June 25, 2023

Martha O'Kennon

Another week waiting for rain. Hot into the 80's F, but Thursday night was cool and so was Friday. For a change, here is an old favorite that has survived most of the Four-lined Plant Bug's onslaught, and teasing us with a desire to see more of this lovely plant. More to come: the self-planted Blackberry patch is doing well. And a real treat! The second kind of Water Lily, which I'm calling Lily 2, has opened and has bloomed for three days so far. A second Lily bloomed on Saturday. (Lily 1(the last Lily) bloomed for 4, so hold your breath!) Enlarge to see the little frog looking over the Lily's shoulder.

The Winter Ants are still around, though the larger Nearctic Ants seem to dominate the field. First here, a Winter Ant, and second a Nearctic with its reddish thorax. The third is one without the red (or possibly an Eastern Black Carpenter Ant, since it has a lot of fur on its gaster).

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.

The Aphids that I was so happy to see are almost gone now, and so are their predators, the Lacewing larvae. I will include, however, this picture from the end of the last week, showing a group of Aphids I didn't recognize. @mmmmbugs of iNat did say, yes, they are Aphids. Second is one that I thought must be a Bug nymph, but no, it's an Aphid! From there, let's go visit the one Green Bee and afterwards the Beetles, starting with this Skin Beetle, Anthrenus fuscus.

Now for a real story. You all know the Asian Lady Beetles. I hadn't seen an adult one for some time, but for quite a while I kept seeing these Beetle Larvae. A few days ago, this Larva chucked its skin, leaving the Pupal form in picture 2. And Friday we actually got to see the end of this drama. Picture 4 shows the adult just emerging from that pupa! Now this adult is still light-colored and has no spots yet. But it does have the "M" mark on its "forehead"!

Next we see this Weevil, Acamptus rigidus. And that was the end of the Beetle list for this week. And so we are thrust into the Bugs. First (picture 2) the scourge of the serious gardener, the Four-lined Plant Bug. Last here is a Plant Bug with no ID.

First here is a mystery Bug that I thought at first was a Rove Beetle because of the non-existent wings. But several people weighed in on this diagnosis, the last being the explanation that it is actually the nymph of the Bug to be. Next I thought was another nymph, but someone on iNat said, no, it's an Aphid! The pretty pink Bug in picture 3 is the nymph of our Two-marked Treehopper.

We saw a lot of Plant Bugs. One of the most frequently-spotted is ironically called the Obscure Plant Bug (pictures 1 and 2)! Third is another Plant Bug, one that appeared just at the end of last week's installment.

Let's look at the Leafhoppers. Sometimes I think it is because of their extremely small size that they are so pretty. First is the Red-banded Leafhopper Graphocephala coccinea, just as it is shedding its old skin to become an adult (picture 2). The third one has a bright yellow streak that sometimes is seen in the nymphs of this Leafhopper.

By far the rest of the Leafhoppers this week are members of a genus of sharp-nosed Leafhoppers, that is genus Aphrodes. I'm guessing that number 2 is another member. The third one (top) looks like Aphrodes makarovi, but apparently can't be ID'd without dissecting the male's sexual organs. The one right under it may be the opposite sex, or just another Aphrodes.

Let's see what is happening in the land of the Barklice. I've now started to sidle down the lower couple of feet on the North Wall. Life there is getting more and more interesting. As of last week, we had seen three species: Graphopsocus cruciatus, Valenzuela flavidus, and Polypsocus corruptus.


But Friday's catch was surprising! I managed to see several other Barklice common from last year. First, a young nymph of Metylophorus novaescotiae. Then a real surprise: a Barklouse in genus Trichadenotecnum. It's too small to be able to identify it to species. On Wednesday I had seen the first Ectopsocus meridionalis of the season!


Then on Friday, that E. meridionalis turned into several different shots at various stages of egg-laying! Since I can't tell them apart, I can only look at the eggs they are laying to say that these probably represent three different individuals.


So now it's time to survey the Flies of the Week. The first one was the winner of most-commonly-seen Fly of the Week. It's in genus Neurigona. Second is Rainieria antennaepes (remember, its antennae and legs look alike). Third is the Bathroom Moth Fly.

Here's one of the larger Hover Flies, Helophilus fasciatus. It lays its eggs in the Pond and the larvae clean up the water by eating detritus. Number 2 is one I'm waiting for an ID for. Those first two might be confused for each other. The third looks like a member of genus Minettia, and @zdanko has just confirmed that. Number 4 might be a close relative.

I have an apology. I had said these two Flies were female and male of the Quadrate Snipe Fly. My colleague on iNat, @bugologist2, says that they are BOTH MALE! The key is that the males usually have the larger eyes, and these two have the same size eyes.

This Fly might be a really long Crane Fly. Next is another unknown Fly. Third is a really long-legged Fly!

