July 24, 2022

Martha O'Kennon

Well, last week I mentioned that the hottest days of the year had not arrived yet. Well, now they have. Climate change is obviously upon us, and I fear for ourselves and the beautiful creatures whose pictures appear here. Let's hope (and work hard) for the best.

The Asiatic Day Flower (they always remind me of the ones we saw when we lived in China) is still going, and may go till Fall (I hope). Next is the Day Lily August Orange. What a treat to see it again! Third is one of the Water Lilies (with one of the two Tiny Frogs) and maybe you can make out a new bud, so maybe this lovely flower is setting up its continuation!

Here is an Eastern Black Carpenter Ant; an unidentified one; and a batch of Winter Ants as they nanny the nymphs of the Keeled Treehopper.

Here are a few Beetles: One is still unidentified. The second is some kind of Flea Beetle, though a rather large one. Third is another unidentified one.

Here is of course our very popular Asian Lady Beetle. How that color cheers the psyche. It's followed by an as yet unknown small red Beetle, and (third) by one of the Comb-clawed Darkling Beetles.

What about the Bugs? Well, here is one of the youngest Pale Green Assassin Bug nymphs I've ever seen. Second is a Damsel Bug (who, despite its name is another kind of Assassin Bug). I think it is Lasiomerus annulatus.

This looks a lot like a Japanese Maple Leafhopper, especially with its pointed face and huge eyes! It may have been recently hatched, because the bluish tones to its wings haven't yet developed. Second is a good-sized red Leafhopper. The third is the nymph of the Coppery Leafhopper, Jikradia olitoria. Now that is a face! Fourth is a late addition which appeared after I'd already mentally closed the Leafhopper section. It's that genus Scaphoideus Leafhopper that we see fairly often (one species or another, or unnamed, like this one).

Related to the Leafhoppers is this Alder Spittlebug. I had a photo once of a pair of them mating. The one on the back of the other was more black, and the lower one was brown like this one. So I think this first one is the female and the second male.

Here is a batch of Stink Bug eggs, as seen on July 24. I've been watching them since picture 2 was taken on July 14. Picture 1 was taken today just after a rain. I hope that the extra liquid (I see it inside some of the eggs when I click to enlarge the picture) won't hurt any developing embryos. I also now hope that if and when they hatch we will be able to identify the species from the nymphs. Third is a Two-Mark Treehopper on a redbud twig. Fourth was a surprise. I called it a "beetle" when I submitted it for ID on iNat. Several peoople agreed that it was a "common hopper", which seems to be a catchall for any Bug that is related to the common hoppers, like leafhoppers and treehoppers!

Since we've reached the Treehoppers, let's drag our folding chair out to where the colony has been living for several weeks. Last week we saw an older nymph exhibiting the place where the "keels" would emerge. Well, my friends, a few days ago where two nymphs had been we see a couple of adult Keeled Treehopper on July 21. And maybe another, but it hasn't shaped up yet. The third shows a branch with four adults from yesterday, July 23rd! In 2022, when I made my more complete observations of that year's colony into a website , you can see that the first adults showed up then on August 18. Global warming? I don't know.

Let's go see the Barklice. Some have come and more have gone. The Echmepteryx hageni are still around, mostly adults (picture 1) but a lot of nymphs too (picture 2). One that has come back is Trichadenotecnum alexanderae (picture 3). Remember last week when we had its relative, Trichadenotecnum quaesitum? It's gone now.

The Psocus leidyi whose nymphs (picture 1) were all over the North Wall, at least 6-7 of them, was down to one nymph on panel 17. But on the next day, on panel 18 we saw an adult! Most of the other adults flew away a day or so after hatching. In the third picture, look at the Pterostigma, the roughly triangular figure on the outside wing. I think this is a start at identifying P. leidyi.

I didn't spot the little Ectopsocus meridionalis nymphs after they hatched. They may have gone down under the shop bottom to keep cool? But another old friend that we haven't seen in a long time is an adult Graphopsocus cruciatus. This week fixed that. The first view is the adult (there were quite a lot of other sightings), second is the one nymph I saw this week, except for the one in picture 3 along with an adult.

Last week, I didn't see Metylophorus novaescotiae last week, being so hot to track down the P. leidyi. But this week there were a few! Last week, no Polypsocus corruptus, but yes this week. Just this one (picture 2). This one seems a bit washed out, but maybe it is a very NEW adult. We did see one clutch of eggs, but I'm not sure whose. They seemed a bit small for G. cruciatus, but we'll see.

One day this Blue Dasher Dragonfly teased me by coming close but moving away. So I got only a couple of fuzzy far-off shots. But today it cooperated and I was able to get some nice shots. The third picture looks entirely different. I took it on June 29, 2017, about 5 years ago. I figure one is the male and the other the female. Any guesses which is which?

You'll be so happy to see how many gorgeous flies we saw. This colorful one is very friendly. Even the common Fly in frame 2 is beautiful. The third little midge is probably in the Tribe Tanytarsini. (That's where a lot of the little green midges go.)

I didn't know what this lovely tiny Fly was until M.J. Hatfield told me it was a Wasp! But YOU know the second one is the Bathroom Moth Fly. Third is a mystery still!

