February 6, 2017

Martha O'Kennon

For the past few days, I haven't seen much action out there. I think I have an answer, however, to at least one of our unanswered questions. Why has the green long-jawed spider been visible this winter and last and yet I haven't seen one the rest of the year. I actually did some reading-up. According to Common Spiders of North America, by Richard. A. Bradley these spiders make their webs in pines or other conifers, specifically in the lower branches, so now my summer plans will expand to looking up into the big old blue spruce that hangs over the workshop.

The green long-jawed spider (Tetragnatha viridis)on the shop wall January 14, 2017 and February 16, 2016. And here are hump-backed orbweavers, Eustala anastera, on January 19, 2017 and February 8, 2016.

The strange "fat ant" that we saw on January 1 of 2017 (image 1)was also seen last year (January 16, 2016)(image 2), and here is one from February 7, 2017 This "ant" turns out to be a "gall wasp" instead. I don't know what the gall might look like, and the name "gall wasp" is simply a placeholder for several genera and species. But what we do know is that this is the right time to see them.

A spider that I had mislabeled as a cross orbweaver (Araneus diademmata)when I first saw it this year (first image) I found in last year's collection also unlabeled (image 2). It turns out that this is probably Mangora placida, the tuft-legged orbweaver. Images 3 and 4 are of Leucauge venusta, the Orchard Orbweaver. Here is an adult Mangora placida from iNaturalist.net.

One of the mysterious bugs is still with us. I don't know why it hangs around here when I've never learned its name. (Addendum December 5 2020: It is Drymus unus, one of the Dirt-colored Seed Bugs.) Here it was in December 2015. Third is still a mystery Bug.

Here is a rove beetle from January 2017, another from January 2016, and a (possibly) similar one from March, 2016.

On January 21, I saw a fungus gnat, a large (larger than a midge) kind of tiny fly. And here is one with lighter wings from December 22,2015. Then this little spotted-winged fly appeared, only a few mm long, and then another kind of fly red-eyed , the same size and shape as the spotty one, but not a spot to be seen (last two images). I wonder if they are a mated pair with such an impressive dimorphism.

Here we have a little red-eyed fly from January 21, 2017 and a similar one from May, 2015.

We started off with the green long-jawed orbweaver, but there are a lot of species whose bodies are more brownish. Here is one from January 19, 2017 (first two images) and another, which may be different on February 2, 2017, the statistically coldest day of the year.

We have also seen quite a few different-looking Orbweavers (non=long-jawed). Some of them may later turn out to be the same species, but I can't tell them apart very well now.

On February 7, this long-fanged ghost spider appeared outside. A similar one was out there on November 26, 2015. The third image is of a mystery spider, found on January 3, 2017.

I hope you enjoy correlating "bugs we have seen in January and February 2016 and 2017" as much as I do. This should gradually start to take some kind of form as we compare populations year by year. I know it's been a long time in between blogs, but things should start to take off pretty soon!
Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2017