Monday, December 26, 2011

Buggy cuteness for my bathroom!

bug tile samples We are in the middle of remodeling our kitchen, but already thinking ahead to the bathroom. I plan to have bugs in the decor. While shopping for tile, I learned that I can have my own designs etched onto tiles, and that's just what I'm going to do. These are the designs I've submitted, shown on a green onyx tile background, which is what I'm getting. When the real tiles arrive, I'll take pictures of them, too.

unknown larva

unknown larva Saw this guy crawling on my back patio last week. Picked it up and brought it to where there was better light to take a picture. Waited for it to uncurl itself. Waited, waited, waited, waited... gave up. Sorry.

Mottled ladybug

mottled ladybug I found this ladybug this morning. The spots have almost completely run together, leaving very little red. I think it might be an Asian ladybug, but it seemed a little small. mottled ladybug With its wing hanging out like that, I thought at first it couldn't fly, but guess what?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankfully, something new to post

Thanksgiving porch moth This lovely moth was on my porch this morning. It had a familiar look to it: brownish with wings laying out flat. A Geometrid species, of which there are hundreds. But as I searched through all my moth photos, I couldn't find one exactly like this. So off to BugGuide I went, where I'm pretty sure it matches up with the genus Tetracis.

 Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

My last mantis of the year?

I found this brown mantis almost a month ago at the arboretum, at my final public bug safari tour of the year. I was hoping I would see at least one more mantis there today, and there might still be one or two, here and there, but I didn't find any. So this may be my last one for the year. She's a pretty one, though. pretty mantid

Pretty brown pattern
Look at the beautiful mottling on her wings and abdomen.
  A fond farewell I'll miss the sweet triangular faces, till next spring.

Also last month, I started my sabbatical, if you can call it that when I am only a volunteer. But it's been almost ten years for the arboretum and 20 years for the schools, and I need a break. I'm taking a selfish year off from all my volunteering. I still plan to continue taking pictures of bugs whenever I can, but I'm also trying to do other things, like finally remodeling my house, which is still trapped in the 60's, 70's, and 80's.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Monarch caterpillar time

high concentration of caterpillars Undaunted by what passes for inclement weather here in SoCal, the monarch caterpillars are beginning to boom at the arboretum.

  monarch caterpillar
Their peak season here will last through December or January, or till the milkweed runs out.

Quick change

morning moult
A milkweed bug takes its chances shedding its skin in between rain showers this morning. Not that it had a choice. I'm pretty sure when it comes to molting, when you gotta, you gotta.

Digressing from bugs for just a moment...

One of my earliest blog friends and followers is Gilly in New Zealand.  Although she can appreciate my bug stuff, her heart is really with the birds.  And especially right now, with her Paradise Shelduck, Daisy.

This is what Daisy looked like when she first came to Gilly's bird rescue in January.   You can't see it in this picture, but her right wing was badly injured and had to be amputated.

Photos by Gilly

Here she is more recently.   Unable to fly, but bright and healthy, she is now a loved companion.

Gilly's blog has alerted me to the fact that it's time to vote for  New Zealand's Bird of the Year.  And guess what bird she hopes will win?   You guessed it.  But the Paradise Shelduck needs lots more votes to win.  Can you help stuff the ballot box?  Please take a few moments and vote, in honor of Daisy.  I'll be right here when you get back.  Thanks :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A few more grasshoppers

Fall grasshoppers in the tarweed The tarweed plants are starting to die back for the winter. They are still full of grasshoppers.

The next two photos are a few weeks old, but nice camouflage shots. blending right in This guy blended in nicely with the blue-gray leaves. He was close to being ready to make his final molt. You can see his puffy wing pads. His adult wings were are under there. Blending right in This one was on my dying tomato plant.

Buffalo treehopper

green hopper in flower I noticed this shy little bug recently on a flower at the arboretum.
  Buffalo treehopper I teased it out onto the branch where I could get a better look. I was able to identify it as a species of Ceresa, a Buffalo treehopper. Some other Ceresa species have not only a humped back, but buffalo-like "horns" as well. But this one was smooth.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Can you find them?

Find the grasshopper Well, this one's pretty easy.

  Find the kaydid How about this one? I was in Jerry's truck in the driveway, and I noticed the katydid in the neighbor's bushes. Can you see her?

Fall caterpillars at the arboretum

unknown geometer cat Earlier this month, I found this caterpillar. Maybe a geometer moth. I tried to match it on BugGuide but couldn't find one just like it. passiflora tendrils with caterpillar A Gulf Fritillary caterpillar on a passion vine, on a sunny October day. another big hornworm A big fat hornworm, the same kind I grew this past summer. But when this fellow burrows underground, he will stay there over the winter. tiny yellow caterpillar A tiny yellow sulphur caterpillar.

