October 28, 2018

Martha O'Kennon

After only a month or so of autumn weather (rain, storms, and bits of color in the trees.) Ordinarily the sugar maple is at least reddish by now. But no, it is still pretty much holding to its pallid pinkish color. Next door, the Norway maple is showing signs of the blotchy disease to whom it is so vulnerable. But we have solace in the view of the Euonymus whose color begins at the bottom and spreads upward, and welcomes visitors to the house.

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.

Ants! There are a couple of kinds out there now. First (of course) is our favorite tenant, one of the Carpenter Ants family. Second is a nice reddish ant, possibly the same as the one whose picture in the dark appeared in the last blog (Number 3).

The barklice didn't disappoint either. Let's see, the one who showed up most often was the "Tiger" (Graphopsocus cruciatus) (First image). The second image is how the Fateful Lachesilla looked last week, and the third is what I'm thinking is this week's version. There is every chance that these two are actually not the same. Need more pictures, need more pictures...

The first image that we see in this next row looks so much like Trichadenotecnum alexanderae, a most lovely barklouse that we haven't seen for a year. The second one is from last year.

This yellow barklouse is, I believe, a first for my yard. The two photos were taken close together in time, so the second picture, what I would ordinarily have called a Plant Bug, now seems to be the dorsal view of the first barklouse. It looks as if there are various possibilities for different people.

Maybe a psyllid?

Maybe a Lizard Barklouse?

This yellow nymph first made me think Plant Bug, but others have another opinion. Someone on iNaturalist.org said it looked like a barklouse. Then I saw the next one and think IT may be a barklouse too. This little fellow (Number 2) showed up this week. It's so tiny that it's very hard to see in a normal frame, but it magnified pretty well and we can now see an interesting pattern on it. Number 3 is the new candidate. It reminds me of another of the Barklice, Metylophorus novaescotiae, that we discovered in June 2015 (number 4 here). I'll have to keep an eye out for our new little critter.

You keep your eyes peeled and I will too!

On to Beetles. A beautiful red one (two views) and a large charcoal grey weevil. Look at the eye of this weevil. It's brown, just like mine. How could you not think of us as distant cousins?

Here is an aster going, going... But a number of creatures seem to like being there. The big brown thing that looks like a sack of something may be in there trying to get as many nutrients out of the flower and into its own storage facility. What? Look at all the little things that look like other living things and then think about how many life forms can be packed into the head of a flower.

Bugs! I'm getting a bit better at identifying the more common types of Bugs. Of course, it is no strain to identify the red-eyed Zelus luridus Assassin Bug. (Apparently Zelus luridus is the only species of Zelus in Michigan). While turning off the water to the pond, I happened to see this Boxelder Bug looking for a warm window to snuggle into for the winter. Even though it has an annoying reputation, I love to see the red and black against the green leaves. Have a nice sleep, little pest. Also now that we have met Drymus unus, one of the dust-colored seed bugs, we are seeing it everywhere (within our confines). But wait!!! What is this happening? A PAIR of D. unus, chasing each other along a join line of the shop.

Also now that we have met Drymus unus, one of the dust-colored seed bugs, we are seeing it everywhere (within our confines). But wait!!! What is this happening? A PAIR of D. unus, chasing each other along a join line of the shop. We also saw Drymus unus's relative (looks just like, but completely black! But were there any Leafhoppers? Why yes, since you ask. This is it For the Whole Week! It is one we have seen often or in the form of a close relative. (Probably Eratoneura something.)

We're now up to the Flies. If this little one were better lit, it would look to me like a Barn Owl. Next is a lovely Chironomid Midge, and finally a Gall Midge.

Here is a Moth Fly in an unaccustomed position - wings folded! Then a very neat pretty fly with black thorax and see-through wings that make you ask: is this what I think it is? Assuming your answer was a Hover Fly, I think so too. How strange to see (image 3) a fly that looks so much like a Root Maggot Fly and yet is so large!

The brown lacewings are still kicking. In fact, if the last shot is labeled right, this is a brown lacewing larva -- and larvae mean the next generation is on its way. (It's always a good sign when it's hard to tell head from tail.)

Too bad we didn't have any fishes out under that net meant to keep the leaves from the maples and the redbud from falling into the pond, to become a health hazard as they decompose in the winter. But here is a nice colorful view of the pond cum leaf net. In fact if you will just take your glasses off, it should flow together into a wild scene and then you can imagine just about anything you would like to see in a pond. Maybe even Nessie.

Here is one more set of photos of one caterpillar who will grow up to be a Geometrid Moth.

Now we can look at some of the various kinds of moths who spend their whole lives up to the point of becoming adults who can now free-roam. They usually are seen with two or three segments out of the sack drawing the whole up and down the shop wall. Here are a few. You will see that they have rolled up bits of leaf to make an elegant gown. That's why some of them are called Leaf-Roller Moths.

Finally -- a walk with the spiders. Believe it or don't, the spiders don't so much go to sleep for the winter as sort of change the guard. There are spiders you virtually NEVER see in summer, spring or fall, but in the winter, one day BAM and there is the traveler. But don't worry, the winter wonders are still not out. What you are seeing now is the interesting ventral view of [probably] a Common House Spider, then two spiders with faces carved into their heads or abdomens.

Here's a nice big Grass Spider running along the edge of the shop. Second is a Ghost Spider of some kind, and last is the Nursery Web Spider as often seen on some greenery in a plant still green just above the spider's escape to Under the Shop. Remember Nursery Web Spider holds front two legs together. Practising for the three-legged race?

I think I told you that the Common Spotted Spider was hiding out in a crevice in the siding, and this is she. She is quite good at ducking back in when someone comes close to her. You want to know, where do I come off calling her "she"? Look at the picture we took a couple of weeks back... This last spider is probably a "Sheet web or Dwarf Weaver".

Oh happy day! I have been bemoaning the lack of wasps, but now I see that I have a few tucked in with the ant pictures. I don't think many ants have those blocky-faced heads. So I'm going to call these ones wasps.

Well, People, if you think this was a very short blog, I think so too. There were fewer of each denomination but some are wavering more than others (Like WASPS.) The spiders are still out but fewer. Nothing like my beloved goldenrod for attracting godzillions of new things. I think that we will have an assortment of creatures dropping in for a while but getting lonelier and lonelier. Then one day you'll see: a bit of warmth, a bit of sun, and then Blowie! It all starts again. I just hope we can convince the people who claim to know what's good for us to look harder and help keep this lovely world alive for another generation.

So we had better take a break now - enjoy the animals and the flowers in here - I hope one day I can show you some of the real things! Take care, there will be another spring and certainly there will be some surprises between now and then.

Love, Martha

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