June 18, 2023

Martha O'Kennon

Another early Summer week - The best part about the cold nights was that those were the nights the raccoons didn't mavick around and tear up my lily plants and maybe even kill a frog or two. There were a couple more warm days in which you had only to lift a leaf and you would be staring a new critter (new in the sense that it would not be something you had seen this year). I'm exaggerating a bit, of course, but it was lovely to carry a camera heavier than it had been when you went out hunting. Here are some of the flowers you will be encountering during the Flower Walk - just a brief preview. First, one of the many Satin-green Bees that love the Valerian on the path from the gate to the front yard. Then we see this gorgeous black Beetle with its red thorax in the light pink Spiderwort - by the way, @entomike of iNat called this one as Oulema collaris and showed me some other of the same species and also in Spiderwort! And finally, a tiny patch of magenta in the equally tiny Crane's Bill Geranium on the way to the front yard.

Our Ants have gotten very fast but sometimes I capture one I can identify. This first one is a Winter Ant. Second and third are Carpenter Ants, maybe Eastern Black Carpenters or maybe Nearctic Carpenters.. I was so taken with the numbers and names of the the Creatures visible everywhere that I somewhat passed over the Ants. Can you imagine?

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.

I remember when we tried to get rid of Aphids but now it seems that they are a symbol of the health of an ecosystem. This colony has numbers of Black Aphids and also Green ones. The Green ones (picture 2) seem to be on a minor recovery. They are colored so much like the leaves they aren't easy to see. Picture 3 shows a different kind of aphids. There are two adults and a lot of nymphs.

The Bees in genus Augochlora are so lovely. This first one is feasting on the Valerian. You can see how it is getting pollen all over it. What a pollinator! Next, a tiny Bumblebee in the Valerian again. The next one shows a big Bumblebee - or does it? It isn't. You can see the black mouthparts seem too complicated. This is actually another case of a fly mimicking a bee. Its name is Laphria thoracica.

On to the Beetles! You may think this first creature is a mistake, but it isn't. It is the larva (grub) of one of the Asian Lady Beetles. These larvae eat leaves, while they will eat other creatures when they grow up. There are many of them out this week. Second was identified by @entomike of iNat as Oulema collaris. Third shows that Immigrant Green Leaf Weevil that we saw before.

Here you see the Redbud bruchid, a Weevil that lives as a grub inside the pods of the Leguminous Redbud. Then a Carpet Beetle in the Goutweed. Next is an unidentified Beetle.

Now for the Bugs. The Leafhoppers were many this week. All these are in genus Aphrodes.

First is the nymph of one of the Graphocephala Leafhoppers. Then one I've only seen a few times - Pediopsoides distinctus. There were a number of green and yellow Leafhoppers. This is one of the green ones.

Here is a little creature in a good-sized bit of spittle. I could only surmise it was the nymph of some kind of Spittle Bug. I only saw those Pale Green Assassin Bugs once this week, but it doesn't mean they are all gone.


There were many more Bugs. Let's first look at the Plant Bugs. First up is a beautiful Bug, the Four-lined Plant Bug, which enjoys eating your expensive plants to the ground. Next is one that doesn't seem to be harmful - the Obscure Plant Bug. Last is also a Plant Bug, but I don't yet know which one.


This first one looks to me like a nymph in genus Phytocoris. Next is a Plant Bug in genus Taedia. I think based on having seen one in another year that it is Taedia scrupea. It was identified in iNat a few years ago. The last one is one I only saw this week for the first time.


How about some Barklice? Here is our early-bird Graphopsocus cruciatus. Then Valenzuela flavidus, and the one that just came out from its winter snooze, Polypsocus.


Good news. There are still lots of eggs waiting to hatch. I wonder if the color of the eggs says anything about the eventual hatchees.

We saw one Damselfly for sure, the Slender Spreadwing. The next one was so dark and cut off that I can't be sure if it was the same. Third is a Caddisfly, which I thought at first was a Moth.

I think we've reached the Flies. Here are one that looks like a Bluebottle but is actually in the tribe Muscini, and another big Fly of subfamily Calliphorinae.

Here are two little Flies that look alike except for the coloring. They are the Quadrate Snipe Flies - I thought the first was a female and the second male, but I was told by @bugologist2 that these two are both males. The female is even different!

Here are a few Flies that hold their wings back. Note the heavy spines on the legs of the second one. Last is a Fly of the beautiful genus Sargus.

It is hard to keep your finger off the button when there are so many pictures in every pose of these gorgeous Flies Condylostylus patibulatus.

This first one is Loxocera cylindrica, which I have been sending in to iNat for a long time and hoping someone would identify it as the above. Finally @chrisangell on iNat agreed! Thanks again Chris! Next is one that looks for all the world as if it belonged in the genus Minettia. Anyone want to try it? There are a lot of them this year.

Here is another pretty little Hover Fly, Toxomerus geminatus. (We saw its genus-mate T. marginatus a week or two ago). Next is another gorgeous little fly, a green Midge in the tribe Tanytarsini. And here is another relative of the Midges, a Mosquito that I haven't sent in yet, but don't recognize.

