. If you find a picture of something unknown to you, I'd love to see it , but also try your hand at identifying it at

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