Archive for September, 2014

Tobacco Budworm

These caterpillars are feeding on flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sylvestris)

There’s an obvious reason why these moth caterpillars are called tobacco budworms!

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Each one feeds with it head in a hole that it made in a bud.

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The caterpillars vary in size and

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and in color.

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Their feeding method keeps me chuckling every time I’m among them.

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Obviously, nature has a sense of humor too.

Nothing in Nature…

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Nothing in nature goes to waste.

Bird’s Nest Fungi

There’s advantages to weeding in the garden ….

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like finding these bird’s nest fungi.

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I’ve found them many times over the years …. I’ve just never found them growing in an old rotting gumball.

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This unopened cup measured roughly a quarter-inch in diameter.

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A strip of rotting wood laid near a wall and had the birds’ nest fungi too.

The eggs contain the spores.

Fiery Skipper

Sedums are one of the busiest butterfly/insect attractors in the yard.

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 A male fiery skipper  (Hylephila phyleus) was too busy feeding on the sedums to pay much attention to me.

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It made its way around from one flower to the next. The female’s pattern tends to be darker. Their size ranges between 1.0 – 1.4 inches.

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They don’t call them “skippers” for nothing — some can “skip” out of sight without even seeing them leave.

Effects of Sunlight

The angle the sunlight enhanced the appearance of this question mark butterfly.

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Wait a Minute Here!

Hey! I was here first!!

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I thought I was seeing things. The bee flew off.

The dark on the monarch’s right front wing is shadow from the flowers. It looked so unnatural.

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The monarch looked just like it does in the picture. I’d never seen one so dark, and wondered if it was slightly melanistic.

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The three small dark spots are insects flying to visit the sedums. They were a busy place!

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The monarch flew to another clump of sedums after this picture.

Two Unknowns

I found these once before, a few years ago. I can’t remember what they are and haven’t found them online.

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They aren’t a caterpillar. They just look like one.

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They preferred the undersides of the leaves for safety reasons.

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Many leaves on the vine were rolled.

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The pictures were taken three weeks ago.  The top two in this picture had recently molted.

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I’m not even sure what kind of vine this is.

It’s a shame their name isn’t a pattern on their back.

I welcome any information concerning this mystery.

A Spider Hiding

I’m not sure of  the spider terminology involved in this web.

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A spider constructed a rolled or curved-leaf web. It looked to be a two-room nest. You can see the end of its abdomen in the lower part of the left slit. It looked to be either a two-room nest or a hall-like structure.

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The backside had a completely different appearance, with no escape possible.

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I think it got tired of me and went lower in the web to hide in this last picture.

Double-Ringed Pennant

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 A double-ringed pennant (Celithemis verna) didn’t mind my attention this morning and posed for a few pictures. This is a male; the females have a yellowish thorax and a little yellow on base of  their abdomen.

Yard Walk-about

Insect numbers have increased lately.

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I’m not sure what a short-horned grasshopper found interesting on the sedum.

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If you look close on the right of the two front petals, you’ll find a small plant hopper.

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Apparently something tried to capture this pearl crescent butterfly.

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A slug slowly made its way around to the back side of the leaf.

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 The  dragonfly sure didn’t pick an attractive perch.

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The crab spider looked like part of the leaf from a distance.

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I couldn’t see through the silk to see if there was either an egg mass or larvae on the white dogwood leaf.

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The spider that spun the nest is to the left partly under the long strands of silk.

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A hanging insect  — in this case a skipper — can mean either a crap spider or ambush bug. From what little that shows, it has to be an ambush bug.

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A moth waiting patiently for the night.