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 Dr Sardonicus 2020-07-27 14:10

Insects

This thread is for posts about insects -- member of the class Insecta (or Hexapoda). For ease of reference, I give other classes of terrestrial arthropods in case someone wants to start a subtopic on any of them.

Observations of beauty or behavior; interesting, painful, or scary encounters; things insects do that seem incomprehensible, are the sort of things I'm after.

Non-insect "creepy crawlies" in the phylum Arthropoda include spiders and ticks (class Arachnida); millipedes (subphylum Myriapoda, class Diplopoda), centipedes (subphylum Myriapoda, class Chilopoda), and "pillbugs," (subphylum Crustacea, class Malacostraca).

Insects live in a very different world than we do. They have eyes, but they are not like our eyes. Most insects have large "compound eyes," consisting of many individual receptors, each seeing a very small sector. They do not see much detail. But if something in its field of vision switches from one small sector to another, that is immediately detected, which makes insects extremely good at detecting things moving in their vicinity. (Insects also usually have some simple eyes, or "ocelli.") Many insects also have tiny hairs on their bodies which can sway with the slightest movement of air, which is thereby detected. This is why flies can often evade an approaching flyswatter.

Many insects do not hear much if anything, but many feel vibrations through their feet. Plant-dwelling insects can thus be able to communicate by making vibrations which are conducted through the plant.

Insects have "decentralized" nervous systems, local functions being governed by clusters of nerve cells called "ganglia." An insect can be decapitated, and still crawl around, work its wings, and breathe, which they do through orifices ("spiracles") in their abdomens. A decapitated wasp can continue to sting.

Insects do not seem to feel much pain, or to react to trauma as we might expect. An insect feeding on a plant might well keep placidly munching away, even as it is itself literally being eaten alive from behind.

The first specific insects I will post on are two large solitary "digger wasps," the Eastern Cicada Killer ([i]Sphecius speciosus[/i]) and the Great Golden Digger Wasp ([i]Sphex ichneumoneus[/i]).

Cicada Killers are among the largest of wasps. They are black with brown wings, and several large yellow markings on their abdomens. The males are territorial, and might buzz right in front of your face if you come too close to their territory, but they have no stingers. The females are larger, and have formidable stingers, but you would really have to work at it in order to get stung. They're only interested in finding a sunny location with well-drained soil (preferably near trees which harbor cicadas), digging their burrows (which can involve moving a hundred cubic inches (over 1600 cc's) of dirt), hunting down and paralyzing up to a dozen cicadas, laying an egg on each, and closing up the burrow. The helpless cicadas, which remain alive, insure a continued supply of fresh food for the wasp larvae.

As I was working on my future garden beds the other day, I noticed a hole and a pile of dirt next to one of the 2x4's I walk on when rain turns the dirt to mud. From diameter of the hole, I surmised I had a Cicada Killer in residence. And soon after, I actually saw it arrive at the burrow, bearing a cicada!

Cicada Killers often catch their prey on the wing. A successful hunt faces the female Cicada Killer with the task of getting her victim, which weighs two and a half times as much as she does, to her burrow. The choices are, (1) walk, dragging the load along the ground, and (2) gain some elevation, and aim for the burrow on a descending glide path. If it's a long distance, the wasp might climb, aim for the burrow, and and launch repeatedly. If she catches the cicada high enough in midair, and is close enough to the burrow, she might be able to make it directly.

The next day, I noticed [i]another[/i] burrow, out in the open, about a foot away from the Cicada Killer's burrow. The new burrow was clearly the work of a Great Golden Digger Wasp, of which I had a goodly number in a front garden bed last year. Not as large as a Cicada Killer, but considerably longer and a bit wider than a paper wasp. They are black and orange, with dark wings and long orange legs. Wen landed, they frequently flick their wings. They sometimes visit flowers. Their prey is usually grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets. They aren't any more interested in us than Cicada Killers are. I saw my new resident land near its burrow (though without prey), and crawl in. I heard it buzzing its wings in the burrow. I'm not sure why it was doing that, but it sounded very similar to the sound bumblebees sometimes make while on flowers, when they buzz their wings without spreading them, which shakes pollen loose. Perhaps the wasp was increasing the diameter of its burrow. Perhaps it wasn't yet far enough along to begin stocking the larder.