The first one here has still not been ID'ed. Second, this big Robberfly (Efferia aestuans) was sitting on a rock by the Pond, probably waiting for some delicate little prey. And you'll be happy to see that our faithful Vinegar Fly (Chymomyza amoena) is back to see us. It doesn't seem to have any fear!

Since I didn't catch any Butterflies this week, my friend Joey Grzeskowiak lent me a batch of photos she took on a Butterfly expedition run by the members of the North American Butterfly Association (NABA). Here are her Coral Hairstreak, Silver-bordered Fritillaries, and American Copper. Thanks for sharing, Joey!

Meanwhile my next door neighbor Deb is visiting her sister Pam in Tennessee. Here is how she is able to grow a lotus in a pot on the ground.

You know I'm saving the Fishes and Frogs for the end when I talk about the Pond, don't you? There was one little Moth that sat still to be snapped - this Norway Maple Pigmy Moth. It makes sense, given the number of Norway Maple trees I have out there. But now it's time for our Flower Walk. Again, we don't have that many big things blooming. One exception is the Day Lily types. The Omahan day lily was still blooming early this week. And the Common Day Lilies have now been blooming for several weeks.

A new lily for this week is the August Orange Day Lily, a few days early. The Phlox is really filling out. And the Celandine Poppies are still putting out a few flowers.

That climbing fumitory has leapt off its pole and has been climbing over and into other plants. And the Asiatic Day Flower (a relative of the Spiderwort (which is long over)) is beautiful but you have to look for it. My weeds are the most prolific! But up on the safety of the Deck is the Indoor Hibiscus that I've had for tens of years.

Here's one more: The Bull Thistles with the amazing colony of Keeled treehoppers are starting to bloom (picture 1). How can something so prickly have such a lovely flower? I can't not count the Water Lilies. Even though, here in their second year, they are finally blooming one by one - they are splendid. The Tiny Frog loves their leaves, a cool place to soak in a little water. That bud sticking out of the water is now about to bloom. If it does by tomorrow, I'll show you. It rained

I think it's time to see some of the Spiders of the Week. This first one is a Cobwebber, maybe a Common House Spider. Next is the Horned Parasitic Cobweaver (two views). It still fascinates me how it unfolds mathematically. The news lately made me very much interested in what @tigerbb told me about this female Horned Parasitic Cobweaver. If you can run along the top line of this spider, you'll see a "bump" which is the epigynum (See @tigerbb's comments in This observation .

This mysterious Spider is in Genus Larinioides, and is a kind of Orbweaver. Can you believe that the second picture is of the same creature? So many thanks to @tigerbb, who knows so much about spiders and helped me identify quite a few of today's Spiders. Including the third picture, which she says is of the Colourful Comb-footed Spiders. I love its many colors and patterns!

This next beautiful Spider was hard for both of us to identify because the pattern that gives it all away was NOT what she was presenting. Only when she turns her back to us do we see that she is the Cross Orbweaver! Guess why!

Here's a mysterious tiny red Spider. And one more tiny Mystery - I was sure it wasn't a spider because it only has six legs, but it turns out it has two or three missing legs. I'm thinking it's a Long-bodied Cellar Spider.

Let's see some of the creatures that AREN'T insects or spiders. Here's that Millipede, maybe a Garden Millipede. We have a lot of them! Then a Pillbug. Finally, here we get fooled. This long-feelered creature could be a Fly or a Moth. But it is neither - it belongs to Genus Oecetis, which is a member of the Long-horned Caddisflies!

We've had quite a few rather beautiful Wasps. This first one is in Genus Pleolophus. The second cutie is a Chalcidoid Wasp in the Subfamily Pteromalinae. The third showed up only an hour or two ago so it hasn't been submitted yet. It is probably an Ichneumonid Wasp.

This first one only came by today, but I suspect it is also Ichneumonid. The next two pictures are of the same Spider-eating Wasp (two pictures). Usually we see the larvae that specialize in Spiders, but I rarely come across an adult Wasp in action. One's heart does go out to the Spider this time. Sometimes the Wasps give the Spider to their eggs for baby food. Note: Colleagues @ichman and @susanna_h suggest this is Tribe Ephialtini. And here once more is the lovely tiny Fly that is a Wasp instead.

It was pretty humid all week and so I spent a bit less time just sitting by the pond, but the Frogs and the Fishes like the humidity! It was so hot that the Frogs spent less time on the rocks that surround the Pond. But I still caught them a few times. First, one of the Tinies with Pebbles and Bunky, the two bluest of the Fishes. Next you see a Tiny Frog hoping Spooky isn't going to have a swim. Third is Frog three, the next larger Frog.

Here is the first picture I've taken of both the Tinies sitting on companion Lily leaves. The second shows one of the Tinies grinning at you! The last one may be a new Froggie.

As promised, that last Lily finally opened this afternoon after the rain was over.

As we say in AI class, Time flies like an arrow but Fruit Flies like a banana. Both parts are true, of course, especially the bit about time. Was I ever lucky? Ate out with friends a couple of days this week, and then Friday evening one of my friends in Jackson let me stay over so I wouldn't have to drive home in the dark after a special dinner followed by a beautiful evening service. I am so lucky and thank you to everyone who helped or fed me during the week! I hope you can also count the amazing things that make YOU a happy person.

Love, Martha

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