Fuller Rose Beetles

weevil cluster I noticed a few clusters of these cute little beetles munching on the leaves of the Chinese Elm in my back yard.
  Fuller Rose beetle Pantomorus cervinus

Arachtober still going strong

dewy morning web I am still seeing some nice orb webs. Especially when we had a foggy morning.
  bejeweled web

Busy feet I like how this spider is holding onto the strands of her web in several places.

  spider with prey The Same spider as the previous photo, eating a bee. This is a good location for her web. She has been catching a few bees every day.
   The spider's home This might be a black widow, but I couldn't see if she had an hourglass marking.

  Meet the neighbors Her home was very close to a little wasp nest.

Blog Catchup!

Holy cow, it's been a long time since I've had to drag out the old catchup bottle, but I think I really need to now. I've spent the last several weeks taking pictures of a few bugs here and there, thinking, "Meh, don't feel like posting this right now", and "Who really cares anyway?" and other apathetic sentiments. (apathetic sentiments? Is that an oxymoron?)  But today I got a little kick in the pants from blogger buddy Laura, and I am preparing some posts. I'll try to get them on here tonight!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Damn, the torpedoes!

Last weekend I was at my parents' house, and I noticed that the sago palm in their back yard had quite an infestation of torpedo bugs, (Siphanta acuta.)

I took lots of pictures of them, but none of them really came out very well.  I chalk that up to several factors:  it was breezy, causing the leaves to sway, the leaves were surprisingly pokey, making it hard for me to get up close, and I had a hard time with my camera settings for some reason.  But I'm posting them anyway.

torpedo bugs on sago palm The plant in question.
  torpedo bugs You can see the bugs, looking like pale green thorns on the underside of the leaves.

  torpedo bugs

baby torpedo bugs and egg case
There were lots of egg cases as well. They were hard to get to, near the center of the prickly plant. I managed to get a shot of one egg case with rows of newly hatched torpedo nymphs lined up along the leaf. Last month, when I first saw a single torpedo bug in my back yard, and identified it online, I became aware of how interesting and weird-looking the nymphs are, and I'm sorry I couldn't get a clear photo of one.
  baby torpedo bug There were green ones

juvenile torpedo bug
And pinkish ones.  Their furry-looking tails are made of waxy filaments.
You can see someone else's really nice close up of a torpedo bug nymph on BugGuide.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Park update

A few weeks ago, I posted about my walk through the park, and how some of the vegetation along the creek had been cut down.  And I posted pictures of a lovely big brown mantis that I brought home.  At the time, an anonymous person commented about how I should not have taken the mantis.  So I did some checking and, you know what?  Anonymous was right (dang it!)  You need a permit to collect anything, even a common praying mantis.  So I returned it.  And, no, I don't think I'll be getting myself a collecting permit.  It costs too much money, and I don't even know if they would give me one anyway, since I'm not a teacher or a scientist, and besides, I can find mantids in my own yard, for Pete's sake.

But the other day, I went back to the park again, and was not thrilled with what I saw.  They had sprayed all over the place with what I'm pretty sure is some kind of weed killer.  The spray is colored a dark blue-green, so you can see where they sprayed it. see all the spots they sprayed? they sprayed here they sprayed here caught in the spray they sprayed here It's a little harder to see the blue-green stuff at the creek, but it's there. (some of what you see in this picture is actually a blue-green net/fabric stuff that holds the bank in place.) they sprayed here
But you can see it here.
  they sprayed here And here.

  in the spray zone
This mantis was the plump green sub-adult in my previous park post.
  in the spray zone She was caught in the spray.

So I'm not allowed to collect stuff there.  And I guess they have to control the invasive plants growing in the park and clogging up the streams. I can only guess at what's in the weed killer, and how toxic it might be to the animals that live in the spray zone.  I can only guess why I saw so few frogs in the creek this time, too.

I find it a little ironic that it's not OK for me to take one or two bugs here and there, bugs that would be carefully housed and well fed,  but it's OK for many more bugs and other critters to be displaced or even killed by normal park maintenance.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Her little entourage

fearsome foursome She may be small herself, but this little female brown widow has three males in attendance. They are all living on a succulent plant on my front porch.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sulphur cats

These might have been cloudless sulphur caterpillars. Then again they might have been another sulphur. I'm not sure. They look different from previous cloudless sulphur cats that I posted here and here, but they tend to vary in their colors and spots as they grow, so I don't know. green caterpillar

caterpillar face

yellow caterpillar
 To further complicate matters, I wasn't able to get enough pictures of them. The first time I saw them (at the arboretum), there were several individuals, but I didn't have my camera with me. Then when I went back a day or two later with my camera, I couldn't find most of them any more.  I'll go back and check again in a couple of days.
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