Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Aphids, flowers and flies

I enjoyed watching an aphid on a tiger lily leaf as it molted this morning. I ran in and grabbed my camera to try and catch it in action. It is possible to see the still-rumpled wings and the old skin in this photo. This was a new kind of aphid for me this year. Last year there were yellow Oleander aphids on my milkweed and green and pink ones on the tomato plants, but I've never seen this species before. These are quite prolific, they have just about taken over the lilies. I'm not too worried about it though, the plants have quit blooming and they will go dormant in the next few weeks anyway. It is interesting to see the drama that takes place between them and their predators (ladybugs and lacewings, their larvae and some fly larvae).

I am going to lead a hike at the University of Tennessee Arboretum on Sat. Sept. 5 (10:00 a.m.), so I went to put out named flags to let people know what the flowers are. I found some pretty Blue Curls, an interesting type of mint.

I also found a small tan and black beetle. I got one photo of it then I tried to hold the plant still so it would not move in the breeze. When I touched the plant, the beetle dropped to the ground an played dead! It pulled in its legs and antennae as it lay on its back. It was funny to watch a beetle "play 'possum"! Quite an effective means of protecting itself!

There were some interesting and pretty little flies visiting the plants in my yard too. I really liked th
e gold and green-hued metallic one. An even smaller one was on a Madagascar Periwinkle flower. I really enjoy doing macro photography, it brings out so many details I can't see without magnification. Note the tiny sensory hairs on the little fly on the right.

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