October 22, 2017

Martha O'Kennon

The weather? Well, I can't complain, can you believe? Perfect fall weather - rainy and sunny in turn. But... I wish we had had more rain earlier in the season. OK, I said it. We here escaped the hurricanes that have demolished

Both the asters and the goldenrod are covered in fluff- in the asters you can see each flower has made a corresponding seed head. The resurgent hibiscus is still trying to bloom but only one by one. The oak saplings are full of new growth for the coming year. What can spell "autumn" more clearly than all this?

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.

Here are the three usual suspects as per barklouses/barklice. Still going strong. Their tiny bodies are visible without a lens but look like dots and lines. I'm glad to see them - so much variety. The fact that they rule in the early spring and again in autumn makes them one of my landmarks. The first is a very common kind around here - Graphopsocus cruciatus. Second is a Scaly-winged Barklouse, Echmepteryx hageni. The last is Trichadenotecnum alexanderae.

The saga of the ladybugs continues. Here we have one casting off one skin after another. We know the adult is an Asian lady beetle by the "W" or "M" design, depending on your angle of view.

Here's another kind of lady beetle larva. Is it the asian one we've been tracking?? This little brown one may or may NOT be the one dying in such numbers in the window ledge (outdoors) of our favorite coffee establishment The third little metallic black and copper beetle I feel I've seen before, but can't find it NOW!

Here we have our old friend, the olive green metallic beetle. And a long orange beetle with a black head. And finally, the Black Vine Weevil.

Over to the bugs. Here's a junior Assassin Bug, a bit late in the season? Now begins the onslaught of the Boxelder Bugs. In past years, I've heard people complain about the numbers they seem to achieve, more each season. Now it seems to be my turn. So far I haven't seen them indoors, but now I see them cramming themselves between the clapboards by the deck.

Here's the little Long-necked Seed Bug nymph, and its adult version. Also a nymphal form of the gorgeous Green Stink Bug. I hope we will see one of those soon. Here's my favorite picture from November 2015

Another of the commoner stink bugs- I must look it up sometime (or so can you!) And the Western Conifer Seed Bug, getting to be one of our frequent flyers. Oh yes, it did manage to get into the house. I kindly opened a window and suggested it would be happier outside (though it won't). We seem now to be THE place to go for "case creatures", which if I'm to believe the sources are likely to be a kind of moth. The cases are soft and pliable and the creature inside steers its case up or down the wall, maybe finding something edible on the way?

Here's another case creature. There seem to be a lot of different kinds. Some of these images may or may not show a smaller creature mating with the larger one. Maybe I will figure out what's going on SOON. What do YOU think?

The leafhoppers keep coming. I need to do some serious naming of them when the visitors back off for the winter. The red and white ones are rife.

Surprise! A new kind of leafhopper. This is Amblysellus curtisii. Not only are its stripes unique, it has a scowly face. This is the very first one I've ever seen.

You'll be happy to know that we still have a number of cricket kinds. This first is our oldest cricket friend, the Jumping Bush Cricket. Here is a nice black one that I brought home from somewhere. It has some surprising points of red near its mouth. Next is (probably) a Narrow-winged Tree Cricket (Oecanthus niveus). It was crouching at about the place where I usually find the nymphal Assassin Bugs, but was obviously something with nice legs for jumping. It looks predatory, but I don't think so. It doesn't have the right kind of raptorial arms (arms for grabbing). Their loooong antennae make it hard to get a nice photo that shows them off.

Yep, we're out of beetles, bugs, and crickets - so it must be Earwig time. Here's the European Earwig, looking very fine. Next is a little male Bibio (March Fly)- but a species that is more common in the autumn. It is either Bibio longipes (look at those long legs) or B. slossonae (if the body hairs are light-colored but I can't say from this photo - I'll keep looking for one in the sun). This fly of a beautiful blue coloration is a new one for me. Here it is in context.

Here are a few mosquitoes or midges. The far right one is probably a tiny crane fly.

This shadowy Halloween view is of a fly species (maybe a crane fly) in an eery green meadow setting. The little spotty-winged fly is back, as is this female woodlouse (pillbug) fly.

Fly or wasp? I think I'm going to change my mind later, but for now here it is. I can't resist putting this balmy fall afternoon shot in the goldenrod in at this place. And here are the pods that came from those trumpetvine flowers!

This loooong twiggy-looking thing is a mystery to me. And now we rejoin the new generation of harvestmen (Grand-daddy Long Legs, etc) with this romantic vignette. The final harvestman is the first one I've seen in a long time that wasn't red. In fact it seems to be imitating the tomb of King Tut.

The Common House Spiders quite dominated the Spider Scene. Here is a tiny one. The next one is a Ground Crab Spider, not one of those petite dainty little crab spiders, but a husky one. Here's a baby Pirate Spider. This beautiful blue spider has the face of a space alien from Area 51. Or was that 52? Despite its elegant coloring, it is actually a Cobweb Spider.

Are you kidding me? That's it? No more spiders or bugs or anything? Well, it's Autumn. In a week or so, we'll be in November. Most of the "little" world is starting to make nests, find a cubby hole, etc. in the ground or in a crack in the siding or actually shimmy under doors or through cracks in your foundation. They just want to be close to us, well, maybe to our crumbs or other yummy prizes. I don't go down to my basement unless it is necessary, even though I know I could find some interesting spiders. Good thing we don't get the Southern Black Widows. My father was a meter reader for the Water Department, and many of the meters were down inside manholes. I noticed that the spiders moved away from him and never went on the attack. If the hole had been smaller it would have been easier to brush up against one.

Oh wait. I did promise to show you a couple of stanzas from the poem "Their Haven". Well, I'm turkeying out. You may find that one is enough for a week's worth. (More next week)

Their Haven
By Ed Growling Pooh

One spoon amid nitre eery
Whileupon dirt weekend weary
Yeo verminy a quaint end-cure, yes, vellum of her god-in-law.
Essen audit, near Lee Nappy
Sodden Lethe camera-happy,
Esso some ungent Lee Rappy, ravioli clambered o'er.
Twosome visit, or I'm uttered, tapioca clambered o'er
On Lethe's Strand, nutty Moor.

Let me know if you need any hints...


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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2017