July 1, 2018

Martha O'Kennon

Suddenly the trumpetvine is wide awake and putting out flowers everywhere. I'm having to lop off the overhead parts next to the path from back yard to north yard, otherwise one of these days those sharp vines are going to knock me off the path! The water lilies are doing fine- three different colors have now bloomed, but I'm looking forward to when all four kinds will bloom at or near the same time. We have a light pink, a magenta with lots of petals per flower, a variegated magenta and pink one, and a yellow-green one. This week my friend Hamsa's Rose Mallow started blooming.

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.

It has been raining nights and also part of today, which makes it harder to keep the bug in the sights from seeming to be melting away. The usual black (Camponotus) ants are with us as always. But every once in awhile we see something different and I try to get them represented. For instance, this new red-legged ant has been here a couple of days at least. But it had never registered with me until yesterday! Someone on iNaturalist.org said maybe it is called a Fierce Ant. What a picture of mayhem that brings up!

This mostly black and clear thing looks to be somewhere in the range of psyllid, aphid, or barklouse. I think this (middle) barklouse is an old friend, Metylophorus novaescotiae. Picture three is from September of 2017 and shows what the adult will look like if it is.

Back into beetles, this small round one was found on the smooth green of foliage. Another black weevil walked in about supper-time, and a beige one with light brown spots a few days later.

Just try counting to twenty on the back of this beetle. (That's how many spots there are supposed to be, but they ran a bit.) And this click beetle was found on the blue woodshop siding. This last image seems to be a lovely statuette in a garbage dump. I don't know how such an interesting artifact appeared in this picture.

Here is a very old friend, the Zelus luridus assassin bug. But the next two images are of what seems to be another kind of assassin bug. Can you spot the rostra (beaks) of the two new ones? As in the Zelus genus, they wear their rostra tucked up under what would be their chins if they had chins. I can't wait to find out what they are.

Here are a few kinds of plant bugs (Mirids): I'm still trying to figure out the genera (genuses) within this big group of plant bugs. Do you recognize the last image? Well, I'll give it away. It's actually the very colorful nymph of OOF (our old friend) the boxelder bug. It's a "scentless plant bug", which is not a "plant bug." See how tricksy those taxonomists are?

Here are a few kinds of leafhoppers (OR sharpshooters) - Remember leafhoppers are children of sharpshooters, but their spiky back legs give them away as leafhoppers.

Here are a few more "leafhoppers". Remember it's not just their shape but also whether or not their hind legs are spikey (they have this ratchet means of leaping and can go quite a way before you get him into focus..) .

Some more leafhoppers! First up, a Saddled Leafhopper. Next, a more traditional-looking leafhopper. Third, an Aphrodes leafhopper, which so far seems to be A. makarovi.

Last week we saw the Keeled Treehopper, which has set up a colony in one (or more) of my three Thistles. Here is a repeat image. It has one of the classical "family" look about it. The Treehopper (Keeled) excretes a sweet "honey-dew". The Ant earns this as a kind of baby-sitter's fee (I got this mental image from Kimberlie Sasan of iNaturalist.org) -- it tends the little nymphs so that all Mom has to do is to lay more eggs. Picture 2 is an enlarged image of one of the nymphs.

Here is the situation with the Two-mark Treehoppers. Each year since 2015, the Two-marks have been emerging by end of June. Here is a picture from June 2016: When the treehopper is newly emerged from its nymphal shell, it is a loveliest of all light bluish greens, the only exception being the two yellow marks which are already yellow when the rest of the new adult is still pale blue and white. In less than an hour, the usual black color has developed. Second, a fully grown nymph and some kind of spider on June 25 of this year. Arachnologists, what is the spider? Last, but not least, Here is the adult Two-marked Treehopper. After last year's colony "went to sleep" wherever that might be, I was sure that the colony would not reappear so far down in the Redbud but would continue moving town to upper unmolested real estate. But sure enough, by June 27th, both nymph and adult had reappeared only a bit higher up the tree.

