Thursday, July 26, 2012

Some eggs that hatched

Mystery eggs
A few days ago, I noticed this strange-looking cluster of eggs on a leaf of my Indian hawthorne plant. The whole cluster was about the diameter of a lentil. I picked the leaf, put it in a jar and brought it into my kitchen, which is where all my high priority bug things end up, of course!

First thing this morning when I checked them, I saw they had hatched.

Newly hatched
Eeee! Lots of tiny little assassin bugs! The white ones are the most recently hatched. The darker ones hatched first.

Newly hatched
After the photo shoot, I released them back into the bushes.

Moth week "meh"

First of all, I want to clarify that I do not feel "meh" about Moth Week itself. On the contrary, I was excited to learn about it, and hopeful that the warm mid-summer evenings would yield a nice variety of pretty moths that would come to my black light.

The "meh" refers to my results so far.

slim pickin's
This was the first or second night, at my front porch. I substituted my regular bulb with a black light bulb. What you see are just some drab little tiny moths and maybe a couple of mirid bugs. This was the morning after, but trust me, the night before was just as boring, except for the addition of a few lingering June beetles.

geometer moth
There were a few moths that may have been attracted to the light, but chose other areas to roost instead of the white sheet. Like this little geometer on the door jamb.

owlet moth
This armyworm moth was behind the sheet and fluttered to the ground when I moved the sheet.

Inside looking out
And this guy just made himself at home right inside the lamp!

After 2 nights on the front porch, I moved the whole set-up to the back patio. Same "meh" results. So now I have it under a tree in my back yard, but not holding my breath.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Celebrating National Moth Week

The first National Moth Week will be July 23 - 29. I love the idea of a week to celebrate moths. They have taken a back seat to butterflies for too long.

I have actually been using my black light and sheet in the back yard for the last several days, but haven't attracted much. My front porch light, with just a regular compact fluorescent bulb, has attracted a nice variety of moths over the years. For Moth Week, I'm going to try putting the black light on the front porch (Jerry loves this idea ...NOT!) and see what happens.

I will post any good moth photos I can get, and I'll link to some other bug blogs if I see they have good moth posts. In the meantime, here are a couple of moths I've seen recently, one on the sheet, and one on my front porch.

Back porch moth

Porch moth

For more info on National Moth Week, and to find out if there are any moth-related events near you, click here.

Here's hoping for a moth-filled week!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Milkweed bug cluster

It's a family of milkweed bugs, and they're all in a cluster.

Milkweed bug togetherness

These milkweed bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus, huddle together to accentuate their red-and-blackness, nature's warning colors, that lets potential predators know these bugs are toxic, a result of feeding on the toxic sap of the milkweed plant.

Monday, July 02, 2012

A spider in the bed!

Parson Spider
I found this guy yesterday when I was making my bed.  I fluffed the sheets and suddenly there he was (on Jerry's side of the bed, too!)  He was so startling, I actually shrieked!  He was very fast moving, trying to scurry under the covers,  but I got him into a little jar to take his picture before I released him out back.
Parson Spider

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Ants tasting the rainbow

This story apparently was news almost a year ago, and I missed it. My son came across it the other night and shared it with me, and I, of course, must pass it along. There is an article with more colorful photos of ants filling up on colored liquid. You must see it!

A spider web in the sunset

Hackled orb weaver
This rather unassuming little spider has made a small web under the eaves on my front porch.

In the evening, the setting sun hits the web and lights it like a prism. I have been trying to take pictures of the colors in the glowing strands.

Hackled orb weaver

Hackled orb weaver

Hackled orb weaver
Here she is from the front. She's a hackled orb weaver, Uloborus diversus. At rest, she stretches 4 legs out in front, and tucks the other 4 next to her abdomen.

Mourning Cloaks, 0 for 2

spoiled eggs
So, that second bunch of mourning cloak eggs that I was watching has also failed. This time, if was definitely parasites. Each empty egg shell that you see had a tiny Telenomus wasp in it. I looked for information on these parasitic insects. They go through their whole metamorphosis inside the butterfly's eggs in just a few days. The caterpillars never have a chance. And it seems like the adult wasps are ready to lay their eggs right as the butterfly is laying hers. Just look at the photo below. I took it while she was laying her eggs, and you can actually see two Telenomus hovering just to the left.

Mourning cloak laying eggs

I don't know how these wasps find their hosts so quickly. Maybe they are honing in on a scent, or maybe they have been clinging to the body of the butterfly for some time, just waiting for her to lay her eggs.

The beige-colored eggs in the top photo never hatched either. I don't know why.
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