March 10, 2019
Yesterday, March 8, International Women's Day except in the USA (or have we joined the world?), we had 45 F degrees for a while in the afternoon. Out on the shop wall were a couple of newish items. You'll see! Since last week, when the Winter Aconites opened up a wee bit, a small amount of snow almost covered them again. But yesterday, look how the patch has grown. And other small patches, too indistinct to photograph, have pushed up into the light of day. Next week! But meantime, little Jadesy has managed to survive the winter. This marks a year and a half since she was budded off her mother, Jadesy I. You can note a few teethmarks on some of the lower leaves! So she not only survived but has helped feed some small creature too.
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.
Finally, an ant! Oops, not exactly a live ant, but there had to have been one in order to produce this nice corpse. Another roundish cadaver hung higher up on the wall. No clue what it had once been. Third here is the remains of some kind of bug, but cheer up! That is a living ant working on the left side. By the way, I'm starting to work on a web page with several ants that I've learned are NOT all variants on carpenters. I'll tell you when it will be ready for at least preliminary observation.
Two caterpillars, different but both geometrid moth larvae. So far these caterpillars are the most often seen creatures on the workshop siding.
In just the past two days, we have suddenly seen one true sign of spring. Midges, the tiny flies that are sometimes confused with mosquitoes, are back. Pictures 1 and 2 are the same little (about 5 mm) individual, just from different angles. Picture 3 shows an all-too-familiar scene - the midge in this shot has a red parasite on what I think of as her (female because males have frizzy antennae)neck. The third is our first leafhopper of the season! It has been a fairly faithful visitor, having shown up in almost every month of 2018 (I haven't gathered up all in other years!). But I just found out it hadn't been reported in Michigan in BG, so I just submitted the best picture (of mine!) so far.
Here is our first leafhopper of the season! It has been a fairly faithful visitor, having shown up in almost every month of 2018 (I haven't gathered up all in other years!). But I just found out it hadn't been reported in Michigan in BG, so I just submitted the best picture (of mine!) so far. Its name is Erasmoneura vulnerata. Last is the nicest side view photo so far, taken in April 2018.
Picture 1 here is a new spider found on the south wall of the shop. I was having an interesting time trying to guess what it might be. From its size (about 3 mm), it is probably a juvenile of one of a few spiders that share some of its color and shape: Picture 2 was taken today and shows our spider is a male (or maybe not - I haven't checked out this species for sexual characteristics). When I submitted the picture of the new one to iNaturalist.org, my friend @claggy (Matt Claghorn) had a third ID for this spider - Mangora placida, the Tuft-legged Orbweaver. I of course was not able to see any resemblance between the new spider and an adult Tuft-legged Orbweaver (picture 4). But after some good-natured sparring, Claggy convinced me that he could see two very light-colored little circles resembling the two bright white dots on M. placida, and with a bit of mind-twisting I can now see them too. If you click on picture 1, you will be able to see the two little dots - I circled them with tiny black circles. Try it. I think it is going to be interesting to watch this spider and see when the more adult characteristics start to show up better.
Here were my two contenders for the identification. Picture 1 is a Spotted Orbweaver which appeared only a few feet from the new one in the fall. Or could it be a baby Six-spotted Orbweaver, of which we have many in the summer (picture 2)? Both have the orangeish color and vertical dots, but neither has long prongy hairs on its legs!
Yesterday I was eager to see under the ice. I managed to pull the cord on the new floating heater, and out from under it raced a number of fishes. I don't know how so many of them could fit underneath that little heater. But they did - and here is a picture of one red fish before I moved the cord, and several coming out from underneath after I kicked the cord.
Since we still have lots of space in today's blog, I'm going to rerun last week's gif of happily frolicking fishes. You don't mind, do you?
Just these few little creatures coming to visit the Wall of Fame, otherwise known as the shop siding, is enough to start bringing my spirits back from the icy depths. I feel better already! I'm hoping that everyone who has been weighed down by life, the universe or anything else, can be buoyed up by the beauty (dormant or otherwise) of this world. Please take good care of yourself and each other.
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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2019