Sunday, September 16, 2018

HumBug: Locals Among the Invaders

Posted By on Sun, Sep 16, 2018 at 11:16 AM

click to enlarge Tachnid flies are parasitoids, often infecting caterpillars of butterflies and moths with their eggs. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Tachnid flies are parasitoids, often infecting caterpillars of butterflies and moths with their eggs.

Finding myself with an uncommitted day and the Himalaya berries in season, I went blackberry picking along some of my favorite logging roads. I did OK but the best part of the day was wandering through patches of Queen Anne's lace, cat's ear, pampas grass, Scotch broom and bird's foot trefoil. One and all thriving invading alien species. Many of these bloom later in the season than the locals, providing food to many species of insects and prolonging their season as well.


There were several parasitoid tachnid flies feeding on the Queen Anne's lace, which in turn attracted some large bald faced hornets Dolichovespula maculata. You could hear the deep bass note of the wings of this, the largest species of the yellow jacket family, flew between the flower heads often bumbling into them. I wonder if this is a “flushing behavior” like a bird dog scaring up quail to be taken on the wing.
click to enlarge Bald faced hornet prepares tachnid fly for transport back to her hive. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Bald faced hornet prepares tachnid fly for transport back to her hive.

A much higher pitched buzz alerted me to a small bee hovering nearby. I hesitated to unlimber my camera expecting it to flit away momentarily but it did not, so I got out the camera and took shots at various angles. Finally, it pivoted looking directly into the camera lens. I suspect this was a male leafcutter bee displaying to attract a mate and saw his reflection on the glass as a challenge.
click to enlarge Hovering bee faces challenge. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Hovering bee faces challenge.
A buffalo leafhopper put in an appearance, as well as a praying mantis and several little Acmon blue butterflies.
 
click to enlarge Buffalo leafhopper. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Buffalo leafhopper.
Although many folks decry introduced species of weeds, on that day, in that place, they supported an active population of both local and introduced species.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

more from the author

Latest in HumBug Online

© 2019 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation