Posts Tagged ‘hatch’

Just Identified

I took these pictures on July 8 and

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didn’t blog them because I couldn’t identify the insect.

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Then, this morning, I happened upon a website that I immediately bookmarked.

 insectidentification.org

It has insect identifications by state.

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Banded longhorn beetles are often seen eating flower pollen.

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 Females lay their eggs on dead or dying trees. The larva hatch and then bore into the wood, where they live for 1-3 years. After pupating, the adults chew their way out of the tree and and seek mates to continue the cycle.

Dogbane Tiger Moth

5-25-12  Buffy and I were taking a walk around the yard before the heat of the day arrived. I carried my camera just in case. A quail that called and called but didn’t cooperate for a picture. These moths didn’t know I was close.

I snapped 2 pictures. The male is the one upside down.

The male flew off after I took the second picture. The female just stayed there.

I didn’t realize until doing online research that the moths were on dogbane. Dogbane tiger moths lay their eggs on dogbane. The moths also go by the names Cycnia tenera, delicate cycnia and dogbane moth. Besides dogbane (Apocynum species) they also lay eggs on milkweeds (Asclepias sp.) Both have a milky sap that make the caterpillars toxic to predators. The caterpillars being covered with fine pale gray or whitish hairs might be a deterent to predators too. Plus the caterpillars feed at night. Adults are active at night too.

Dogbane, also known as Indian hemp

I almost forgot — the moths have a bright yellow abdomen with rows of black spots, which I couldn’t see. Their wingspan measures 1 1/4 – 1 5/8 inches, and they’re found through the U.S. I will sure be hunting for holes in my dogbane plants, looking for hungry caterpillars.

5-30-12   I took a break from weeding to do a walk-about around the yard with my camera. First stop was the dogbane, and there, without any searching, was a cluster of eggs. On the second plant to the right was another cluster.

Now I can monitor how long it takes the eggs to hatch … I found them hatching the next morning. I had a “duh” moment, because I didn’t think that another moth might have already laid eggs on the plants. Now I can watch them grow.

Caterpillars still hatching

6-1-12   I took a break in the afternoon to get out and get fresh air. With camera, I headed straight for the caterpillars. I was shocked. All the caterpillars in the second cluster were gone. I couldn’t even tell which leaf they had been on. Then half or less of the other group were gone too.

6-2-12 Caterpillar numbers were the same as what I found yesterday.

a.m. caterpillars on the leaf

3 p.m. and this only caterpillar I found

So then I didn’t know if the caterpillars were eaten by a predator, if they dispersed  or both. Guess only time will tell. The caterpillar was about 1/8 inch long, and its coloring didn’t make it easy to spot. I read that they feed together in groups of 8-10 when young.

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6-16-12 I didn’t see any more caterpillars until tonight. And I did look. I was making my usual loop around the weed patch, saw tiny droppings on a dogbane leaf, and then found this caterpillar.

Caterpillar 1/2 inch long

I located the second caterpillar when I saw a rolled leaf. The caterpillar had rolled the leaf and used it for protection as it shed its skin. The small, roundish area of denser white is the shed skin.

Just shed its skin

I will continue looking for caterpillars. I lack experience rearing moth caterpillars and will be satisified viewing what presents itself.

Wolf Spider

I usually don’t see wolf spiders unless I’m committing neatness in the yard. This morning I was moving rocks. The first flat rock I lifted had 100’s of ants and eggs under it. That created pandemonium. The next few rocks also had ants. Then the next rock was flat on the ground. This disturbed a few dried leaves, and this wolf spider ran out and stopped. Usually they don’t pose like this. It must have wanted blog notoriety?

Wolf spiders don’t spin a web, and they roam around at night hunting for food. Most live in burrows in the ground. The female  lays her eggs and wraps them in a large ball web. The ball with this one was roughly 1/2 inch long.  Then she attaches it to her spinnerets and drags it around with her until the eggs hatch about a week later.   Now it gets even more interesting: the spiderlings hatch and climb up her legs and onto her back. She carries dozens of them around on her until they’re old enough to feed themselves. I’ve yet to see one carrying its young.

I searched and searched online to find out how she feeds the young. There are more than 2,000 species of wolf spiders. I found where some don’t feed their young, some feed a liquid and other spiderlings eat their egg yolk. Adults feed on insects, other spiders and similar prey.

Adults are usually patterned with a mixture of black, gray and brown. Like other spiders, they have 8 eyes, 2 body parts (cephalothorax and abdomen), and fang-like mouth parts called chelicerae. These are used to hold prey, inject venom and to eat.

Earlier this spring I removed a large patch of lemon thyme and the stones I had underneath the plants. This uncovered ants, snails, leeches, caterpillars, roly polys and lots of spiders. The picture below is one of the wolf spiders I uncovered.

I know better than to have expectations when it comes to finding specific things in nature, like a female wolf spider carrying her young. Someday it might happen.