January 19, 2020

Martha O'Kennon

Cold. Freezing. Melting. Somewhere between 25 and 50 most days since we've met. Above is a picture taken from the north end of the pond showing an assortment of the fishes on the south end. This is going to be an odd-ish blog post, since we did have a goodly showing of spiders but not a whole lot of other things!

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.

Our Small Honey Ants were still running (slowly) around out there. But Oops: The poor old barklice must have tucked themselves in somewhere warmer than on the shop's exterior siding. I haven't a single picture of one. A surprise Psyllid, however, showed up again for the first time since December. The second image is the one from December 22, 2019. Third is from January 15, 2020, almost a month later. It may be the same fellow as from December though. Do you see the little white elongated bead-like things on the right side of the picture? I believe this Psyllid has had an infestation of some kind of little parasitic creatures, and one of my December pictures shows a similar infestation, if that is what this is.

Bees? Nope. Beetles? I don't think so, except maybe for this one that seems to be hanging onto a leaf in the pond. To its side is a little red-marked fish. You know, it does look as if the little reddish fish might have legs. Its size, also, in comparison with that of the "beetle", might indicate a VERY small fish if that is what that is! The "fish" reminds me of my favorite aquarium fish, the Clown Loach. So maybe this blue creature is a beetle, or maybe not. If it is, it's the only one of the week. But we really did have a Stilt Bug, which resembles the one of genus Jalysus that showed up last on December 22, 2019 (picture 2). The new one is in picture 3.

Even the Flies were conspicuously absent. A couple of Fungus Gnats (picture 1) or Midges (picture 2, I think), that was about it except for the new fly (to me) in image 3.

For quite some time, a looper hung straight up and down, as in picture 1, and quite dead to all extents and purposes. But the other day it seemed to come to life as in picture 2. Since then it has assumed both poses. Third here is a mystery object - looks like a once-living creature, but I don't know what creature. Now we can jump to the spiders.

Well, almost the Spiders. I was finished taking the sparse pictures one day and, rounding the corner of the shop spotted a THING about a millimeter long, smaller than a splinter I have on the palm of one hand. Only when I enlarged the image a bit did I realize it was some kind of Mite. Mites and Spiders make up some of the non-insect Arthropods, and share having eight legs. It was identified on iNat as a Blue Oat Mite (Penthaleus major). One shot seemed to have another even smaller creature climbing behind it. The smaller creature was identified as a Globular Springtail.

Now to the real Spiders. This first one was so very tiny (again, about 1 mm) that Matt said it was a juvenile and couldn't be ID'ed but was one of the Cobwebbers.

The next spider was a real newbie to me. It's called a Tuberculated Crab Spider. I think the tubercule they refer to is the swelling behind the eye. I saw this first one in the morning, and then the second one in the afternoon in a separate place. The third was another afternoon shot but I can't remember which of the two spiders it represents.

On January 10, that Green Long-jawed Orbweaver reappeared, or maybe this is a younger one. It did seem awfully small. The first two pictures here are of that Jan 10 model. The third is another appearance on January 13, of the same spider to my eye.

A real sign of impending spring is the Tuft-legged Orbweaver, Mangora placida (Pictures 1 and 2).

Here are three views of the juvenile Leucauge venusta, the Orchard Orbweaver. The fourth image, taken last August, is of a beautiful adult. Look at those green legs!

Here's that Western Lynx Spider again!

These first two pictures are of a couple of Elongate-bodied Springtails, Isotoma delta. Third is of the little Globular Springtail we saw above trailing the Blue Oat Mite.

I'll finish with a couple of odd photos. First is the set of drawers I built into the empty space left by the chimney collapse in the second floor hallway. When I have got the knobs on, I can shellac the drawer fronts, and hopefully the pattern running down the fronts will show up cleanly! Second is a mystery object from the shop wall. Is it a set of eggs of some beastie? Or is it a tiny flower?

That was yet another two-week blog. I hope you are all well. I'm still fighting off the results of breathing in so much dust and other stuff when the ceiling collapsed in October! Worrying about the state of the Planet, especially when we hear so much from Australia, Puerto Rico, etc, etc etc. Please don't lose hope but try to hold your politicians' feet to each disaster. We're with you, Greta!

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2020