I haven't yet been privileged to see a Great Golden Digger Wasp bring in a victim, but their task can't be any easier than the Cicada Killer's.

 bsquared 2020-07-27 15:03

2 Attachment(s)
I ran into this luna moth while camping last month. I'd never seen one this close up before.
It was pretty big - maybe 5 inches wingtip to wingtip.

 ixfd64 2020-07-27 16:28

I was very into insects as a kid and and am still somewhat interested in them. One thing on my bucket list is to visit the Essig Museum of Entomology at UC Berkeley some day. But it's a little tricky because they're only open to the public a few days a year.

 firejuggler 2020-07-27 17:07

2 Attachment(s)
In one of the park close to my home contain "insect hostel' for ladybug, lone bee, carabid beetles and hoverflies.

 xilman 2020-07-27 19:10

Insects are good eating if they are prepared properly.

On my first trip to Brno, when SWMBO and I were flown out to meet the crew, we were taken to a rather good restaurant. As chance would have it, that week they had an insect tasting-menu of 7 courses. I was the only one willing to give it a try and I knew I´d be unlikely to get the chance again.

The locust omelette was basically omelette with tasteless crunchy bits. A deep-fried larva dish was absolutely delicious. The larvae, each about 5cm long and 3mm in diameter, tasted like a cross between shrimps and hazelnuts.

 a1call 2020-07-27 21:34

Ants form bridges of their bodies so that their youngsters can cross over obstacles including streams of water. Sometimes the elders are washed away in the process.

ETA:
A video of the process:
[url]https://imgur.com/FDbIx3A[/url]

ETA II: What sort of communication would be required for such a communal behavior?
What would be the thought/instinct process/logic for such an achievement?
How would you program independent robots to know their required action without a central hub/program/brain to perform a communal task?

 ixfd64 2020-07-27 22:15

[QUOTE=xilman;551740]Insects are good eating if they are prepared properly.

On my first trip to Brno, when SWMBO and I were flown out to meet the crew, we were taken to a rather good restaurant. As chance would have it, that week they had an insect tasting-menu of 7 courses. I was the only one willing to give it a try and I knew I´d be unlikely to get the chance again.[/QUOTE]

I guess it didn't bug you.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-07-27 22:53

[QUOTE=bsquared;551731]I ran into this luna moth while camping last month. I'd never seen one this close up before.
It was pretty big - maybe 5 inches wingtip to wingtip.[/QUOTE]
Nice shots! The Luna Moth is considered by many to be the loveliest moth in North America. I find it hard to argue with that. Its light green color and long tails are amazing. I hope to see one in the great outdoors some day.

The only one of the Saturniid moths ("giant silk moths") I have actually seen outdoors is the Polyphemus Moth ([i]Antheraea polyphemus[/i]), so named for the large eyespots on its hind wings. Its wings are mostly a light brown or tan color.

Another Saturniid, the Cecropia Moth ([i]Hyalophora cecropia[/i]), is reputed to be the largest North American moth, wing span 5 to 7 inches -- though the captured specimens I have seen were 5 inches across at most.

The largest moth I have ever seen outdoors here in the lower 48 was larger than most Cecropia Moths, but was a visitor from well south of my locale. That was the Black Witch ([i]Ascalapha odorata[/i]), whose wings are mostly dark brown, with a line and color pattern that reminded me of marbleized paper. I saw them in Colorado Springs on several occasions. They live and breed from Brazil north to Arizona and southern Texas, but adults sometimes migrate hundreds of miles further north, or get blown north by storms. It is, along with the Cecropia, reputed to be the largest moth in North America.

They are considered nocturnal, but I saw them flying around during the day. They are so large that when I first caught sight of one flying around the crown of a tree, I thought it was a bird! But its wing beats and flight speed were way too slow. So I knew it was a giant moth, and the only one I could find in a Field Guide that matched what I saw was the Black Witch. An entomologist with the Cooperative Extension confirmed their presence in the area by the fact that someone in a nearby locale had brought in a specimen, which he had identified.

I also saw one while on vacation in Hawaii. Apparently they are native there too. I was at a gas station at night, and the thing flew by, then landed on the concrete near the pumps! I was able to capture it by grasping its wing tips, so got a good look at it before letting it go. It had a wing span of at least 6 inches.

 a1call 2020-07-27 23:05

[QUOTE=a1call;551745]
How would you program independent robots to know their required action without a central hub/program/brain to perform a communal task?[/QUOTE]

A block chain comes close to insect communal processing but it still needs a central server:

[QUOTE]A blockchain is a decentralized, distributed, and oftentimes public, digital ledger consisting of records called blocks that is used to record transactions across many computers so that any involved block cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of all subsequent blocks.[1][18] This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions independently and relatively inexpensively.[19] A blockchain database is managed autonomously using a peer-to-peer network and a distributed timestamping server. They are authenticated by mass collaboration powered by collective self-interests.[20] Such a design facilitates robust workflow where participants' uncertainty regarding data security is marginal. The use of a blockchain removes the characteristic of infinite reproducibility from a digital asset. It confirms that each unit of value was transferred only once, solving the long-standing problem of double spending. A blockchain has been described as a value-exchange protocol.[21] A blockchain can maintain title rights because, when properly set up to detail the exchange agreement, it provides a record that compels offer and acceptance.
[/QUOTE]
[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockchain[/url]

