July 25, 2021

Martha O'Kennon .

I believe the Mosquitoes are mellowing out. The past two days were cooler but rainy in spots.

What a nasty trick! All the flowers are now magenta. Can you believe it? Here are Fall Phlox, Rose Campion, and Deptford Pink, all magenta. Could I be tricking you just because for one time there were actually three flowers, all the same color? Read on to find out.

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.

Here are a couple of Smaller Carpenter Ants and one Eastern Black Carpenter Ant.

When I moved a stone by the pond, ants poured out and most of them were gone before my wits caught up with my surprise. They were trying frantically to move their pupae (the white elongated objects being carried) to safety. Picture 3 shows two creatures mating (I think) - I labeled them ants but now I'm not so sure. These look like very small Small Honey Ants.

No Aphids, at least not spotted by me. But the Barklice continue to be interesting. The Polypsocus corruptus that were so busy hatching last week have slowed down that process for now, although there are still several nymphs. First, a recent hatchling adult and a nymph who will undergo transition to adulthood soon. Second, a male (black eyes) and a female (red eyes) are awaiting hatching. Third, a nymph and a VERY recent hatchling. This is the closest I've ever gotten to an individual who seems to have characteristics of a nymph AND wings of an adult. I believe its color will gradually lose its nymphal similarities and just be an adult.

The Echmepteryx hageni nymphs must all have hatched. Here are a couple of shots of the adults that remain.

The Ectopsocus meridionalis are mostly small to larger nymphs now. Note that the larger of the first two still has its wings, so they are both immature. In picture 2 you can see two nymphs next to some of the earlier-laid eggs. The adult who laid the eggs is nowhere to be seen. Third shows four nymphs in various stages of development.

The Graphopsocus cruciatus nymphs are now mostly Adults, and I believe some of those have started or will start to lay eggs soon. Here are some of the Adults. Third seems to be of two nymphs, thought it is a bit fuzzy so the thoracic "dots" are mostly faded.

Picture 1 here shows an adult Metylophorus novaescotiae. Pictures 2 and 3 show two nymphs, but quite advanced ones. So now we've seen this species from early nymphs to adult.

Let's check out the Beetles. Oh, wait. There was actually one Bee, Augochlora pura, a Pure Green Sweat Bee, which is my guess before it is confirmed in iNat. How shockingly gorgeous it is. Picture 2 shows that there was actually a second of this kind of Bee, but my camera strap suddenly slipped and warned it that I would be wanting its mug shot too.

Here is a Common Lightning Beetle. Next, the red Lily Leaf Beetles are still working on the Solomon's Seal. Third is another of the many species of Tumbling Flower Beetle. Fourth is one of the Checkered Beetles in genus Phyllobaenus.

This first one is yet another Black Vine Weevil, spotted on the stairway to the Attic. Then comes a Redbud Bruchid in a different color combination due to its being in the shade. Next, our third Weevil, is that Strawberry Root Weevil you met last week.

This tiny Weevil was in the bathroom the other day. Next - is this another Strawberry Root Weevil too? Third is a Beetle in the genus Phylloprotica, one of the Skeletonizing Leaf Beetles. According to our Beetle King, Boris Büche, what it skeletonizes is a plant called Skullcap, which he found on a map that includes the Kalamazoo River as it runs through the Whitehouse Nature Center. I promised him that I would take a picture of Skullcap (if he will send me one) to the WNC and look for the Beetle and Skullcap! Aside, you'll love this - I went to BG to see what there was in the way of Scullcap Skeletonizers. Well, get THIS . These things come in Moths and Beetles too!

The little Zelus luridus Assasin Bugs that we followed to a point of stalking the two weeks previous has continued to grow and is still voracious, as you can see from picture 3, where the subject has spotted a potential lunch.

As the weather has moderated a bit, we are now once more seeing a few Leafhoppers. This little white nymph with the indistinct yellow streak is the nymph of one of the Graphocephala genus, the ones that usually show up as red and green or red and blue stripes. The bright green nymph is probably a member of the Empoasca genus. And this last mosaicized one is the Japanese Leafhopper.

There was one Scaphoideus that finally visited on Friday. First, a top (dorsal) view, then two side (lateral) views.

Here is, not a Leafhopper, but a Spittle Bug, the Meadow Spittle Bug. And next, a Two Mark Treehopper, in a Redbud tree, its usual spot. The other day, while lopping Walnut saplings from the south yard, I ended up with this Stink Bug on the lopper blade. I believe it is the Four-humped Stink Bug.

Here is a Plant Bug in genus Phytocoris. The second is another Plant Bug, a new one on me with those bright pink and orange hues. Third is one of the genus Drymus. I would say D. unus, but the colors seem too uniformly blackish instead of black and brown.

Let's slip in some of the Fishes now and we can come back to them near the end. While we're waiting for the algae to equilibrate out there, I've been taking some portraits of some of the more interesting fish color patterns. One that we've been following since he/she was a little one is Pebbles. Pebbles started out almost brownish, like many of the inbred fishes, where the fancy colors have fallen by the wayside. But now some of those colors are sneaking back in and I now think Pebbles at about a year old is one of the prettiest fishes. Red Torty is now almost two years old, and started out as mostly black, but the red snuck into her coast and she is now a pretty fine fish. I didn't see Freckles until the ice was off the pond - she may be about a year old by now and started out almost colorless. But now her red and black dots are pretty distinctive. She got her reddish genes from one of the fish Sheila Lyons-Sobaski won in a game. Each of them is different.

Check out all the colors in this long picture.

Baby Chico may be a year and a half old. She is the spitting image of Chica back when he was Chico (before an opening appeared for a female fish this a couple of years ago. Chico is for Cheek-o - because he had a big red spot on one cheek. Even the "dark" fishes that just don't have any "colorful" genes are not all alike. This middle one may be the one I call "Little Pebbles". His/her genes are interestingly distributed. Some, like this last one, look orangey-brown while others seem bronze or other shades of brown or black. They are ALL Designer Fishes.

Let's check out the Flies. There were some very colorful ones this week. First, a cool orange Fruit Fly. Next is a Fungus Gnat, and next what is probably another kind of Fungus Gnat.

Let's toughen ourselves up by looking at these Mosquitoes. The first two are the Asian Bush Mosquito. Second is the the Eastern Treehole Mosquito.

First here is Aedes trivittatus (three-striped), the Plains Floodwater Mosquito, which is one of the enthusiastic biters. Second is the Eastern Treehole Mosquito again, but this poor fellow, if you can drag up any sympathy for it, has several nasty Aquatic Mites, which are inordinately fond of Mosquitoes. The third one is a Mystery - I've never seen one like it before. Yes, I have. Back in September 2016 I saw this one with the green eyes. The whole scene reminded me of some magic world of color!

Here is a lovely Moth Fly. Second and third are the Quadrate Snipe Fly.

This Fly flew off as I pressed the camera button - but he didn't escape! The next two flies are also Mysteries- especially the Fly who seems to have loosened up his head-straps for sleeping purposes!

Here is that wonderful Fly, Raineria antennaepes; And the Robber Fly, Efferia aestuans; and what I think is a typical Root-Maggot Fly.

Here are some more of those long-legged flies. Enjoy!

We have some Moths to show. Most of them I haven't obtained names for yet. Number 1 should be named something like Flower the Skunk. But surely it isn't! But we can read from the posture of number 2 that it is a Leaf Miner Moth. Third is a Morbid Owlet Moth. It doesn't look Morbid to me, but the identifier explained that it gets that name from a tiny bit of the moth whose mouthparts are colored a deathly sick color. You have got to be an expert to be able even to visualize the mouthparts of a creature this small!

This first one is a Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Moth. The second was extremely small and looked as if it had been glued onto the wall. I don't have an ID for number 3 yet.

I'm sure this next one is one we've seen recently. Number 2 looked familiar but then I looked again at the ornament on its upper back and AHA - it is the same as the ornament on that very spot on number 1! Like so many tiny pictures of so many tiny other moths, we have to be SOOOO careful not to let the lighting fool us! Oh no! Did I let picture 3 slip past my monitoring tools?

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 Spiderwort out front continues to put out its one bloom a day.

If you recall, last week I showed you a picture of a Horsetail plant (our Carboniferous holdover). Simultaneously I submitted that picture to iNat, and to my shock quickly got an identification! It is not only a Horsetail, but has a distinguished pedigree. Its name is Western Scouringrush with Scientific name Equisetum hyemale, ssp. affine. I had bought it at the Matthei Gardens Wild Plant sale when I moved into this house in 1988. It has flourished by horizontal roots, threatening at times to push Day Lilies out of place. The other plant that observes no boundaries is the Foxglove, coming soon to a halt for the year. The Celandine Poppy continues to put out one flower. In this picture, you can still see a seed pod.

The Rose Campion also continues to put out one blossom at a time, but what a ONE BLOSSOM. Its magenta colored flowers contrast with its silver furry stalks. These purplish flowers are forming really annoying Sticky Burrs. Another weed with a charming flower is the Yellow Wood Sorrel or "Sour Grass", as my Mother used to call it.

The Fall Phlox has definitely replaced the Dame's Rocket. It also (like the Dame's Rocket) apparently comes in a lighter shade.

The bigger showier flowers also seem to come in one bloom at a time. Here are the Tall Red Day Lily and the showy Pink Day Lily.

In the darkish corner near the Weeping Redbud is a gigantic Hosta with yellow-green leaves (Its name is Sun and Substance) and exotic purplish-white flowers.

NOW you must be ready for the Spiders! Here is a beautiful Red Spider with white spots. She seems to be carrying her egg mass with her. Here is also a beige Spider carrying her eggs.

This very large spider is the adult Cross Orbweaver. In this first picture you can see part of the cross (delineated in whitish dots on the abdomen back). But in the second picture the cross is not shown, but a large dark emblem is. That is the ventral view. Third is a side view.

This first Spider seems to be a Garden Ghost Spider running down the sidewalk. Second, a semantic joke - this little Spider was snapped while on a Spiderwort leaf. The third looks like a Common House Spider.

Here is a Mystery Spider. I like the shape of its palps. Second is my favorite Spider, Mimetus puritanus, one of the Pirate Spiders. Third is another, but it was hard to recognize as M. puritanus, because it was upside down!!

We can just flip this spider till we see the usual orientation. Hooray for Spider Mathematics!

One more story of a Spider and a Wasp. I don't know if you know that there are Spiders that are dedicated to eating Wasps, and also Wasps devoted to eating Spiders, or at least putting them into her nest for her babies. Well, yesterday I thought I saw an Ant carrying an elaiosome, and tried shooting pictures as she raced across the South Wall just at my eye-level. She was a little bit fast for all the pictures to come out totally well-focused, but you will get the picture. It turns out she was a Spider-eating Wasp. I don't know the Wasp OR the Spider, but maybe someone on iNat will get both..

Here is some more Trumpetvine. I don't know that we will get pictures like those of last week again this summer. I've been saving this one for now.

And I'll leave you swimming with the fishes!

Love, Martha

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2021