Here are a few more Flies. First is a tiny one in genus Neurigona. Next is unidentified but its bright coloration, thanks to Wing Interference Pattern, makes it a collectible. Third looks like a Moth but is really a fluffy Fly, probably the Trickling Filter Fly, in the genus Psychoda.

I saved this section of the Flies for now. They are the Robber Flies. First is a small Fly (striped-leg but it can eat its weight in other creatures. Next is the one I threw into the Bees section as an example of a creature that has evolved to mimic a Bumblebee.

I believe we have reached the end of the Flies. We did have a few Moths. The largest of them is this Grey Porcelain. Next is one in the genus Homosetia. The tiny Norway Maple Pigmy Moth is everywhere, which only makes sense since we have so many Norway Maples in the back yard.

This Moth is actually the Trickling Filter Fly. And here, once more, is the caterpillar of the Spongy (formerly Gypsy) Moth. We are now at the point where we take a little walk to see the Flowers.

On the deck, the Lantana, an annual plant, has the most beautiful colors. That seems to be the only deck item I photographed. So let's go down and see what else is happening. The Spiderwort seems to have differentiated itself into several colors. Next is a clump by the gate. And then a light purple colored one.

More Spiderwort.

This Tiger Lily plant, though scrawny, has survived the terrible Lily Beetles so far with my daily pick-off of those things that at one time nearly killed completely the patch of Tiger Lilies that were so lovely. I wonder if we could count the Peony as an invasive species. The only original plant is the one that we saw being worked on by the Ants a couple of weeks ago (which is now finished its bloom). Since then, this one (picture 2) in the front yard popped up last year to my extreme surprise. And a coupe of weeks ago, I finally saw the one blooming in the very rear of the same strip that holds all those Valerian flowers.

Among the Wild Flowers in the yard is the bright yellow Hawkweed. Next, not Wild as it was given to me by the wife of a former dean of the College, is that Valerian with a Fly or Wasp supping on it. Third is the Goutweed with a Carpet Beetle in its midst.

That Dame's Rocket is declining rapidly these days. One can already see that the Fall Phlox (both the stuff near the Dame's Rocket and the cultivar that I bought at Horrock's long ago, neither pictured) is almost to the height for blooming.

Although the flowers on our two Berry bushes are long gone, the fruit is ripening. Here is a shot combining the two kinds of Berries which grew up near each other. Now on the opposite side of the house, the no-man's-land on the North, there are actually Mulberries, some almost ripe (pictures 2 and 3).

Now let's see if we have any Spiders of note. First, a few pictures of Bassaniana genus crab Spiders.

When I first saw this Spider with the very long green legs, I didn't at first recognize it but the lattice work on the abdomen in picture 2 (click a time or two to see this ornament), it reminded me of a younger Orchard Orbweaver. I'm pretty sure that's right.

Last week we saw this first picture of a Spider which seemed to be guarding a humongous egg case, and then this week, here is the unguarded egg case and many many tiny spiderlings. Finally, here is my favorite Spider, the Common Pirate Spider (Mimetus puritanus).

Besides the Spider, we also had a good set of Mite-like things and Daddy-long-legs. I thought that first one would be a Mite with white legs and possible with a bit of prey. But today I found they are actually the nymph of a Plant Bug called Cocobaphes frontifer. These things run fast, so I couldn't get much in the way of accuracy!

I still have a lot of work to try to identify the various kinds of Harvestmen (also known as Daddy-long-legs. Here are just a few of the ones I've seen lately.

There were so many Wasps this week. Let me put out their pictures and then try to identify them as much as possible. (Assuming the server doesn't die of Wasp bites.)

From last week, this first one is the Four-toothed Mason Wasp. Second was identified as the queen of the Downy Yellow-Jacket. I'd never heard so much loud buzzing around my head before. It wanted to sit on the very door I wanted to go in by. We both won. The two little fellows were the last wasps identified as Canadian Potter Wasps last week before the server got too tired to go on.

This first one is probably the Catskills Potter Wasp. The second seems to be a Picket-boring Aphid Wasp (genus Passaloecus),this due to @bullema on iNat. Good luck, Aphids! The third is pretty indistinct, but it looks like a Wasp.

That Raccoon! I've been blaming him for moving the water hose so that it aims away from the pond. But recently I've begun to blame him for killing frogs. I've now found two recognizable frogs or toad carcasses left on the deck. He also likes to go fishing. The Fish gather at the corner where the Lilies have a good start and since they are used to gathering when I go there, they also probably come up hoping for a nice supper. Something is tearing the pretty Lily Pads, but I haven't found any dead fishes. Now to the Frogs. There is only one that I recognize by face because he has still got that tongue hanging out. His name is now Tonguey. Next: they do like to congregate somewhat. And last, here are THREE relaxing on the Lily pads.

The Fishes are still hungry (good sign) and happily come when I sing the "Here little fishy fishy fishes". Their colors brighten the whole pond. If you click on this picture, you can see the littlest Fish in the Pond. He or she needs a name.

A few more Fishy pictures. In the first picture, you can see the two Lily buds that the marauder didn't bit off - the larger one should be blooming soon.

So what an exciting week it has been. Always something new in Nature. Sometimes I hear someone saying, Thank you, and suddenly realize those words are coming out of my mouth!

Love, Martha

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