July 11, 2021
Hot, rainy, verdant. No wonder the Mosquitoes came in droves to chase me back indoors before I'm tired of seeing things! We are really into the thick of summer.
The Spiderwort blooms sneakily in the front yard, knowing that I spend most of my time out back! But this time I caught it being visited by a Hover Fly, one of the Toxomerus genus. Meanwhile, the Rose Campion blooms on the back deck. Speaking of sneaky, the Foxglove of course planted ITSELF over by the water tap. Maybe the birds had something to do with that.
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The ants were probably conserving their cool - or maybe the shop siding was too hot for their little feet. But we made up for scarcity with action. The Eastern Black Carpenters seemed to be dancing around, but you can be sure they are planning something. (They turn up in the kitchen in even larger numbers!) That ant mimic you met last week let me get a nicer picture of it. You'll see it again in the Bug section where it belongs.
The Smaller Carpenters are still doing that seed plant's business. Here's another one carrying a big seed and the elaiosome (the cabfare for delivering the seed to be planted elsewhere). In picture 2, the Ant appears to be rolling the seed along, but it is really carrying it in its fangies. The last one must have dropped the seed off at its destination, but the elaiosome is so big I don't know how it carries it. What strength!
A couple of days ago, I came upon a Queen Ant of the American Cornfield denomination. She was writhing, I thought, in pain as if she were trying to deliver the eggs she must be carrying. But @aprothero of iNat explained that she is actually working to tear her wings off so that she can go underground and start her colony there.
Every week, the Barklice seem to be changing their populations. This week, there were still quite a few Echmepteryx hageni nymphs, but LOTS more adults now. The adults' hairy-looking coats change depending on the angle of light.
The Polypsocus nymphs seem to be more and more, but it is just easier to see them now. I don't know why they differ so much in size - maybe they hatched from the eggs at different times - I don't understand the reason for that either! I find them very attractive.
The adult Valenzuela seem mostly to be V. flavidus. Note that the second one has black eyes. I wonder if that is a sex characteristic. Third here is probably a nymph.
My favorite is still Graphopsocus cruciatus. I used to call them "Tiger Barklice" because of their golden streaks. Compare their nymphs with other nymphs you have known and loved - those four thoracic dots are a giveaway as far as I'm concerned. Third is a set of eggs. I wish I could show you the movie I saw the other day. My friend Diane Young, an expert in Psocids (She is a founding member of the Psocid Psociety) showed me the world's shortest sex film - two G. cruciatus mating. From time of introduction of the handsome male to the winsome female to the end, eleven seconds elapse. Shortly after, eggs of this sort should begin to be deposited on the Wall of Fame.
Our mystery nymphs who appeared on May 26 on the North panel 10 (picture 10) to the larger nymphs (picture 2) have finally reached that pinnacle of Barklouse Creation, Metylophorus novaescotiae!
Let's move on to the Beetles. That Beetle Leaf Miner, Sumitrosis inaequalis, has shown up several times this summer, usually on the Goldenrod along the South Wall. The second one is in much darker hues than the first. Third may be related to the Lightning Beetles. The last one certainly is!
Number 1 here is apparently an Asian Lady Beetle, although the W or M motif seems to have "run" somewhat. The next is the Fourteen-spotted Lady Beetle. The Weevil in picture 3 may or may not be our famous Dame's Rocket Weevil!
This first one is another of that Paria genus, showing its red head. Second is another view with less emphasis on the red of its head. The third one shows you what happens if there are too many of those Immigrant Green Leaf Beetles and the Spider is hungry!
The story we started last week about the Zelus Assassin Bugs ran its course this week. The egg mass on the back of a Walnut leaf did in fact begin to open up a bit - Here is the unopened mass on July 4 in picture 1. Picture 2 show it on the 5th where it has begun to look a bit stirred up as it emits nymphs. There is one at the lower right showing one escapee. The little fellow in picture 3 is completely loose. You can see from its red eyes that it is Z. luridus - the Pale Green Assassin Bug!
I can't resist showing you this Assassin Bug Goddess holding up a magic lantern above her head. Doesn't she look beneficent and kind? Don't be fooled! Don't her spurs fill out her Valkyrie bodice satisfyingly? Of course "she" is an Adult Pale Green Assassin Bug! Now we can move to other kinds of Bugs. Pictures 2 and 3 show the White-margined Burrowing Bug and what looks like our old friend the Drymus Unus (but I don't remember ever seeing it at this time of year.
But we traditionally move from the Assassin Bugs to the Leafhoppers, so let's bring on those tiny jewels. At first I thought this first one was a different kind of Agallia bug, but it turns out that it is another species of Aphrodes. Lately I have seen a LOT of Aphrodes leafhoppers. I wonder about these two - are these three more kinds of Aphrodes? Kyle says the third one is the tribe Aphrodini, but probably not the genus Aphrodes.
Is this one also Aphrodes? Kyle says yes. But just as I thought that we had gotten all the Leafhoppers in for the week, yesterday this real Agallia (probably A. quadripunctata) showed up!
Here is the Japanese Maple Leafhopper adult, then the nymph it comes out of. Third was a surprise. I thought the curlicues on its thorax made it an extra special Leafhopper, but Kyle Kittelberger of iNat says it is probably a Psyllid, and not a Leafhopper!
Here is one of the Scaphoideus Leafhoppers. And another. I thought the second one was Scaphoideus opalinus, but Kyle said we might as well keep it to genus Scaphoideus. Third is in the subgenus Gyponana. It is a very large nymph (and so should grow to a rather large leafhopper.