This caterpillar showed up on one of the elm saplings on June 25th. A few years ago, I'd found a similar caterpillar but redder and blacker and pricklier. It turned out to be the caterpillar of the Question-mark Butterfly. So I have been assuming that these caterpillars (there were two of them) were also the larvae of that butterfly. Unfortunately, even though I left them completely alone, they began to shrink. I do wonder, though, if what I thought of as a shrunken caterpillar was actually a left-over larval shell. Cross all your fingers! Note: iNat has just said, yes, P. interrogationis!

These two damselflies both turn out to be manifestations of the Slender Spreadwing. I was confused because I'd seen long blue and brown eyes, and also short blue and short brown eyes. Turns out that the brown turns to blue with age, and that the short versions were females and the longer versions were males. What a conundrum! As for the yellowish dragonfly that I keep calling the Autumn Meadowhawk, it for now just a Meadowhawk.

Here is something odd. This old round sticker seems to be hatching from the bottom. Whatever is in there needs to break loose of that gel-thread- whatever the covering is. We'll stay in touch. We'll also have to keep our eyes open to see what this little ball of fluff is. We now must try to identify some of our fly (finally) pictures. What a beauty this little third one is (besides being a long-legged fly)! Finally a Chironomus midge!

Apparently there are those who call this flesh-eating fly "haemorrhoidalis" because of the red tail end. Ag shame. I wonder what this fat grey one is, aside from what are also long legs. Third is a small hover fly, the very tiny Toxomerus geminatus, and is also the name of the fourth fly in this row.

Some sheerly beautiful long-legged flies for you to feel better by looking at.

Here are a moth-mimicking fly, a bee-mimicking fly, and either a fly or an ichneumon wasp. Finally, a Woodlouse (pillbug) fly, with the white seemingly cut-out wing tips of a female.

How about the growing harvestman (daddy-long-legs) population?

Here are at least 3 different Orthoptera nymphs: katydid, cricket, and grasshopper (last two all guesses).

Here are a few moths. The only one I'm at all familiar with is the Plume Moth at the end of the row.

Sorry to say, I could not wrap my eyes around this mantisfly. I would never have been expecting one, and also couldn't quite get the head and tail together. Here is the best I could do with a few tweaks.

Some flower vignettes. We're approaching midsummer, so we should be expecting and enjoying these little points of light. Look closely so that you don't miss the ant at the bottom of the trumpetvine picture. The bright red geranium came from my friend Sue F.

We're approaching midsummer means we should be expecting more and easier-to-see spiders. My favorites are still the jumpers. Here's one in black and white. And another in brown and white. I don't have a name for either of them. Third is the Cross Orbweaver, fourth is the 6-spotted orbweaver.

First is a see-through spider. What a ccncept! An ever-moving little purplish spider. In the last shot, the spider isn't looking behind him.

Here is a Pirate Spider, but I'm not sure which one. The second one is a just a Common House Spider, probably one turning male before our eyes. Anyone with any familiarity for these, I won't mind if you help identify it. This little brown mystery is still a mystery though, and so is the end of our Spider Cavalcade.

Let's go snoop on the wasps and wasp blends, like the Ichneumons. I believe this tiny wasp is of the genus Cerceris. The second is another of those Cuckoo Wasps. The last is probably an Ichneumon Wasp.

These last three wasps gave me some puzzlement. The first one I didn't recognize but there was something about the shoulder design - I went to the section on paper wasps and found that several species follow that pattern. So I named it by genus Dolichovespula, long wasps that is. Now iNat has ok'd the name Aerial Paper Wasp, D. arenaria. The second wasp is one of the Polistes, but probably will turn out to be Polistes (paper wasp) fuscatus (Dark paper wasp). The last one is a yellow-and=black mud dauber running about at the edge of the pond.

Here we are at the end of a very busy week - brought to you by this view of the pond from the north side.

Goodbye for now, friends. Now we are all caught up with our blog. Let's see how long we can stay caught up!

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2018