August 21, 2022

Martha O'Kennon

The Fall-ish weather of last week is still here. We have now had enough rain for a while. It's just stopped raining now as I go out to plug in the pump.

The Japanese Anemones are still in the budding stage. I like the little bud balls almost as much as the actual flowers. The cultivated Phlox is almost peaking. And no, it is not your imagination - the Celandine Poppies really are still in bloom!

I am going backwards in time and forgetting Ants I once thought I knew. This first one I thought was a Silky Field Ant, but it apparently isn't quite that, so backing up to genus, it must be Fusca-group Field Ants (Complex Formica fusca). The next one is a Nearctic Carpenter Ant, same as always. Thank goodness for the American Winter Ants! I can still recognize them!

I managed to get this far-off picture of a Bumblebee in the ordinary (but extraordinary) Fall Phlox. That was ALL. Now, as for Beetles, we did see this Sap-feeding Beetle and this tiny Flea Beetle. Sorry, they are cropped so that the two Beetles SEEM to be the same size, but of course the Flea Beetle is MUCH the smaller.

But the Bugs had a much better week. I can usually count on a few Leafhoppers, and this week was no exception. But for the first time in my iNat life, ones that I thought were [almost] classic Eratoneura genus turned out to belong to genus Erthroneura, like this Erythroneura vagabunda, which is, I believe, the first time I've seen this one. Second is another one I may have seen before but cannot identify until Kyle Kittelberger does. He did - it's Erythroneura delicata! Third is an old friend (Erythroneura infuscata).

Here is another old friend, Erasmoneura vulnerata, but last year I first saw it in May, not August. Third was the result of twiddling the AUTO mode onto P instead, done by an overactive thumb.

First here is the Coppery Leafhopper, Jikradia olitoria. And second is another mystery Leafhopper.

Here is that very common Stink Bug, Dendrocoris humeralis. And here again are the yellow Stink Bug eggs. But wait! There seems to be a Wasp of some sort exploring the eggs. This is not good, because it might be thinking of laying its eggs in the Stink Bug eggs. Third is an enlargement of that Wasp.

That Assassin-type Bug is a bit bigger but not too much, even though its wings are visibly longer. It has its red eyes on something. We finish the Bugs with one of my favorites, the Two-marked Treehopper.

You won't believe what happened yesterday late afternoon. I was doing a quick trip around the shop, and at the very northern edge of the East Wall, I saw this creature. It, like the Empicoris Bugs, is a member of the Thread-legged Bugs. I inserted a pointer to the prehensile arms and to the eye if you will click on the second picture. We finish the Bugs with one of my favorites, the Two-marked Treehopper.

Let's go see what the Barklice are doing these days. The North Wall is quite a bit dryer than other Walls, despite a goodly batch of rain (though it still has quite a lot of shadowing there). First is one that Diane Young identified as "Classic Trichadenotecnum alexanderae". These fellows seem to especially love the Wall (usually North but sometimes East) and show up every couple of weeks. Second is a member of genus Valenzuela and if I were a bit bolder, I might have called it V. flavidus, but I'm NOT. And the yellow-eyed pale pinkish Barklouse in picture 3 was identified by me and Scott Shreve as Xanthocaecilius sommermanae.

This first picture contained two nymphs. The topmost one is (as expected since the major debris field started off as Ectopsocus eggs) an Ectopsocus meridionalis nymph (picture 2 from clearer image), but after twisting my eyes to try to see it better, the lower little fellow looks to me now as a Polypsocus corruptus nymph (picture 3), even though the red streaks on either side of the image are not very clear! Picture 4 shows an Ectopsocus nymph and another simpler-looking guest!

This Barklouse nymph is still showing up encrusted with substrate. And this probably Graphopsocus cruciatus is just emerging from the moult.

I had been having some trouble with my camera and after much menu-hopping I discovered that by mistake I had knocked the "auto" mode to "P". So having fixed that I went back out to see if I could retrieve anything from today. It turns out that while I was upstairs panicking about the settings, a Graphopsocus cruciatus female had been laying pristine new eggs (picture 1). She was now turning this way and that over the eggs, and I suddenly realized that she was now coating the eggs with protective silk (picture 3). In a way, having messed up the camera settings seemed to have turned out to be a lucky thing - I would not have gone right back down to the North Wall to see if I could find anything worth seeing!

That was a short but sweet idea of what the Barklice were up to this past week. Now let's see what the Flies have been doing. These first two have been submitted to iNat. The third is one of those Housefly-looking flies.