First is the Alder Spittlebug. Then two views of the nymph of a Planthopper in the Acanalonia genus. You can see a bit of the green on the back end of the nymph's wing.
We still have some interesting Treehoppers. The first picture shows an adult of the genus Stictocephala, which may or may not come from the nymph called a Buffalo Treehopper nymph shown in picture 3.
Now we have a couple of Plant Bugs. Second is the Obscure Plant Bug, and number 3 may be the same.
Now this first one is a Plant Bug in the genus Pilophorus. It was a great surprise to see it right under my eyes the other day. In iNat, there are only two in Michigan so far. Number 2 is a relative of the Stilt Bug and may be in the genus Berytinus. Third, I promised to show this picture again (you saw it up with the Ants) in the Bugs section, since its early form resembles an Ant, making this Bug an Ant Mimic. I really hope to be able one day to find its Adult appearance!!
A real European Earwig. It is now an adult and now displays the two tear-shaped markings of an adult European. So now we can begin to address the Flies. Picture 2 shows a Crane Fly, and picture 3 is the Fly Minettia lupulina.
This Mosquito is Aedes trivittatus, named for the three thick stripes on the back of its head. I get confused on a lot of these Mosquitoes because a whole bunch of Mosquitoes changed their names to Aedes that did NOT have the former familiar black and white banded legs and so now I don't have that crutch to lean on. Hopefully I will soon get the hang of this subject. Anyway, here's one of the ones I do now recognize as the Plains Floodwater Mosquito, which was formerly called the Vexing Mosquito. What a good name that was. These guys come out in the dozens as you walk along and disturb the bushes they rest on. Yesterday I was able to swat 3 with one blow, they settled down so close together. It's now been three days of the same.
This was a great day for photographing those tiny flies that lay their eggs in leaves so that the larvae can make trails inside the leaf as they eat their way around. You may remember these flies from last week whose larvae will also be leaf miners.
I still don't know what this Fly is. Or these other two. I do find their coloring very pretty. Wait! Look at the end of number 3 - I think this is an Ichneumonid WASP!
I think that this is a Root Maggot Fly. Then one that may be a Wood Gnat. The third one is a mystery and may be either a Fly or a Wasp.
Let's look at some of the Moths (soon I hope we will be seeing some Butterflies, but the ones we see right now tend to just flap right past, probably waiting for the Asters that are getting tall (but without a flower bud yet). This first one looks like one of those tiny ones with the so-called "eye cap". I'm looking for an ID for the next two.
Two more moths. Still looking for ID's for them too.
Here are a couple of Caterpillars. Pictures 1 and 2 show a tiny Looper (inchworm) imitating a twig. Third is a caterpillar that I'd never seen before.
So now let's look at some Flowers and maybe a Berry or two. First: the Celandine Poppy has continued blooming here and there for what seems like a couple of months. The Rose Campion is doing well out back, still in its ICU pot. And here's the Spiderwort with its one-at-a-time bloom of the day. This is the one with a Toxomerus Hover Fly visitor.
Here's that Foxglove again - what a survivor it is! It moved itself and its whole family to the spot where the water hoses come out of the house. (They don't drip much if at all and so that spoils my solution that they like their feet wet.) More likely, a bird dropped a lot of seed there. Second is the Day Flower - I see that most of it has moved next door to Deb's house. I love that blue!
A touch of orange. First, the Butterfly Weed. Then the Common Day Lily. Last, an orange Meadowhawk Dragonfly on a spent Day Lily blossom.
The Raspberry patch is winding down. But the "Blackberries" are ripening, as in picture 2. Ken Potter, a colleague on iNat, says that in his yard they are ripening pink, not black. Could this be one of those "Blackberry" plants. He says that his version also have daunting thorns. And - what is this right next to the Blackberries - could it be Pokeweed pushing its way into the yard? From where?
The Trumpetvine is bursting with huge trumpets.
Whew. Let's plop down in front of the Pond. I think the Barley Bales and Pond Perfect are starting to make some headway against all those Algae. This hot weather hasn't really helped. But I'm on the attack, ordering another batch of Barley Bales. Still, the movement of the water is wonderful.
I haven't seen the Frog tadpoles yet, and the Toad ones have mostly all left home. They will prosper in the underbrush, and maybe move to other yards or other neighborhoods. But the fishes are hungry - here they are at feeding time.
Here is the youngest fish, Freckles - I don't remember her from when we redug the Pond. But Freckles is quickly matching the size of the other young fishes. Next is Pebbles, whose colors are still developing, and Red Torty, who is a couple of years old now.
OK, I'm rested up. Let's visit the Spiders! There were lots of them and lots of kinds. Here is a Common House Spider, and next is an adult male of the species. Third is just one of the numerous kinds of Cobweb Spiders.
This is a lovely red Spider.
This first one is a Thin-legged Wolf Spider. Then, my favorite, Mimetus Puritanus. Third is a Mystery (to me).
Here are a tiny Crab Spider, a Running Crab Spider, and a little white Spider.
Here is a dark brown Mystery on top of a batch of Ectopsocus eggs. Then another Common House Spider with its own egg case. Third is NOT a spider, but a different Slug that appeared on the Wall during all that rain. Pretty in Pink!
Here are some of the Wasps we saw this week. A couple of them I labeled as Flies at first, but once I spotted the ovipositor sticking out at the back, I decided they must be Ichneumonid Wasps. Third is a Chalcidoid Wasp, I think.
This next one is either a Wasp or a Moth.
That's about it for now. I want to go outside and sit by the Pond in the Rain! And listen to the chorus of Mosquito song. But here is some Trumpetvine.
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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2021