July 18, 2021
Not much change from last week's weather synopsis. The Mosquitoes are voracious. It remains hot and wet. Good thing I have lots of clothes to change into each time I come back inside! When it cools down a bit, there will be lots of overactive Trumpetvine and other vines and overgrowth to hack down.
The Fleabane is really settling in. Soon I suspect we will begin to see the aphids and their predators begin their dance for precedence. The Blackberries are looking more and more like Blackberries - their ripe fruit is indeed black, not red or pink. And the Spiderwort is loving the long dark days. Ordinarily it would be nodding by noon, but now even in late afternoon it may still be blooming strongly.
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We found a new Ant this week. That is, we saw one that WE had never seen before. It's called the Cherry Ant, Crematogaster cerasi. It was carrying its gaster (usually turned so you can see it is heart-shaped) up high behind it. Just something told me it was a new one (for US). It was running along on top of a Redbud leaf out by the driveway. Third here is my one picture of an Eastern Black Carpenter Ant.
The rain really kept the ants indoors most of the time. Most of the time if we saw an Ant, it was a Smaller Carpenter Ant, trying to walk on a dry surface of the Shop siding. But we did see a few Small Honey Ants - this time the word "small" was so appropriate - these Ants were only a couple of millimeters long and looked like the size of the usual little black ants. And a few Odorous House Ants - I've still never smelled one - right out there with the Small Honeys.
Scrunching past the wet Fleabane, there was obviously something going on - with spider and lots of tiny Woolly Aphids - that's how they spell "woolly". I suspect there are a few communities going on in here. In picture 3, you can see some kind of Spider.
The big news on the Psocid front is that the Polypsocus corruptus nymphs are beginning to go to adulthood. In the first frame, compare the nymph (above) and the adult (below). The Adult still hasn't got its full colors, having "hatched" so recently. To me, the most exciting part was to see that the Adult still has the red streak coming from next to the eye and running under the wing. We've been seeing the mottled wings of an Adult developing in photos of the older Nymphs, but this lucky shot is the first time I've seen Nymph markings on an Adult. By the way, the Adult in picture 1 is a male (has black eyes). Picture 2 shows a Nymph with brownish eyes (which will probably be red later), while picture 3 shows a red-eyed Nymph.
As the day wears on, more and more Adults are emerging. First, two Adults (which seem to have red eyes) next to each other on July 16. Second, a newborn Adult with red eyes on July 16. In case you wonder about the parallel ink marks, they were a single mark from a ball-point pen circling a group to watch a year back when I first discovered what would turn out to be a group of nymphs of P. corruptus.
Now I'm finding Adult Graphopsocus cruciatus Barklice every day, and some days some packets of eggs. In picture 2, I don't know whose eggs the leftmost ones are, but the rightmost look like G. cruciatus eggs.
Here are the results of rain on the old Barklice eggs on East panel 4 from North - July 15 and 16.
Let's move on to the Beetles. Here is a metallic green Wood Borer, Agrilaxia flavimana, which at first I thought was one of those Emerald Ash Borers! Second is a Lightning Beetle of some sort, and Third is a Lily Leaf Beetle, which has finished off the Tiger Lilies and is now working on the Solomon's Seal! Brrr.
This next one (pictures 2 and 3) is a member of genus Ptilodactyla, the Toe-winged Beetles. I thought "rake-winged" would do just fine, but that's what the book says, so there for that. The Third looks like an Immigrant Green-leaf Weevil.
This first one is a Black Vine Weevil. I see one every couple of years! The next two are of a purplish-black large scarab-type Beetle eating the leaves of that sticky-bur plant. Have to wait to see how it gets identified.
Here are a few more Beetles. First, a Japanese Beetle. What a beautiful thing to behold as it shreds your favorite plant. Then a tiny Flea Beetle. And finally, one that looks as though its face is all mouth!
The last couple of weeks we played Nanny to four little Zelus egg masses. There must have been many more of those little containers, for far from the ones I was watching, tiny little Zelus luridus nymphs have been showing up - only 3 mm long. That's about an eighth of an inch for you who like me have to convert measurements most of the time. So these little fellows have been out of the egg mass since not very long ago. Third is an adult from the LAST cycle, scarfing up the bigger critters that the little fellows can't handle.
In our July 4th blog we had a surprise when what I thought was the other Zelus relative, Zelus tetracanthus, seemed to have an extra-wide white strip along its body. The next day, that Zelus lookalike morphed into an adult which, with the help of the John and Mary Balaban team (@thebals in iNat), we were able to pinpoint as Metatropiphorus belfragii, a member of the Damsel Bugs. Well, this week something similar happened. Another bug which also looked Assassin-like turned out to be another Damsel Bug, Lasiomerus Annulatus. That mother family of Assassin Bugs is HUGE. Thank goodness for people like the Balabans, who know these creatures so well.
Here are various pictures of L. Annulatus.
Because of the rain, we don't have very many Leafhoppers. We did see this nymph of one of the Agallia genus, and an adult in the Genus Osbornellus. Third here is one of the Graphocephala genus, something like the Red-banded Leafhopper, balancing a ball of recent rain on its back.
Here is a yellowish version of the Japanese Maple Leafhopper. Next is the turned-up tail nymph of the Coppery Leafhopper, Jikradia olitoria. This last one will be followed in the next paragraph by other members of the Scaphoideus genus. We didn't get many that were identifiable to species this week. The cool thing about this fellow is its bright red eyes.
