May 27, 2018

Martha O'Kennon

I guess we got what we asked for. The air conditioner is on and I've changed the ducts so that upstairs gets more AC and downstairs gets less, the opposite of the winter settings with respect to heat.. I've finally planted a few cheery annuals in my two window boxes. And yes, the raspberries are just beginning to bloom. I'm expecting a few kinds of wasps to come to the raspberry patch.

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.

I told some of you that the baby robins seem to have been attacked by some kind of predatory bird. I had come home one afternoon to see the mother flying about hysterically, and when I looked at the babies, there were none to be seen. The nest has been empty for a few days. But yesterday I saw the Momma Robin sitting on her nest again. I didn't know they would make new eggs when they have suffered such a loss. There were a few ants around. This one seems to be at an unusual angle. And here is an interesting sight. One large Carpenter Ant is carrying a dead one of the same species - all over on the kitchen floor! Did it find a dead ant and freak out wondering where to dispose of it? Finally, a group of much smaller ants attacking some tender oak leaves.

The beetles are burgeoning. This first is a flea beetle of some sort, and you've seen them here before. I think the next beetle is a click beetle. Third is a red beetle but no ID yet. Fourth is the most amazing beetle I've ever seen. Look at those lamellate antennae. Two people on identified it as Genus Isorhipis, A member of False Click Beetles, Family Eucnemidae. But They don't have any photos of the member I was going to go with.

More beetles! The first might be a picnic beetle, but not for sure. I thought the second one (and the third)was a rove beetle, but borisb in said "Omalium" for the genus and I like that. Interestingly, the two major contenders are O. rivulare and O. riparium, both of which imply some affinity with rivers or streams. I was wondering if they might have come to my pond?

This big greenish beetle was identified on as a Ground Beetle. Second is another weevil. And the third caught a lot of glare from the sun, but has very interesting markings. @nickbedard suggested genus Aphodius, and this might be the Maculated Dung Beetle.

Onward and bugward. Here are our bugs for the week. First, of course is an assassin bug nymph. Now, this is a nasty decision. Is this bug a planthopper? Then we see a tiny blue leafhopper.

Next is the nymph of one of the Plant Bugs, called a Mirid. And second MIGHT be the nymph of the Green Stink Bug seen from head down. The last two are two different kinds of stink bugs on one of the plants in my yard.

First here is probably a looper (inch worm), and next is the caterpillar of the Gypsy Moth.

Flies, anyone? We had lots of mosquitoes, some cool midges, fungus gnats, the usual early spring flies. I really believe all the creatures on this row are kinds of mosquitoes.

Here are three more mosquitoes.

A fungus gnat, I think. And a moth fly, meaning of course a fly that looks like a moth.

A vinegar fly -- one of the prettiest flies around. And a root maggot fly, one of the most common flies these days.

Here are some more baby harvestmen/daddy-long-legs. See how their patterns take on more and more depth as they age.

Here is some of the jack-in-the-pulpit that is going mad right now. Then the Dame's Rocket and the raspberries are getting along very nicely. The weeping redbud is really weeping now that it is so heavy with baby leaves.

Here are a few of the non-insects, non-spiders. The pillbugs seem to all be related but I've seen more colors in them, just not this week. Here are a beautiful tiny snail and two kinds of slugs that came up from the ground when we had a couple of rainy days this week.

I had seen a spider among these skeins of fiber, hopefully guarding the little spiders within, but after a day or two, little black wasps seem to be coming from the skeins. They remind me of the little black wasps that come out of stink bug barrel-shaped eggs. This seems to mean that the little black wasps prey on the embryonic insects. I've been watching that big assemblage for days now to see if any ittle spiders might eventually appear. In the second picture, there seem to be spider-like arms reaching around the skeins. Hmmmm. I photographed the region for several days. Now the larger skein of skeins is gone, and I'm hoping that there are some very small spider babies still around. Here is the original picture that made me think that an adult spider stays with the babies and may actually help them out of their skein.

Here is a Common House Spider, a female. But the next frame shows one of the baby CHS's legs turning red, and that is the sign of a male. Though small, the Common House Spiders can trap some amazingly large bits of prey. I wish I knew what was that gorgeous green prey in the third picture.

We had many kinds of spiders. This first one is a cobweb spider, probably genus Steatoda. The next image is of a very brightly colored Ground Crab Spider. And last, a Ghost Spider. They are known by their blackish mouth parts.

Here is another mystery spider who has caught a pillbug many times her size. It is wrapped up to keep it a) still and b) fresh. The second image is of a (probable) Pirate Spider who seems to have caught one big or maybe 2 middle-sized preys. I don't recognize number three, but #4 is almost surely a Wolf Spider with its three rows of eyes.

The pirate spiders are among my favorites. Especially Mimetus puritanus, which has a large whitish feature that looks like a moustache, pair of eyes, or grin on its abdomen/face, that is a face-like assemblage of parts which is usually on the dorsal view of the abdomen. Picture 1 is probably Mimetus puritanus, as is picture 2. The jumping spiders are another favorite. Last week we saw so many kinds, but this little one in the striped pajamas is the only one I spotted this week.

While all this was going on on the darker side of the shop wall, THIS was happening on the south sunny side. These little yellow and black spiders are the newborns of the Cross Orbweaver. Soon they will be making a web for catching food on. In the second shot, the babies are getting farther apart, and in the last photo you can see the spiderosity even of the babies.

This pretty much summarizes what I saw on the shop wall and to some extent among the young plants in the yard. Here is one small goldenrod crab spider, on goldenrod leaves but making itself as yellow as possible. Watch what happens when I get closer and closer. Right, the spider's eyes retreat under a golden helmet.

Just a couple of other things you wouldn't want to miss. A yearling toad; Spooky leaving Bunny's cage; The water lily leaves cover a certain amount of the water surface. A round magenta bud floats among them. It should burst into bloom soon. Relax, this week is over.

Goodbye for now, friends.

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2018