September 13, 2020

Martha O'Kennon

The Japanese Anemones are finally blooming at the outside of the gate. It's a small show but cheering. The weather has been nippy in the mornings so it's nice to have something that doesn't care. The vine in picture has decided it doesn't like all the competition in the side yard next to the neighbors' house and has moved its own self out into their Weeping Cherry Tree. It is called Climbing Fumitory. The pond has had a rough time of it lately, but the Water Lilies persist in blooming, a little slowly now as the weather cools down.

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.

Since I got so crazed with the Barklice, I neglected the Ants. This week the heroines were the Small Honey Ants (picture 1). I could have taken many more pictures of the Eastern Black Carpenters (picture 2), but they were even missing on the Oak Galls by the deck steps. I talked about this last week but didn't show you this last picture, where the Black Carpenters have been replaced by the Small Honeys. Yesterday I did see one or two Carpenters on there - maybe they like the cool. But the big feast for the Small Honeys was on a former big something - about 2 inches long - surrounded by the tiny Ants with their knives and forks.

I hardly saw any Aphids, but here is one being had for supper by a Brown Lacewing. I know, I know, but at least we can talk later about Lacewings. Let's segue to the section on Barklice, where there was a LOT of action. We had a mystery last week, in which I didn't recognize this Polypsocus nymph until it matured into an adult P. corruptus.

Here you can see the progression from the Nymph to the just-hatched Adult and the Adult the next morning when it had gotten its P. corruptus colors!

The Metylophorus novaescotiae are still our friends. I love this Nymph - when I saw my first one I thought it was a strange Beetle with a clown face! Too bad all those markings are hidden when it gets its Adult wings (picture 2). Third is the Nymph of Echmepteryx hageni and Fourth is the Adult. There are lots of Nymphs now and many Adults too.

Here are a couple more mysteries. I was pretty sure that this first one was the Adult of the second. The problem is the eyes! Usually these insects keep the same color eyes when they metamorphose. Third is a mystery black Barklouse (I think). But I haven't seen any Nymphs that I think might grow into it. Fourth is a holdover from last week - so pretty and so unknown (by me!)

One more that showed up alone this week. I believe it is a lone Trichadenotecnum alexanderae. You all remember our oldest friend - Graphopsocus cruciatus. It seems to be around most every day all Spring and Summer, either in Nymph form (picture 1) or Adult. The Nymphs have mostly greyish eyes, and the Adults either grey or black.

This week and the last a new friend has emerged. A Barklouse which I used to call Lachesilla but turned out to be Ectopsocus and probably E. meridionalis has made a great subject for research. Here is a female laying eggs. I didn't know until Diane Young told me that they are parthenogenetic ("Partheno-" is Greek for "virgin"), meaning that the female doesn't need to mate with a male in order to produce viable eggs and hence offspring. This female spent days, with a day or two in between, laying until she ended up with 4 clutches of eggs. Unlike the G. cruciatus, she doesn't just lay the eggs and cover them with a thin net of silk. This lady goes over and over the clutch with a foamy-looking covering probably both protective and nutritive. She stays with her eggs day and night.

But you know how it likes to rain hard once in a while, and so a couple of days after Mom laid the fourth clutch, it rained like the devil and the next morning I had a shock. This family is treated in more detail in this little web diary .

We'll leave the Barklice for a while now and look for Bees. I only caught two kinds: a Bumble Bee (don't know which of the many there are) and what is probably a Metallic Sweat Bee.

This was about it as far as Beetles go. First, that Black Flea Beetle that has been on the shop siding for a month or so. Then, an Asian Lady Beetle. Then the Locust Long-horned Borer. The fourth one fooled me. This is the Striped Cucumber Beetle, not the Other One that always does fool me and I can't remember its name still!

Bug time. Well, now that the rain has relented for a while, here we go again with the Ambush Bug, that monster we saw devouring a fly last time. This time, I had just seen the Bug when a Wasp or Fly lands next to it. When those big yellow claws come out, it's over!!

