Friday, July 21, 2017

Antlion adult

Those cool little insects that build funnels in the dirt and wait for a delicious victim to topple in? This is what they grow up to owlfly.

Angel on my shoulder

Sometimes all I have to do is just sit on the back patio, and adventure comes to ME! Yesterday evening, I happened to glance over to my left and look what I found! A praying mantid kid, perched right there on my shoulder. Fun! I love praying mantids! After a bit of chasing, I captured my little friend and released it in the Jerusalem sage. It groomed a bit, then went on its merry way. See you next time, angel!

Yellow garden spider

My pretty yellow garden spider gal has grown! The brown exoskeleton to the right is a sure sign that she's expanded around the waist. Ha! But if you look even closer, you might notice some webbing in front of her. Hmmm. That was new to me so I took some photos. 

Typically, orbweavers only build a round web and lurk upside down on it, waiting for prey to stumble into the sticky strands. I observed that the extra strands in front of this garden spider were messy and not at all orb-like. For added protection,  I surmise that she threw those up right before she molted. After a molt, a spider's outer skin is soft until it hardens. Thus, a spider is more vulnerable to predators right after a molt. My theory: this garden spider threw up the extra web as a shield. Cool, eh?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Scarlet pea

My transplanted scarlet pea (Indigofera miniata) is happy. This lovely but oft-ignored native usually gets mowed.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Tiger swallowtail

Eastern tiger swallowtail on our phlox this afternoon!

Poor beautyberry

July 1, 2017
We planted two American beautyberries in October 2014. One must have died because we only have one. Last year, it struggled but came back this spring. It was growing gang busters, then we noticed a wilting branch. The branch died. Then another wilted. Looking for help, I posted the photo above on Facebook and asked for input as to what might be happened. No one really offered any advice. Look at the poor beautyberry now (below). We may be losing it for good this time. And I don't know why. And yes, I've been giving it water to get it through these hot weeks.
July 16, 2017