March 1, 2020

Martha O'Kennon

February was probably warmer than usual. But for bugs showing up on the Wall of Shame, it was quite the bust except for the spiders until this past week (third week of three). The "bugs" now out there were mostly Midges, same as most years. But the big surprise was how quickly the Winter Aconites burst through the ground with their golden glow. A day or two later the snowdrops were in evidence. When I peeked at my neighbors' famous Snowdrop Exhibition, sure enough, theirs were already blooming prodigiously. This year for the first time the snowdrop pictures that I sent in to iNat were identified. The neighbors' batch are actually Greater Snowdrops (you can distinguish them by their much wider leaves and more green on the inside petals) while mine (picture 3) are merely Common Snowdrops (skinny leaves and less green, as I saw from some pictures from earlier years). Always nice to know what you are looking at!

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.

Not an ant to be seen in February! But a new Barklouse showed up on the shop siding. First is the view from February 19, then the next two are from what I think is the same barklouse but appeared on February 20. Looking back through my old photos, this is not a newbie, but none of the other pictures were identified either.

No bees, though I expect to see some before the Aconites disappear. But two beetles! Fiirst is a Rove Beetle, the kind that have very short outer (hard) wings so that you can see their inner (flying) wings. Hmmm. I can't see any flying wings on this guy. Can you? The next two images are of a red beetle that looks like one we saw for a long time in the fall. I like the full frontal view.

Only one bug, and that was a Leafhopper - First in a long time! It belongs to the genus Balclutha, and according to Kyle Kittelberger it can't be ID'd to species without a dissecting knife... Ooooh boo.

What? We're already into the flies? Hmmm. As I said earlier, they were mostly non-biting Midges, but we got a little closer to an ID on a couple of those. Formerly we were stuck on the Family name Chironomidae. But a number of people suggested this subfamily: Diamesinae. Second picture: a pair of what was also ID'd as subfamily Diamesinae, but probably a different species. Third is probably another of the subfamily. What iridescent wings!

Most of the visitors were very small. But they were there - several kinds of unidentified flies. I have no idea what they are, sorry... No idea what Fly #3 is lapping up.

A mosquito? in February? Yep, this turned out to be Anopheles punctipennis. Oh no, an Anopheles mosquito? Otherwise known as a Malaria Mosquito? Worse and worse.

Just to get your mind of Covid19, you might enjoy visiting this from the CDC.

Remember that inchworm "Looper" from earlier in the winter? Well, it's still here. It moves a bit from place to place but it doesn't grow. I wonder what it lives on? Here it is as it was on February 9, 23, and 28 respectively.

The pond froze and melted and froze and right now is about half-melted. Picture 1 here shows Fishes under very thin ice. There are five or maybe 6. Next shows how hard it is to see the many black/brown fishes, especially in a picture taken on a very overcast (I first typed "downcast", but that was just how I felt about the picture) day. So picture 2 will help you to spot the black one. Just click on the picture and click again. Click a third time to see it even better.

Finally we find ourselves at the door to the intrepid Spiders who had the nerve to come up (I presume they keep warm in the dirt under the workshop, a pole barn with no foundation) to bask on the shop siding. This siding seems to attract all sorts of creatures, especially flying critters who spot that blue steel siding and drop in. But I digress. We're talking about the spiders who are almost the only things I can count on seeing once in a while, maybe every few days. I'm presenting them alphabetically corresponding to the order they appear in in my photo directory. First off MAY be a Bowl and Doily Spider. This was Matt Claghorn's suggestion (but which he didn't believe firmly enough in to ID it). The side view (picture 2) seems to have some fuzzy markings on its abdomen that resemble the ones in this picture that I took in May 2015 (picture 3). I'm actually feeling less and less sure about this. :-)

This is a Cellar Spider, which MAY be Pholcus phalangioides. Jeremy Hussell of iNat suggested finding a photo of the face which I didn't have one of) in order to tell for sure. Sigh.

From Cellar Spider to Crab Spider. This next fellow is a Running Crab Spider.

These husky spiders are also Crab Spiders, but a different kind. I believe this is genus Bassaniana.

This orbweaver is of genus Eustala. It is a relative of the green Humpbacked Orbweaver, which I usually see during the winter, but not THIS winter. I worry about it since it has usually been a faithful visitor.

Here is the Humpbacked Orbweaver. You can see why I have missed it. It could of course have been underground at the times I looked for it. I didn't stay outside long these cold winter days.

We've seen this little spider before. Remember, it is one of the Cribellate (Feather-legged in iNat) Spiders, which fold themselves out so they don't really look very Spider-like. It wouldn't stretch out for me, but here's a photo from 2015 in which it is more of a spider shape. Oh. I forgot I showed you that last one last week. But now you know!

You have now seen this spider Many Times over the years. It is a Dwarf Spider of genus Grammonota, which you might guess from the coppery pattern on its abdomen.

Once more, here is the Green Long-jawed Spider tetragnatha viridis. This year had the most sightings of this spider so far for me.

Finally, a mystery spider. It might be a Cobweb Spider, with that nice round abdomen. The next two pictures are possibly of the same spider but may show a different one.

I went out to see if there were any new flowers or anything to end up with for this time. The pond was frozen except for the area around the little floating heater. That means the Winter Aconites and Snowdrops are also totally covered from that little storm we had a couple of days ago. Here's the pond.

If you don't mind, I'll also throw in a doctored-up version of some of the Seelys' snowdrops.

Bye for now. Hopefully we can soon be back on our weekly schedule. But in the meantime, look around you and see as much beauty as you can! And for many of us, go Vote! For us Albionites, I think that's the 10th of March...

Love, Martha

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