Alphabetically, onward! First a Pale Green Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus. The next ones are probably Z. tetracanthus (four-spurred). If its eyes were redder, I'd say it waos Z. luridus too. In picture 3, I think we can make out four shoulder spurs. Maybe they have four "shoulders"?

Time for our favorite little jewels, the Leafhoppers! First, Erasmoneura vulnerata; Then Erythroneura aclys and Erythroneura infuscata.

First picture shows ONE of the FOUR Japanese Leafhoppers that were on the Wall in one Day. Next is Jikradia olitoria, also known in iNat as the Coppery Leafhopper. In some lights it really does look coppery. Third is one of the many species in the Scaphoideus genus that doesn't have a reliable name. And last is one of the many Graphocephala species, one of the insects that made me first want to learn how to do watercolor painting.

Fall must be coming if we are running out of Leafhoppers this quickly. But we still have a few Spittlebugs. As usual, we have a Meadow Spittlebug, and (not like most years), that one Alder Spittlebug is still hanging around, even though I don't know where an Alder is to be found. All my favorite Planthoppers and Treehoppers have closed shop for the season, I believe. But here's a cute little non-stinky Stink Bug.

Here are a few candidates for Phytocoris Plant Bug. Number 4 is some sort of Plant Bug, I bet. A lovely shade of green! I like to click a time or two on this picture and admire its compound eye.

The shallow end of the pond is still covered with patches from earlier, but the fish do so enjoy swimming for their supper after I top it off.

Poor little pond. Too bad my Wildlife Habitat is having Wildlife troubles. Here are some prints of whoever has been tearing at the liner as he/she scrabbles for fish. And after several weeks of Terminix setting traps, here is the first non-skunk and non-squirrel guest who came to dinner. I only hope that this is one of the ones that has been so destructive and that they will be able to trap 6 more to make the price worthwhile... (sardonic smile.) Picture 3 was taken by Chaim, who has become quite a Raccoon Whisperer. He was able to calm the Coon until the people came to take him to his new home.

To cheer us up from that topic, here are the littlest fishes - the ones that have been getting some color in their cheeks. First is "Dark Red", who is really slightly reddish brown with lighter streaks. Then the most colorful, Little Chico, who resembles his mother, who used to be Chico (named for his reddish cheeks against his lovely blue body), until she experienced a sex change when the pond ran out of females. That's the theory (mine) of course. Last to have some semblance of color is Spotty, who is getting a bit of green in his gills, er, tails. He's actually getting some pink in his gills.

Flies! Remember in the spring, when we had some kind or other of Crane Fly at least once a week, or so it seemed. All summer we seem not to be looking in the right place, maybe. A couple of weeks ago, we had that big relative of the Giant Crane Fly. And this week, there was a real little Crane Fly sitting on the shop siding. A pretty Midge, a new one to me. It seems that most of the times I swat a little mosquito on my arm, it has a striped thorax and spotted legs. Must be one of those Asian Bush Mosquitoes.

Here are a few little Orange Flies. First is a Homoneura genus Fly, a relative of a Fruit Fly. The next one is similar in color and is probably also Homoneura (says the ID app). Third, much bigger than the rest, is a relative of the Dung Flies, but which relative? I'm sorry to say I don't know these Flies so well.

The Moth Flies are really hanging around nowadays. Number 2 is a mystery. There are so many Flies that look like it. Third is a Hover Fly, Toxomerus geminatus.

You can tell by the green substrate behind this TINY Black Fly that it is on the North Wall. The little orange fly (picture 2) is the same color as the "Dung Fly" model above, but a fraction of its size. We balance these little fellows with two much bigger Flies. One has a really Big Black Butt. I THINK it is Archytas apicifer, one of the Tachinid Flies (they tend to have big hairy butts, speaking elegantly.). The last one is one of those very common Bottle Flies or Bot Flies - common but gorgeous!

