June 11, 2017

Martha O'Kennon

This week was pretty comfortable. You could go outside and spend an hour and a half taking pictures and not get overheated or too tired to continue. That blasted goutweed has taken much more than its own space. I found this article about it. This describes it well. It looks like Queen Anne's Lace because it's a member of the carrot, parsley, etc family. Despite its arrogance and stubbornness, it attracts some very interesting little creatures. Tiny little katydid nymphs, wasps, beetles and other little surprises spend all their time in its own garden of little white blooms. Here are some of the prettiest flowers in the yard this week: a peony flower fully open; a single yellow flower on the day lily Stella D'Oro (star of gold); and a spiderwort plant of blue with some hawkweed's yellow fluffy blooms.

Again, the ants were mostly variants of carpenter ants, but the bees were a rowdy group ranging from tiny to fairly large. This little ant (on goutweed) is one of our carpenter ants. The next image is one of the "sweat bees" - they come in a few shades of metallic colors - this is sort of a gold or coppery one. Third is a small bee with an interesting "triangle" pattern on its "saddle bags", where it collects pollen. Last is a little mason bee - it collects its pollen on the underside of its abdomen.

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. Or you can click on the image to get to the (usually) larger image. Then the info is displayed in the address line above.

The bees are still buzzing. This little black bee was feasting on goutweed nectar, as was the second one. The third one has an interesting short "tutu" at its waist. All these bees have switched from raspberry blossoms since the raspberries have changed from little flowers to unripe berries. The last one is most likely our old friend the Nomad. Its size is surprising when it sits on the tiny flowerets of the goutweed.

There were again quite a number of beetles. This black one was found on a day lily leaf. Another kind of beetle that likes lily leaves is the bright red and black Lily Leaf Beetle, which I've been killing wherever I saw them on lily leaves. A relative, another leaf beetle is the Oulema longipennis, of which I found two mating in the spiderwort. They actually were making a mess out of the spiderwort flower buds. This pinkish brown beetle was clinging to the shop siding.

On the goutweed, we found a couple of long-horned beetles. These beetles looked very delicate. One (the Rhopalophora longipes) was also spotted in 2015 right underneath the redbud tree. The next one was new to me, but seems to be in the genus Strangalepta. The third one, on the other hand, is one of the common lightning bugs (actually beetles). And the nice shiny fourth image is a metallic aqua beetle, also awaiting identification.

This weevil may be the same as one from last week, but the color scheme seemed a bit weathered. Here's an Asian Lady Beetle. See, the brighter color doesn't mean it is the more common "ladybugs". Last is a tumbling flower beetle, one of a number of differently marked species,

The goutweed is quite a gathering place for tiny carpet beetles. The first three are some of the colorations of the major species. The fourth one is a different species.

Jumping from beetles to bugs, we see that this week we discovered more leafhoppers than usual. I don't have a name for this light-green one; The next, which seems to have been molded from sand, ditto. The third one is an Agallia, or four-spotted, leafhopper. And the fourth, in broad colors of green, black, yellow and white, is new to me.

Here is a Lygus plant bug. We usually see these in droves at the end of the summer, all over the goldenrod. The next one seems so odd I'm having a hard time even inventing a name for it. At first I thought it was a left-over skin but now it seems to have such a pretty pink coloring I'm loath to call it dead or left-over. I like the pinkish color and would love to be able to say it is another leafhopper, but the hind legs don't show any little prongs to use in leaping. The stink bug in third place looks like the Euschistus genus we saw last week. Last is another unnamed stink bug with a grey-ish pink coloring.

Here's that columbine that seems to have raised itself from the dirt in the front flower bed. Nice pink, no? The bladder campion is doing much better than last year. The lovely fancy lily that had three blooms last year has two this year but is putting out a few more young shoots.

