October 25, 2015

Martha O'Kennon

Fall is coming in deeper but this week we had a little respite - it was almost balmy for a couple of days - days in which creatures reappeared that I hadn't seen since spring! The picture on the left is the berry of the Kousa Dogwood at Kathy Seidl's house (and photographed by Kathy). In the center is the last of the Saffron crocuses. I was so happy with the nice shadow of the anthers inside the flower. Last is a branch of a maple sapling out in the weed patch.

Remember that there is information in the name of the file for each image. You can see it by mousing over the image - look at the lower left of the screen. I would try clicking on the image. If the little "+" sign appears, it means you can enlarge again. While it is in "+" mode, click on something you want to see more clearly and it will zoom to that section. Then the info is displayed in the address line above. If the image has been cropped so that clicking on it doesn't result in a larger picture, you can always hit control plus to increase the size of the image.

Alphabetically, I should mention this rather large ant (the one with the translucent abdomen) is still receiving guests. Then we run right into the beetles: there was an Asian ladybug in the goldenrod remains. These are the ladybugs that nobody seems to like. Why not? They bite or pinch, they smell bad and from quite far away, and probably worst of all, they bring their big families inside to spend the winter. On the other hand, they eat small pesky things, not that any of the things in MY yard are pests, unless you count the aphids. This weevil is called the redbud bruchid, and they are common wherever - guess what - redbuds are found. This last beetle, who looks as if his shirttail is not tucked neatly away, is a kind of rove beetle. The reason their wings stick out is that the hard shell that normally covers beetles' wings are only about half sized.

Moving from beetles to bugs, we have a pure black unidentified black bug, a damsel bug that hasn't been seen (by me) since spring. The damsel bug is not a damsel in distress, rather it is a roving dragon with a good sucking mouthpiece ready to make a smoothie out of its prey. Third in this row is that long-necked seed bug from last week, but a much nicer picture this time.

The air was thick with tiny flying flecks of white, about 2 mm long and .5 mm wide, which land on the shop wall and wait to surprise you. All you can see is a white fleck but when you crop the picture and enlarge it you see that it is a fleck of white covered with flecks of various colors, especially reddish. There are so many kinds that sometimes they get lumped into bigger genera. This first one is genus Eratoneura. Another one might look like number two, which is of the genus Erythroneura, with its interesting cuneiform designs. Number three is in genus Arboridia. The fourth one, with its quite complex overall pattern, is the only one I found in the Erythroneura genus to have a specific name "comes". It also has a real common name, Grape Leafhopper. I do so love the leafhoppers. They will always surprise you.

Speaking of surprises from leafhoppers, the other night the darkness fell quite suddenly. I decided to go out on a night picture shoot, and had attached my little LED light to the camera to act partly as a flashlight and partly to put a little extra light out there. Suddenly I felt something land on my hand. It turned out to be this little leafhopper, which I submitted to Bugguide and got an ID quickly from another contributor. I recognized the name, Coelidia olitoria as the name of the cute little froggy-looking nymph with the big sad eyes. The next big surprise is that the adult (that jumped onto my hand) was in the yard at the same time as the little nymph, but I didn't know they were the same species. It's sort of like when the timelords change their appearances. Don't ask for any clarification on that. Just think Tom Baker and the other dudes. Finally our candy-stripers are still here.

These bugs just won't go away! New this week are this Eremocoris plant bug, this terra-cotta stinkbug, another one that I think we've seen this year, and another stink bug - Banasa dimidiata - a new one for Michigan data in Bugguide at this time of year.

You'll be happy to hear that even though it is fall here, it is spring in the Southern Hemisphere! Biddy Greene found this little dragonfly in the garden a couple of days ago. I'm going to try to enlarge it so that you can see the interesting markings on its eyes. It does look a bit like a pair of eyes and a nose right in the middle of the eyes.

The flies haven't deserted us, quite. These Acalypratae flies with their orange eyes are still common - in fact, I don't remember when they weren't around. So are these tiny March flies, called "fall species", or Bibio longipes, meaning of course "long legs". They tend to lie as if sunbathing, with their legs spread out in all directions. Their wings catch a subtle kind of rainbow. There are still a few kinds of "ordinary" flies, but they're getting fewer too.

The harvestmen are still making babies. They don't look much different from the adults, just miniaturized. I suspect these three are different species.

I know I should have waited to show the harvestmen until time for the spiders, but I told you I was going to move alphabetically (in my system) through the lineup. That makes the lacewings next. This brown lacewing has either just emerged from this case or it is standing very near someone else's newly opened case. They really are lacy, aren't they?

Only a couple of little things stand between us and our beloved spiders. Here is another of those little bark lice. I don't think they are actual lice, but that's their name. And there's this little mystery!

Why, look, it is finally spider time. The common house spiders have quite a number of baby ones. This little fellow is only a couple of millimeters across. Meanwhile this handsome spherical one is nearly 6 mm across. This one has found itself quite a nice meal.

Don't think the crab spiders are all gone. Here is my favorite little Northern crab, and here is its somewhat stockier cousin, a ground crab spider. And finally, a lovely little jumper with its headlights glaring.

Oh wait! We still have to talk wasps. For some reason, I have been finding dead or dying wasps on the stairs and the other day, one was amusing the cats by flying around the kitchen ceiling while the light was on. Once I turned off the light, it came down to the door and let me pop a jar over it with a piece of stiff paper to close it in and then set the jar outside the door. I believe they are coming in through the opening between the window and screen upstairs where I run an exhaust fan during hot days. Well, here is a male Eastern paper wasp, which I found in Marshall outside the pulmonologist's office, a headless German yellowjacket found outside, and finally a very small wasp-like creature that I'm suspecting is a new kind of Ichneumon wasp.

Last year's blog came to a screeching halt with the October 24 issue. I'm editing this one on October 23, 2015. If I can continue to find some wildlife, you know I'll share it with you. Promise.

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2015