Saturday, May 30, 2009

A selection of arboretum bugs from today

A nice shield bug

Katydid nymph

Tiny gray bird nymph

Harlequin cluster

Spotted cucumber beetle


A resting bee.

A handsome fly.
When I was looking over these photos on my computer, they looked too grainy. Then I looked at my camera settings, and I think I had the ISO set too high. I still have a few things to learn about my new camera.

Check out my new purse

It has bugs on it!

I saw it at Sears the other day, and I couldn't resist. I just happened to be in the market for a new purse. I'm not one of those ladies who changes handbags frequently. I've been schlepping around with the same little old purse for about 3 years, and even though it was made very well, and was still OK, I was just tired of it. I wasn't looking for a bug purse, but this one found me.

Cute as it is, it's not made very well, so it probably won't last 3 years, but I'll be satisfied if it makes it through the summer.

My desert gecko

I brought him home from Joshua Tree a couple of months ago. He's like Stanley, only fully grown. He has been eating well. I have him on a paper towel substrate, as unsightly as that looks, but at least he won't get impacted from ingesting sand like Stanley did.

Mystery squash with bugs

This pumpkin-looking thing sprouted in my compost a couple of months ago, and I transplanted it in my front yard. I've found similar plants before and tried to nurture them, but they've never actually produced a full sized fruit. I'm expecting this ping-pong ball sized fruit to fall off at any time. But the flowers are attracting some insects.

This bee seemed like it was old and tired and ready to die.

Lucky for me, that made it easier to photograph.

Near another flower, a skipper had a head full of pollen. Like the bee, it seemed more sluggish than it should have been. It made me wonder if the pollen of this mystery-squash has some kind of tranquilizing effect.

Mantid nymph

This little guy was a funny color.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

♪ Getting to know you ♪

(as sung to my new camera)

Even though it's very similar to my old camera, it's still different. A little more sensitive, perhaps. Or maybe I still have to find the best settings for my point-and-shoot bug macros. But I'm finding my way. Here are some of my better shots from yesterday.

I love this picture, not just because it's pretty sharp for how little the spider is, but because this is the first time I've ever captured the big beautiful eyes of a jumping spider.

As I was focusing on this little thing, I wasn't even sure it was a bug until I took the picture. The legs were so skinny, I could not see them with my eyes, even with my glasses!

This spider's abdomen was about the size of a sesame seed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back in the saddle again!

This ended up being the last bug picture I was able to take with my old camera. These are the eggs from this post. I was excited to see they were hatching until I realized that tiny parasitic wasps were coming out of the eggs.

So here's those eggs again, empty this time, taken with the new camera, a Canon SD950 IS. It's comfortingly similar to my old camera.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Last bug photo for a while?

My camera is on the fritz. That's bad news!

The good news is now I'm going to get a new camera. But I need to figure out what kind to get first. That might take a while.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A close shave for this slug

The bok choy in my garden has started to bolt, so instead of cutting a few stalks here and there, I have been cutting whole heads of it at a time. I love the perfect rosette it makes when I cut the bottom off.

This rosette had some "stuff" in it, though, and on closer inspection, there was a slug, a very lucky slug, down in the bottom of one of the stems.

I looked on the knife and on other side of where I cut, and I didn't see any slug bits. I waited, and soon I saw his antennas starting to poke out. This was the best shot I got of him before he wisely turned around and made his way back into the bottom of the rosette. I ended up putting the whole rosette out in the yard in the hope he would find his way to safety.
But I dunno, I think it looks like I took off part of his face.
And that's not the only surprise I found in my veggies. Check this out.

Tiny bugs

This has to be the tiniest baby katydid I've ever seen. That's a miniature rose it's eating. The flower is only slightly bigger across than, say, an Oreo cookie. His antennae were blowing in the breeze.

These are the same kind of little red bugs as the ones I hatched the other day. Notice how round their little bellies are after a day or so of feeding.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Red eggs hatched into red bugs

These are the red eggs from this post. They hatched today, into some kind of heteroptera.

They are super-tiny, as you can see by my gargantuan index finger next to one of the hatchlings.

Here is another shot of my finger (Looks almost like a toe, doesn't it? It isn't, though.) next to the little dandelion bud. You can almost make out the teeny eggs and bugs up near the top.

I don't know exactly what kind of bugs they are, but I'm not going to try to raise these things. They're just too small. I have lots of dandelion weeds in my yard, so I draped the little drooping bud over a live growing one, and I carefully transferred the one loose bug onto the weed, too.

Someone's about to have an adventure...

... and/or lunch, maybe

Pretty wasp

Friday, May 01, 2009

Good scrapings in the compost bin

This snail has been hanging out in my compost bin. I don't mind him there. I figured he was eating some of the decomposing kitchen waste. Or maybe he was just hanging out.

It turns out, he has been eating the brown stuff from the inside of the composter lid. Over the years, the lid has alternately laid upturned with water and gunk sitting in it, and then dried out. The resulting residue must be a crusty delicacy for a snail.

His trail clearly shows everywhere his "teeth" (radula) scraped on the lid, and his head moved from side to side as he grazed his way along.

Very interesting, and much more educational than seeing my vegetable plants with gaping, slime-covered holes.

At long last, Froggie

Way back in January, I found some frog eggs. I ended up with only one viable tadpole, and he has taken his good and plenty time growing up. This week, he pulled himself out onto a plant stem in his "tadpolarium". He held on, in that same spot for about 4 days, as his tail slowly disappeared. This afternoon, he has moved to another leaf. I am taking that as his signal that he is ready to begin his life as a frog. He is super-tiny, but seems healthy. I hope he will eat the tiny flies I have been catching for him.

Coming of age

Still pale and vulnerable, a freshly molted Harlequin bug rests beside its old exoskeleton.

When the new skin has hardened, it will look like this.

Cactus bee

Inspired by fellow bug-hunter Ron H. I sought out the fuzzy brown cactus bees at the arboretum.

I like the frizzly-looking pollen in this picture, and the frizzly-pollen pantaloons the bee is sporting. But beyond that, my little camera falls short. (Yes, I'm blaming the camera.)

detail of photo by Ron Hemberger

Ron's camera captured not only the delightful "fur" of the bee, but also the surprisingly (to me anyway) triangular shape of the pollen. You can see more views of Ron's bee here.

Spider Zen

Perfectly posed by my front door this morning:
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