Last week we showed a lot of Condylostylus patibulatus, those bright shiny tiny Flies. Here's one even smaller and just as flashy. We also saw a couple of kinds of Robber Flies. Here's a new one. And the last one is one of those Picture-winged Flies.

Here are this week's Moths. First is the Black Crescent Proteoteras Moth. Next is in genus Monopis, and third is our old friend, the Norway Maple Pigmy Moth.

First here is a Spring Dead-leaf Roller Moth. I got fooled by the next one. The ID app said it was a Green Honeysuckle Sawfly, but I who know all said to the iNat member that handles Butterfly and Moth caterpillars, I know a Moth or Butterfly caterpillar when I see one. Then I carried on with the first ID and looked up the Green Honeysuckle Sawfly larva and oops!. That's what this one is. It's the only Sawfly of this week.

So let's have a short Flower Walk. We saw the Japanese Anemone plant at the beginning of this blog. Next is the Bee Balm that I left potted on the deck. And third is the Valerian that the bee is drinking from.

One morning when I was looking out the second-floor window, I saw a lovely little green Hummingbird drinking from this deck box below. Not having the camera in hand, I could only enjoy as it drank from blossom to blossom to blossom. So add a Hummingbird to your mental image! The next deck box contains these Poppies, which really do come in red and yellow.

If you want to consider the Flowers only now, please don't look inside this Poppy flower - it contains the nymph of a Scudderian Katydid.

The deck is also summer home to Jadesy, who we still hope will set buds this fall. Stepping off the deck we see this Celandine Poppy's only remaining flower. (Don't worry, they will set more buds and continue blooming for the rest of the season.)

The first picture shows an Obscure Plant Bug in a small Daisy-like flower on the North Wall, where I look for my Barklice. Next is another picture of Lily 2 with a little Frog. I should explain that the Flowers are only part of the Lily plant - all those pads are just leaves of the Lily. Also, there are three different Lily plants in here. The third one, planted two years ago, has never had a flower. So cross your fingers for this summer! Third,

If only it will rain (it is today finally) for a few days, maybe these raspberries will ripen. Same wishes for the Blackberries (picture 2). The one thing I wanted my workmen to save as they cleaned out the patch of overgrown trees on the north side of the house, was the Mulberry bushes (really trees). Luckily, I had this picture showing some of the berries ripening. I used to love Mulberries as a child, but that has gone by, I suppose.

The Spiderwort is still going, but I forgot to take a fresh picture of it. But here is a picture from last week! In the bushes on the South side of the house, we can still see Hamsa Mukundan's Rose Mallow budding up. Thanks again, Hamsa! Finally, the Asiatic Dayflower that we like so much is finally up. If I wanted a better shot, I would have had to lie down on the ground, and we don't do that very easily nowadays.

Let's go now to see what kinds of Spiders we got this week. Here is our old friend the Common House Spider. Next is Euryopis funebris, one of the great egg-layers among the Spiders. Third is the Jumping Spider, Naphrys pulex.

Most of the Spiders I see turn out to be Cobweb Spiders, a very large group. Picture 2 seems to show one like in picture 1, but with a nice prey item. When I first saw picture 3, I thought, now that is certainly a special Spider. But when I got the ID saying it was a Typical Cobweb Spider, I almost decided not to grow up to be an Arachnologist.

The Orchard Orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) is getting easier to identify these days.

Here is a bright red Spider with some prey. Picture 2 shows another mystery Spider, and the last one may be the same Spider.

My old favorite Pirate Spider, Mimetus puritanus, seems to be the star of this first picture. We can make out the "necktie" at least, and see the littler Spider in its grasp. Sorry it was taken in a place where there is very little light, and my newish camera isn't doing a great job in that kind of light!

Besides the Spiders, we also had a few Harvestmen that I STILL haven't identified. These are from the very end of last week.

Here are a few Wasps from this week. Unfortunately, they are still on my To-Submit list.

How about some Frogs? I didn't notice any dropping off the rolls this week. Here's Tonguey, who turns out to be one of the bigger Frogs who responded to calls from another Spider. Second shows a couple parked near one another. And the third shows three of the smallest Frogs on their Lily pads.

Here is a little conversation between Tonguey (on the left) and another big Frog (on the right) who seem to be conversing on a special topic, like, shall we go to lunch at the Frog and Toad East Shop? Just click on the space and the video will start up.

How about some Fishes? They are so bright and swim so deftly I could (and often do) visit them every moment of the Week. Picture 2 shows the pond covered with a handful of fishy food.

Well, Sunday morning had a couple hours of light rain. You'll be happy to see what's happening out there RIGHT NOW! I guess it's too late to bring in the chair cushions. Let's hope we get the promised big soak!

Another week by the Pond. I can tell you that next week Mr. and Ms. Frog or maybe Mr. and Ms. Toad will have happy news for you and me! Please stay tuned. :-)

Love, Martha

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