Here are some of the promised Scaphoideus guys. The middle one seems like something I should remember from somewhere, but don't right now.
Here are some of the True Bugs. First that gorgeous horrible Four-lined Plant Bug. Then another Plant Bug in the very hard to identify genus Phytocoris. The third one I saw as a Beetle until Boris B. of iNat suggested that bugs have 5 or fewer segments in their antennae, while Beetles have more than that.
First up is a True Bug. Then comes the adult to that cute little blue Disco bug which is its nymph. It is called Acanthocephala terminalis, and can be identified by its orange antenna-tips. Third is a kind of Stink Bug, but I have to do some research to identify it.
There surprisingly are still a small handful of Two-mark Treehopper nymphs. Here is one of them, followed by a couple of adults.
Last week we found a female Alder Spittlebug in the back yard, and this week we found the male in the front yard. First one here is the brown-toned female. The next two are the black-toned male. I'm throwing in a possible Planthopper nymph, although this could possibly be another Wooly Aphid instead.
Sorry to say, most of our Flies this week were the Mosquitoes. But let's look at the others first. Here is a Flesh Fly sitting by the pond. Then we have this tiny orange Fruit Fly. Then a delicate Mystery Fly.
I think this small fly is one of the Root-Maggot Flies. Number two is a Mystery. But number three is a lovely thing - a small Robber Fly. Its front couple of legs seem to have one color splashed down one side and another color on the other side. Hence its name, the Striped-leg Robber Fly. One of my big favorites!
But let's splash in some wonderful delicate color. One problem with trying to photograph these spectacular Long-legged Flies is that they can hear the click of the button and leap up into the air.
But some of them know it's ok to just sit there and glow in the sunlight.
I think this striped wonder is the Asian Bush Mosquito. It suddenly did a leap last summer from genus Ochlerotatus to Aedes. I always think of the Aedes as having lots of dark and light spots on their legs, but now very dull Mosquitoes are in that genus! Number 2 - It's now known as Aedes trivitatta, and is one of the most frequent culprits in the biting category. Just look how much blood she has already drawn!
Let's take a look at the Moths of the week. Actually, I'm not sure this first one is a Moth or a Caddisfly.
The second one seems to be a leaf miner, based on its posture. Third might be one we saw last week.
I'm sure this next one is one we've seen recently. But the next two seem new.
Two more moths. Still looking for ID's for them too. I'm sorry the first is a bit out of focus.
Just as we run out of Moths, I see that we actually found some Orthopterans today.. Those tiny Scudderian Katydid nymphs are larger now but still recognizable. And only a few minutes before I saw them, I had run across this last lovely Katydid nymph. Her wings are short but growing and her ovipositor has already formed. And her long lovely legs will make her a great jumper!
Well, isn't it about time to stroll through the flowers and see what's up nowadays? One thing that is still up is the lovely blue Asiatic Day Flower. The Deptford Pink is just getting started. And the Fleabane is still at it.
Our Carboniferous hold-over, the Horsetail seems to be sporing right now. These small white Mushrooms just came up a day or two ago. And Deb's tree sprouted these lovely brackets!
I can't believe the Dame's Rocket is back at it, so this must be the first dawning of the true Fall Phlox. And what is this? It seems to be another Phlox lookalike, but the leaves aren't right. I'll have to look this one up. The Rose Campion is about half-way through its bloom cycle, if I remember right. I'm so glad it decided to join us again.
The Spiderwort keeps going by only putting out a flower a day. I wonder, did I tell you the Day Flower is a member of the Spiderwort family? It's an odd one that only has two petals. Here's a newly opened Day Flower to take the place of the Common Day Lilies, which are flagging now. And here's one more Day Lily, a short-stemmed one in such a delicate pink!
The rain more or less drowned out the rest of the Black Raspberries. My friend Ken says his Brambles were ripe at pink, but the ones we've been watching here are going all the way to black before they lose that edge and develop any sweetness. The thing that I guessed was Pokeweed last week certainly seems more and more like it, leaves and berry buds. Debby is going to have to decide if we want this growing in the spot for surprises!
OK, I'm rested up. We'll visit the Spiders in a moment. But you need to see the Slugs. There were lots of them but only two kinds: a Big one and a Little one. Third here is something that I forgot to add to July 4th's Blog until this moment. Here is one of the tiny Pseudoscorpions.
Now the Spiders! First a Cellar Spider. Then a little one with a painted-on Face. And one Jumping Spider - my favorite, Naphrys pulex.
My favorite of all Spiders - Mimetus puritanus is one of the Pirate Spiders. I love the face on its abdomen!
Here is a large Spider. It may be one of the Woodlouse Spiders. There were other spiders and a lot of Harvestmen, but these were the most interesting.
But what we lacked in Spiders, we got back in Springtails. I don't remember seeing these in the middle of the summer before. This first one is only a possible Springtail, but the others are "real". The last one looks as if it is sitting over a clutch of Barklouse eggs, but maybe they are Springtail eggs. (I doubt it.)
We had some wonderful Wasps, like this first one all in RED. She is clearly an Ichneumonid.
Another couple of Ichneumonids and a very pretty Mystery wasp.
A couple of looks at the Pond. Here are the fishes getting fed.
A few more fishes. More next week, honest!
Here is some Trumpetvine that I've been saving for now. It bloomed so sudddenly and so fast! I don't know when we will get scenes like this until next Summer. But it was great while it lasted. And thank you so much!
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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2021