Archive for November, 2013

Smaller than Teeny

My journal usually goes outside with me if I plan on being out for a while.

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I sat down to rest recently and enjoy the sunny day after moving a pile of rocks. The caterpillar was soooo teeny I almost didn’t see it. The base of the “h” measured 1/16th of an inch.

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I couldn’t figure out how it even got on the page in the first place. It kept “inching” along, like it knew where it was going.

Leaf Miner

(I’m BACK!!! Finally. It turned out my blog site problem was my browser. I am of the over-60 club and didn’t grow up with computers. They still intimate me on certain things. Anyway, I am celebrating today!!!)


Leaf miner patterns on leaves always fascinate me — how could a “critter” that small even exists?

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The larvae of leaf miners feed on the cells inside the leaf, leaving a “trail” as they go. Feeding in the leaf protects them from predators.

The leaf above is off a lilac bush that I found recently.

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I photographed this cottonwood leaf in August.  If you look close, you can see where a tunnel started in the lower left side of the picture. Then you can follow it as the larva ate and grew. Leaf miners can be larvae of moths, sawfies and flies.

Pseudo Fossil

With a stretch of the imagination

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the shadow of a seeded stalk of grass

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resembles the shape of Archimedes spiral fossil.

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An archimedes is a bryozoan. A lacy fan attached to the spiral, and a minute animal lived in each hole.

Harvester Butterfly


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I found a harvester butterfly on August 2 and no woolly aphids.

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Then on September 2, I found woolly aphids and no harvester butterfly.

Harvester butterflies (Feniseca tarquinius) are our only carnivorous butterfly, and they feed on aphids.

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This and the next picture were taken years ago when I found aphids and harvester caterpillars while hiking.

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Maybe someday I’ll see a pupa of theirs; its’ said to resemble a tiny monkey’s head. 

Painted Ladies

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Painted lady and American painted lady butterflies differ in two ways.

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Painted ladies have a row of spots underneath on their hindwings,

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where American painted ladies have two large spots.

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American painted ladies also have a small white spot in the outer orange band of their forewings. This white spot shows on top and bottom of the wings.

(This is the first of seven or eight blogs I have left to post. A glitch in WordPress prevents me from adding pictures, from adding tags and seeing stats.)

Shades of Orange

Buffy and I were walking a loop around our backyard,

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and timed it just right to see the sun backlighting sumac leaves, showing off their shades of orange.

(I can no longer write  blogs because of glitches in  I will post the ones already completed and hope that my site has a miraculous recovery.)

A Hidden Predator

(I started this blog early in September when my blog site wouldn’t let me insert pictures. I couldn’t wait until next fall to post it.)

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Any butterfly in an awkward position usually indicates a predator. 

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In the case of this spicebush swallowtail, it was a female crab spider. (Females are much larger than males.)

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The butterfly was still alive and could only move its head and legs a little.

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Crab spiders ambush their prey. They inject it with venom to immobilize it and then suck it dry.

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The body of the swallowtail lay on the ground the next morning. Three days later a sliver-spotted skipper “hung” from the same phlox plant.

The Other Turkey Tail

Repetitive shapes caught my attention on mine and Buffy’s morning hike on Eagle Mountain.

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I knew these were either turkey tail or false turkey tail mushrooms.

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I can never remember which is which.

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One has pores on the underside, and the other is smooth.

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Turkey tails (Trametes versicolor) have the pores.