April 1, 2015

Martha O'Kennon

It seems as if Mother Nature is trying to populate this piece of the world. This week I've seen three unidentified spiders, a midge or two, big and little ants, a new kind or two of bee, flowers starting to fill out the flower beds. Slowly, slowly they appear. Makes me think of the lines from the Song of Solomon (How come nobody caught me when I called it a psalm?):

For lo the winter is past,
the snows are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth at last
- the time for the singing of birds is come.

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

The new workshop is a hotel for little insects and spiders. The sun warms up the steel panels in the morning. When the panels warm up too much, the creatures hide elsewhere and may come back for a little while or not Here is the spider lineup. By the way, none of these spiders is bigger than about 5 mm.

This litle spider (about the size of a small ant) was on the west side of the shop a few days ago. Next is one from the south side, followed by one from the north side.

I had never seen a stonefly but knew it must be in the same family as the caddis fly. Both are aquatic beasties, at least their larvae are. They are called stoneflies because the larva makes a little shelter out of tiny stones, and passes the winter underwater. When I googled for some information on them, about half the entries were for companies that sell imitation stonefly fishing lures. Apparently the live ones are great snacks for trout, and so the trout will go for fancy imitation stoneflies. These places may even sell you a real one. Now you've seen one too. By the way, I saw them on the 30th of March. They were gone the next day. It seems that they, like the big saturniid moths (luna, cecropia, etc) have no working mouthparts. Their task is to mate and lay eggs. Period. The female will lay her eggs in the pond. Oh- one more bit of info - they are supposedly a sign of a healthy pond. :-)

I wasn't going to tell you this, but I got so excited at seeing my first stonefly that I forgot I was on the slope produced when they were shoring up the base of the shop, and it still being muddy from the winter snow melt, I slipped and decided to save my back and landed in the slop in my fairly good clothes. They are still in the washer as we speak.

I promised you some midges. Here one is a top view, and the other a side view so you can admire its mosquito-like humpback They have very feathery antennae. Picture 3 shows a very frazzed-lookng midge. Wonder what kind of drug it is doing?

Anyway, here is a little inchworm, about an inch long. Next is a mystery insect. It looks somewhat like the midges, but notice the little white tags on the last leg joints.

Meanwhile, in the front yard, a couple of small bees showed up to sup on crocus and aconite nectar. One was quite a lot smaller than the other. I may have pictures only of the larger.


Last but not least, here are some strays. First, an aphid on the shop door. Then an inchworm about an inch long. And finally an ant. It looks black here, but it was sort of bronze. One shot shows a reflection in its shiny metal ass, as Bender the robot would say. The next is down near the ground, where she didn't think I could see her.

Happy April Fool's Day. Did anyone put a sign on your back saying "kiss me"?

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2015