Posts Tagged ‘shed’

Immature Ladybugs

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Ladybugs have held my attention lately. There’s been so many of them.

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 This pupa stage of a ladybug was on the trunk of a maple tree,

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and the shed of another one was the other trunk. There were several of different sizes on the bark of the three maple trees in our backyard.

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I doubt if their nymphs are pestered by other insects!  Their spines look like they mean business.

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This is a younger, smaller instar.

Ladybugs do overwinter as adults.

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Ponytail Plant

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I move my few houseplants outside in the summer, and place them at the base of a sweet gum tree. The ponytail plant (which is around 40 years old) is quite heavy and is at least four feet tall. There’s been more activity around it this summer than usual.

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A leaf-footed bug’s found plenty of hiding places.

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A daddy-longlegs stayed close for some reason,

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and a young praying mantis didn’t like my attention.

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And then this “showed up.” I walk a morning loop around our backyard, looking for spider webs to photograph, and have found several of these spider egg sacs. In all my years and years of hiking and camping, I’ve never seen one until this summer. So far I’ve found eight or nine of them.

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My oldest son told me they’re spider egg sacs. They’re quite a curiosity. I don’t know if there’s one egg in each or more than one. The spider has shed its skin and isn’t around.

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I just went out one last time to get pictures as close as I could. The egg sacs appear to be different now. The third one down from the top looks like the spider might be breaking out of the egg sac.

Two Praying Mantis

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This little praying mantis looks bigger than what it was. It was in the long leaves of my ponytail plant. I had the impression that it had just molted and that it sure didn’t like my presence.

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The second praying mantis was trying to hide in a sedum plant.

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This shed praying mantis skin was in a sedum too. The long legs identified the skin. The mantis was nowhere to be found … of course they are quite difficult to find.

A New Snake

My truck took me for a drive to check the Eagle Mountain Road — They had actually worked on it! I still wasn’t sure if I could drive the whole road yet. (My husband and I found out later that the road is downright dangerous!)

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Anyway, there in the road was this brown snake. I didn’t remember seeing one like it before. It stayed frozen in place, even after I drove off. I’m waiting for my oldest son to identify it for me.

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Keith saw my pictures and said it was an eastern hognose. It had apparently just shed. A small patch of the old skin remained on the side just behind the head. What had me confused was its lack of pattern.

Cause For Celebration!

Fossil hunting offers a wide variety of possibilities.

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Trilobites shed their armor six to eight times during their life. This translates into finding their sheds (which are never common). Trilobite fossils are found in limestone, shale and dolomite in Illinois. Most of mine are from limestone.

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The oldest ones in Illinois come from Cambrian age rocks 500 million years old. Trilobites went extinct 250 million years ago.

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 Over years and years of fossil hunting, I found several partial trilobite fossils.  I never expected the possibility of finding a whole one.

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Then there, one sunny afternoon, on the the shale of a small outcrop, near the top of a hill, by a lake, lay this 7/8 inch trilobite.

My “whoop” echoed through the hills!

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Keith, my son, went to a Sierra Club seminar on Paleozoic monsters recently. Joseph Drevian, from USGS, gave the program. He found a partial trilobite from the same outcrop where I found my whole one. Keith sent him a picture of the one I found.

My trilobite is from the Grove Church member of the Kincaid limestone, part of Elviran Stage Chester series of the Missisippi system. It is a proetid trilobite  named Paladin sp.

Boy, that’s a mouthful.

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I searched and searched until I found pictures of the shale outcropping where I found the trilobite.

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That’s my mother fossil hunting on the slope.

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This last picture shows the whole shale area. Horses later moved their trail to down through the shale. Then a major flood in 2008 completely changed the landscape, and I haven’t been back since.

A Curiosity

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The insect apparently shed its skin after getting caught in the spider web.

It almost looks like a ballerina with extra long legs.