Here is a female damselfly of the species Ebony Jewelwing. It is a little iridescent but nothing compared with the male of the species, as appearing in this photo from 2016. The powdery blue damselfly (third image) is most likely to be the female fragile forktail damselfly. Last is a photo from 2015 showing the male, whose markings are different(note the little exclamation point) and whose primary color is green. The day I took the picture of the female she flew over to where a male was waiting. They immediately linked and flew off in tandem so I didn't get a picture to prove he had been there.

Last week we saw a picture of a potential skimmer. A large dragonfly flew past me in the south side yard. The one we saw last week didn't have the bluish white smears on its wings like this one. They are the result of some very fast flying and landing at an interesting angle,(and then flying off again). But I'm going to go with calling it some kind of skimmer. Its face is toward our left, and seems to have some kind of yellow face plate. Who knows? Filling in, here is an autumn fern with some of its color patterns, which only get more beautiful as the summer goes on, and a wild fern that I transplanted from the south garden.

This largish crane fly is a tiger crane fly with some brilliant gold markings (two images). Third is a little fellow that looks like the male gall midge, with green eyes thrown in for fun!

Here are a few tiny flies with extreme color palettes. The second one is a long-legged fly with aqua-tinged iridescent wings, and the third show off its gold tones.

Minettia lupulina is one of the larger fruitflies. I love their color combinations. Then comes a brown moth fly, a fly mimicking a moth, and a tiny black fly with iridescent blue wings.

This tiny fly on the "heliotrope" plant is worth seeing up close. The second one takes on many colors - how does Nature manage to do it? Same for this delicate orange one?

The picture-winged fly has been here for a couple of weeks and seems to be in greater quantity each day. This one has an impressive schnozz. The second is actually a robber fly. How can such a pretty little blue fly be a top predator in the insect world? I only saw one hover fly this week (It is called Eristalis transversa.)

This dainty little Scavenger fly looks like the way they used to draw a kid getting ready to dive off that leaf. This year I have found out the female and male of this member of the Snipe fly family.

Here's an odd one: is it a fly or a wasp? The second is easy to tell sex at least: its ovipositor is nice and long, hence a female. Now one of the things I always look for is the return of an odd insect. It is called a gasteruption, which sounds as if its stomach is exploding. Well, it is actually a kind of ichneumon, and this particular one loves goutweed. This one is a female as you can see from the ovipositor. I think we saw the male last week.

Before we get too far afield, let's take a look at some of the harvestmen (daddy-long-legs, etc) we've seen this week.

I want to do a side trip now to see some more of the things that gather on the goutweed. The little baby katydids like lots of plants, like the ones in this prairie dock. I even found a few today on some little petunias from Lowes.

But they especially seem to like to gather on the goutweed.

A few days ago I bought some annuals at Lowe's. Just to get a few butterflies, who like flowers and most of my weeds don't have the big gorgeous flowers. But yesterday I found that a couple of little baby katydids had settled in. Maybe Lowe's hadn't sprayed them enough, in which case I'd like to say some good things about that big box store. Other kinds of junior Orthoptera have made homes in other patches in the yard. I think this second image is of a tiny grasshopper.

Now let's see what the other creatures have been doing. This strange moth was in the prairie dock, and I've seen a number of little tiny moths leaping to keep out from under my feet, but meanwhile I just let them fly and skip around and was too lazy to chase them. Meanwhile, I did see this little wasp or other small hymenopteran, also on the dock. This fat spider may be a super-pregnant crab spider.

Here are a few jumping spiders. The first one is all black but with all clear legs. The second is a beautiful red, white and black spider. Then comes a spider which seems to have the characteristics of Mangora placida. Last but not least, this spider (must be a common house spider - seems to have a Trump face) is making sure that weevil doesn't get too happy in this yard.

This blue wasp is the Great Black [Sphex] wasp. The second one, which I called "long wasp", may in fact be one of the Sand Wasps. I don't know what number three is, but I admire the wing color.

So that is it. I've been recovering from my respiratory problems and hope this one is about over! For all of YOU, I wish a continued opening out of the new season!
Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2017