June 25, 2017

Martha O'Kennon

Do you really want to hear about our weather the past week? I couldn't tell you. It was hot and humid and horrible, then we had two days of cool and crazy comfortable. Anyway, the common day lilies began to really come into their own, and the one patch of Stella D'Oro lilies outdid its whole history. At our AAUW Literature Study Group, the hostess kindly provided us with a nice rainbow.

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. Sometimes the second click will actually display a different view of the original image.

We had our quota of carpenter or sugar ants this week. The third image is of an ant hurrying (that's why it seems so fuzzy) along a redbud branch to find the newly hatched two-mark treehopper, which we'll talk more about when we get to the bugs.

I only had one bee picture - this one was on a golden coneflower. But moving swiftly to the beetles, they were a-plenty. I don't know what this little round mystery beetle is, or this looong black beauty with the orange legs but will keep looking for a match.

I can't resist one more carpet beetle, since its favorite host, the goutweed, has now all gone to seed. But here are two click beetles, one from noon and one from 5:00 p.m.

Here's a metallic copper-toned beetle, and a multi-colored metallic, a bunny-eared unidentified beetle or bug, and the first Japanese beetle. Oh yum.

Now we had a couple species of Lightning Beetles. I'm not quite sure if they all have bio-luminescence. Third and fourth show a Long-horned Beetle, Oberea tripunctata.

More beetles! Remember back when we had no beetles in the winter? I don't recognize the first image, but the second looks like many many little brown beetles. Third almost looks like a cattle skull, doesn't it? Fourth is a weevil of some sort, very attractive.

Another rhubarb weevil! Is it trying to eat the paint of the porch brick? Second is a very early nymph of the bug Acanthocephala terminalis, and third may be a bit earlier nymph of the same bug. It was much smaller and almost invisible against the shop wall.

Here we start to see the leafhoppers for the week. Some of these "leafhoppers" could still be spittlebugs - remember we haven't seen very clearly the back legs that should be spiny (part of the mechanism for hopping ability).

More leafhoppers.

More leafhopper candidates! Of course we all recognize one of them - the last one is our old favorite, the Candy-striped Leafhopper.

Yesterday I suddenly began to be able to see these tiny things. What are they? They're the nymph of a very common leafhopper, Coelidia olitoria. These nymphs are impossible to misread, since they look somewhat froglike. But they can have many different color combinations. The larger second one is my favorite since its big sad eyes make it look like a good copy of Oliver Twist saying "Please sir, can I have more?" Third is a leafhopper called a sharpshooter, and fourth is a tiny tiny creature that I thought at first was a bit of deserted skin, but then it started moving about.

This little leafhopper was so small, it could actually have been yellow or white. Next is, of course, the four-lined plant bug, the one that gnaws on my Chinese Lanterns. Third is a non-stinky stink bug.

The treehoppers are starting to show up. We have three kinds: The buffalos, of which this is a nymph (See last week's discussion.); The Entylia carinatas, which LOVE thistles. I spotted this one on a young thistle hiding in the front bed mimicking a treasured garden plant. Here it is nestled in that thistle on June 19th; and finally, the Two-mark Treehopper in image 3. This one was only hatched from its nymphal skin a short while before this picture was taken. If you click on image 3, you can see the beautiful baby-greenish-blue color of a freshly hatched one, next to its former shell. Note that the yellow of its "marks" has already developed. It's sort of like watching a Polaroid picture develop!

We have reached the damselflies and dragonflies. This first one is the female of the ebony jewelwing damselfly. This week I finally saw the clear-winged dragonfly (Anisoptera) that two of our colleagues (Jim Whitehouse and Kathleen Seidl) sent in. Oh, no. Your dragonflies' wings had a yellowish caste to them.. Mine seems not to have the yellowish caste to it. And it has little blueish-grey rectangular patches on each wing. I also got a good angle on another skimmer that looks like the female of the dragonfly whose male is the white-tailed skimmer.

We have finally gotten to the flies! I know the blow flies are considered socially low-class, but I love the green on this one! The Chrysopilus quadratus flies, female and male, are very common now.

Here are a succession of tiger crane flies. Each one is different in size or pattern on thorax.

A mixed bag of flies. A possible relative of the dung flies. A flesh-eating fly supping on a good-sized larva of something.

A green-eyed gall midge? A female gall midge; Another hover fly looking like a bee on this flower.

In a picture of a grass plant with various shaped grain tassels, one small figure begins to look like a green insect, and one of those sharp-nosed *leafhoppers* clinging to it. Here is a tiny fly with the posture of a robber fly. Here is a woodlouse (pillbug) fly, I think.

This midge is one of the Chironomini, which are usually very aesthetic. Second is a mosquito that tried to slurp me up, then one filled with my good old O+.

A few more flies: This is the signal fly, Rivellia colei and quadrifasciata. Then we have the moth fly, a fly that mimics a moth.

Let's take a quick excursion among the harvestmen. The first one looks right at home among the greens and blues of this thistle plant. The second is regal in purple and gold. The third one draws a simple lack and white among the pinks and greens of the prairie dock, a relative of rhubarb.

The baby katydids have been growing slowly but their coats are beginning to shine with new orange patches on their cheeks.

Visit the spiders? That would be a fascinating end to a day of color and form. I love the robust look of the ground crab spiders. The second holds its front pairs of legs in crab leg style, but I need to find a reference for this fellow. I don't remember ever seeing before the upholstered look of this jumper.

Is this spider big and green or is that just its coloration borrowed from its surroundings? The big gold and red orbweaver is probably a cross orbweaver. Right now it's no more that 3 mm in any direction. Oh my! Look at the eyes and open mouth of this pirate spider as it tucks into a male common house spider.

We had one of those little Symmorphus canadensis potter wasps this week. A braconid wasp joined us on the shop siding, and that was about it for the wasps. The ones that run about underfoot are paper wasps and some larger ones that won't be capable of sitting for the camera until the goldenrod blooms.

We do have a few pretty scenery pictures to end up with. The water lilies aren't suffering so much from the curiosity of the neighborhood clowns, like raccoons. The trumpetvine buds are growing very fast. I am having to pinch off a vine every once in a while or I will hit my head on a cluster of buds and wasps later. Although it hasn't rained very much, some of the raspberry canes are becoming heavy with big purplish black berries for my breakfast. :-)

I now must say good night and goodbye for another week. I hope everyone is doing well, and able to think about some things other than our respective political systems. In our good times we must think of how to make the world work better.

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2017