That about does the Flies. I had been wishing I had a nice picture of Froggy. Since the upheavals in the pond, I haven't seen him, but if someone talks while sitting next to the pond, he chirps to add to the conversation, so I know he is still alive and well, just secreted behind a rock or something. Flash! Suddenly just this afternoon I heard him and was actually able to guess where the sound was coming from. So HERE is froggy sitting in a dark corner of the Pond! But I had promised back when we were bemoaning the Aphids that we would at least visit the Lacewings responsible for some of the Aphid demise. So here are two angles on a Brown Lacewing.and one shot of a Brown Lacewing Larva.

Here's one shot of a Brown Lacewing Larva, and a couple of views of a Green Lacewing.

I think it's time for a Flower walk. Remember we are now down to a few kinds of flowering plants. The one that has generated the most pretty scenes lately is the Japanese Anemone. The tall Common Evening Primrose is putting out fewer and fewer blossoms, but each one is such a brilliant yellow jewel. Down near the ground grow the Autumn Joy Sedums, which also attract a fair number of Bees and Wasps.

One thing that has delighted me lately was the discovery that an old plant that had grown up between my house and the next-door one has now moved out to a spot almost on the border of our properties. It comes from the ground on a delicate vine, and has draped itself around my neighbor's Weeping Cherry Tree. Here is is, and here you can see how exquisitely tiny its leaves are. It took some time on iNat to get it identified, but finally @malisaspring wrote to say it is a vine called Climbing Fumitory (Adlumia fungosa), and is somewhat rare!

A few weeks ago, you saw the Arum Lily's red berries. Now its cousin, the Jack-in-the-Pulpit, has made similar bright red berries. Now for the Asters. They now have produced quite a few mixtures of Purple and Pink. We start with the Purple Asters by the pond and another Purple that is more Pinkish.

Here are some of the shades of Pink Asters. First is a Medium Pink from the front yard, not far from where the E. carinata Treehoppers lived in their Thistle. Here is the beginning of flowering of a Paler Pink, which blooms last by the pond and also in the front along the sidewalk. And finally, a Magenta Aster that I got from Christi Vaughan years ago has re-planted itself in the front yard by the sidewalk that runs north from the house.

Now back to the Butterflies (none this week that I caught in time) and Moths, which were plentiful, varied, and insouciant. Oh dear, I recall that this first one was in the blog last week. I hope you don't mind seeing the one largish Moth again this week!

Here are three more Moths, the last photo of which actually shows two making Love. And a Caterpillar, sent in by Kathleen Seidl, whose relative found it. It is the larva of the Spotted Apatelodes Moth, and was found on 29 Mile Road South, Albion.

Our Spiders were mostly Common House Spiders this week. The one exception was this first one, which I would call a Long-jawed Spider if I'd seen it in some vegetation, but it was found on the East Wall and so is probably one of the Cellar Spiders. Second is a Common House Spider holding a nice prey that resembles the barklouse Polypsocus corruptus. Third shows how spider can handle a prey much larger than the spider itself.

Here is a Cobweb Spider, followed by a beautiful one of genus Euryopis. The third is tiny and may be one of the Goldenrod-camouflaged little Crab Spiders.

So we leap precipitously into the goldenrod to admire the Wasps. The first I couldn't make out at first. It is a MALE European Paper Wasp, and since I hardly ever see the males, I didn't remember the design differences between this one and the females that I see most days throughout the summer. I'm thinking the second Yellowjacket is the Aerial one, Dolichovespula arenaria. It could be another kind though. Third is a male Northern or Dark Paper Wasp.

Here is what is probably a member of the Wasp genus Atanycolus. The next one is as yet unidentified. The third is a Yellowjacket, one of the ones with a healthy growth of body hair. Who says insects aren't fluffy?

One last shot of the Pond with Water Lilies and Purple Asters.

It's been a long haul. But most of us are all right, thanks to help from others. My beloved neighbor Dave died this past week - not of Covid but another long illness. Most of you know him. We have to hang on to the people we love, and now especially to the people who are still counting down to the end of this more tawdry than dreadful hunkering down. Well, we are going through it together, even when we're hundreds and thousands of miles apart. And we'll keep on going through. Enough! Take good care.

Love, Martha

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