Sunday, June 30, 2019

HumBug: Bugs While You Wait

Posted By on Sun, Jun 30, 2019 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge Vivid dancer. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Vivid dancer.

When the lady at the tire store said it would be 45 minutes before my car was ready, I said, “Thank-you,” and headed for the door. On the way into the parking lot, I 'd spied a drainage ditch that meanders through Fortuna. It was choked with willows, Himalaya berry vines, Queen Anne's lace, and a host of other weeds too numerous to mention. I expected to see some insects and was not disappointed.


click to enlarge Pacific forktail. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Pacific forktail.
The most striking today were the damselflies, represented by the large and very blue vivid dancers (Argia vivida) and small, slender Pacific forktails (Ischnura cervula). The most remarkable was a chalk white damselfly with the dark markings of a vivid dancer. Most likely this was just a normal female variant I had not seen before.
click to enlarge Not so vivid dancer. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Not so vivid dancer.
click to enlarge Black and yellow mud dauber. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Black and yellow mud dauber.
It was not surprising to see another water-loving species, the black and yellow mud dauber. This parasitoid wasp builds a nest of mud tubes she stuffs with paralyzed spiders, adds a single egg, then seals the cell off with a thick mud plug. I can't think of a worse horror scenario than to be paralyzed and sealed into a pitch dark cell, hearing the sounds as, one by one, your fellow prisoners are eaten alive. While this species rarely stings humans, I can personally attest that it is a painful experience.
click to enlarge Yellow spotted tiger moth on my wife's leg. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Yellow spotted tiger moth on my wife's leg.
On a lighter note, while going for a stroll the other night, a moth attracted by the flashlight beam landed on my wife's leg. She and it stayed still long enough for me to get my camera out and get the shot. We watched as it went away, returned and landed on the pavement, allowing a still shot for identification. It turned out to be a yellow spotted tiger moth (Lophocampa maculata). I heroically stepped in to rescue them both.
click to enlarge Yellow spotted tiger moth still on pavement. - PHOTO BY ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Photo by Anthony Westkamper
  • Yellow spotted tiger moth still on pavement.
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