I can see two spots on the wing of this Mosquito. Can it be Anopheles quadrimaculatus?? Apparently there is only the big complex Anopheles quadrimaculatus. Let's see what happens. I just submitted it to iNat, along with the second (pictures 2 and 3).

More mystery Flies.

Here is our old friend, the Bathroom Moth Fly. Next is a relative named Lepiseodina conspicua. I knew they could fly, but speedwalking (picture 3)?

Here are some more little Flies. The third seems to be related to the Fruit Flies.

We managed to find a couple of Moths that sat still for pictures. The first one here is probably the only one clear enough to find an identifier, but no one has tried it yet.

We could set out for possibly the shortest Flower Walk in the recent history of Blogs... Here again see the budding Japanese Anemone. The Asters are budding profusely now. That Bumblebee was visiting the Fall Phlox, the ones I didn't plant.

That Climbing Fumitory has done itself proud this year. It still has blossoms hanging all over its length. The Goldenrod is now yellow, but those are just the buds waiting impatiently to flower. The Snowberries are so dainty in flower.

The cultivated Phlox takes on a different color with every change in light and direction.

Hamsa's Rose Mallow is still blooming in between other things. The Tall Evening Primrose is gorgeous eight feet in the air. It is being visited by one of those yellow-green Sweat Bees. Can you tell it from the low-growing Celandine Poppy?

The Water Lily was still blooming at the beginning of the week. Second is a new one which was carved by a racoon at night while it is free to maffick as it likes. (I do turn off the pump to the pond in case they get creative about where the water should go.)

Back from our Flower Walk, we see the Spiders. It wasn't a terribly Arachnid week, but here is what we found. First is a Common House Spider. Then a Cobweb Spider, judging from the round abdomen. I'm not sure what the third Spider is, but possibly a Cobwebber.

Here is a tiny Crab Spider. Remember, they hold their big first two legs together to resemble a crab's claw. Next is another one. Third is one that helps to create the idea of spooky Spiders - you can see all its eyes and look - no teeth!

This first one is probably a Grass Spider, but it wasn't in the grass- it was under a window on the shop. The next one must have been a ballet dancer - it's posting so that it always comes around to see the same direction. It's actually creating a wrap for later. The third Spider is one I don't know.

In our proud tradition of showing more unusual creatures, I like to show the Springtails next. Do you remember that they are a rule-breaker - they have 6 legs but are NOT insects. One day the lower section of the North Wall had several of these Springtails. One identifier said it was probably in genus Tomocerus. We have had those several times before, but I always think of Springtails as something we see here in the late winter/early spring.

We saw a lot of Slugs while it was raining so much. Here are two different ones.

This week while I was searching for Psocids (Barklice), there were a lot of tiny Pillbugs and other little creatures called Polyxenus. Neither of them is an insect.

Back to Insects. The Scorpionflies (remember, they aren't real Flies but they are insects) still tease you when you want to photograph them. But I got a few this week. First is a female and next is a male. Usually the males roll up their tails like Scorpions. But this fellow seems to have tied his tail in a knot.

Last week we had so many Wasps - this week, not so many. The first one is one we saw last week. Next is one that was down in the lichens - doesn't mean it ate lichens, but maybe other creatures that do. The third one was the one invading the Stink Bug eggs.

Now to the Pond. Remember all those Frogs? Well, the little guys don't sit on the lily pads as they used to. The Tinies and the Teensies have all gotten much bigger, and Frog Two, the largest Frog, has become a huge FROG, as big as any that has ever graced the pond. Here you can see eight Frogs, three at the north end of the Pond's east side, and five more at the south end. In case you only see four at the south end, look down near the water's surface.

I thought I should add some color to the Fishes' gene pool. So I went to the Pet Station in Jackson and bought three little Shubunkins. First, the three new fishes, two of which have red patches on blue, and one of which has blue and black patches, among their new brethren and cistern, as we used to say. They seemed to fit right in and were hungry (a hungry fish is a happy fish, as I think Bruce Weaver used to say).

Our friend Rocky comes by at night to see what kind of mischief he/she can make. I haven't seen it (him/her) yet, but it usually pulls the poor little water lettuces out and chomps off a couple of leaves, and now it has gotten into the habit of biting (I don't know how) bits off the latest Lily. Here you see the pattern left from the 'coon's biting the closed lily on the right side. A living Cricut it is. The other Lily was blooming at the beginning of the week. It was apparently just out of reach.

Another week has shot by. (In fact the whole summer has shot by, hasn't it?) I'll turn 82 on the 26th. If you would like to Zoom with me, please email me and I'll set up the Zoom engine. I'm a cheapskate so they will be shutting us down after only 40 minutes - but we can get in a few cyber-hugs.

Love, Martha

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