Saturday, May 29, 2010

Beetles in "love", a weird moth and other insects

It's getting to be the "buggy" time of year again! I like to go out in the yard and see what kind of 6 and 8-legged critters are lurking! Yesterday I noticed the flowers of my False Spirea bushes were crawling with beetles, flies, ants, wasps, and bees. I grabbed my camera and tripod to take some photos. Have you ever wondered where "baby beetles" (called grubs, by the way) come from? Well, here's your chance to find out! :) I guess I'm shameless when it comes to intruding on "insects' intimate moments", but it is fascinating! Notice in the movie, how the much larger female continues to forage for pollen and nectar as her mate has a one-track mind and is oblivious to all the food nearby! Typical male! ;)

Ok, I hope that wasn't too embarassing! On to other things! Later, I spotted a spotted Asparagus Beetle (right) on my African Daisy on the patio. What a pretty pattern it has! I liked the colors. Some of the other insects on the False Spirea flowers included these large brown ants. I liked the detail on this one (left). These flowers are "magnets" for insects of all kinds. They have a strong, not-too-pleasant odor that insects can't seem to resist. These shrubs have been in my family for over 100 years, they came from my great-grandfather's yard in southern Indiana. My mother had them in our yard in Nashville when I was growing up and I transplanted them here when we moved to Oak Ridge 30 years ago. I guess it could be called an heirloom plant! I photographed a Green Bottle Fly on the flowers too, check out that long mouthpart! To be such nasty insects, they are kind of pretty!

Today I went up to look at the Milkweed plants, they are another good source of insects. I checked to see if there were any Monarch caterpillars, but I'm afraid the ants may have eaten the eggs, there wasn't a caterpillar or sign of them to be seen! I did see a cool female Scorpionfly on a leaf though. The males have a knob at the end of their abdomen that looks like a scorpion stinger, they are harmless though. I always have to laugh when I see these insects, they have such a comical-looking head!

Not much was going on with the Milkweed, so I checked my neighbor's yellow Yarrow. I was excited to see a couple of Plume moths. They are very strange-looking and have such odd wings, it is a wonder they can fly! I guess the little structures behind the primary wings are the "plumes" that give it its name. I also spotted another even smaller moth (right). I don't know what kind it is, I'm working on identifying it.

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