Similar behavior can be observed in schools of fish as well as flocks of migrating birds who take rotating leads which facilitates the flight of the followers.

 tServo 2020-07-27 23:42

Carpenter bees

When I moved into my current house, I noticed several bumble bees hanging around the roof over my deck. Upon closer examination, I noticed they weren't bumble bees but carpenter bees. I watched in fascination as they tunneled into wood. I got a magnifying glass to observe their drilling in detail and it is amazing ! Their heads vibrate at an incredible rate with their mandibles open Their bodies vibrate also but not as much as their heads. They make an audible buzz as they burrow and the sawdust flies off.

As an aside, I was reading some articles about seriously declining insect populations around the world. The 2 "usuals" are cited; loss of habitat & climate change.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-07-27 23:51

[QUOTE=xilman;551740]Insects are good eating if they are prepared properly.[/quote]Super! I had failed to imagine encounters of the culinary kind!

:tu:

When I was a little tyke, my mom got some novelty insect fare at a downtown Chicago store (I think it was Stop and Shop). I remember there were chocolate-covered ants and chocolate-covered caterpillars. I think I ate some of the chocolate-covered ants. We gave some to a neighbor, who had his wife eat some chocolate-covered ants before telling her what she had just eaten.

I have heard of crickets being used as an ingredient in various recipes. One was called something like "Chocolate chirpy chip cookies."

When large broods of periodical cicadas emerge, there are usually news reports showing people cooking them up.

My mom watched the TV series [i]Lonesome Dove[/i] (based on the novel). She liked describing some of the characters, one of whom was a new cook on IIRC a cattle drive. He would not ride on the back of an animal, and as he walked along he dragged a sack behind him. As suppertime approached on his first day on the trail, he prepared the sack's contents -- grasshoppers -- for dinner!

With the uncertainties in the food supply these days, perhaps insects will gain status here in the good ol' USA as a regular article of diet, rather than merely an occasional novelty.
[quote]A deep-fried larva dish was absolutely delicious. The larvae, each about 5cm long and 3mm in diameter, tasted like a cross between shrimps and hazelnuts.[/QUOTE]
If they were beetle larvae, I hope you said, "Good grub!"

 LaurV 2020-07-28 03:26

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;551756]Super! I had failed to imagine encounters of the culinary kind![/QUOTE]
Haven't been to Thailand, have you? You are welcome any time for a taste. Give us a call to put some beer in the fridge, when cool it goes better with the crickets, cockroaches, bamboo worms, termites, o other fatty things... :razz:
(a billion pictures to come if you remind me when I am home, today we are working, in spite of the fact that is King's B'day and it is national holiday, our company switched with yesterday, to give a long weekend to the people, what most companies in the area did).

(otoh, you could also google it, the 'net is full of cree-cree - pun intended, cooked or for cooking)

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-07-28 13:43

[QUOTE=LaurV;551766]Haven't been to Thailand, have you? You are welcome any time for a taste. Give us a call to put some beer in the fridge, when cool it goes better with the crickets, cockroaches, bamboo worms, termites, o other fatty things... :razz:[/QUOTE]
Please note, WRT insects merely being a novelty rather than a regular article of diet, I [i]did[/i] specify "here in the good ol' USA." I know insects are commonly eaten elsewhere. Even I have heard about giant water bugs being commonly cooked and sold by street vendors in Thailand. "Even fallen victim to the Toe-biter? Get [i][b]REVENGE[/b][/i] brand deep-fried water bugs!"

Due to my upbringing, I admit feeling a bit squeamish about eating insects, though I happily devour other arthropods like shrimp, crab, and lobster (but see ASIDE). Even with those, though, I don't like the crunchy exoskeletons -- the bits tend to stick between my teeth and catch in my throat. But I remember eating chocolate-covered ants when I was little, so I might be able to re-broaden my culinary tastes. Maybe after I've downed a few beers...
;-)

[ASIDE] In colonial times, eating lobster was considered a sure sign of being poverty-stricken, so people who ate lobster often went to some length to conceal it from others. Lobster was something gleaned by poor people on the shore after storms, and was called "Poor man's chicken."

I had a great-aunt who had an absolute aversion to eating crabmeat. She was living in France during WWII, and had seen a lot of crab-eaten human corpses washed up on shore... [/ASIDE]

 xilman 2020-07-28 14:57

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;551788]
[ASIDE] In colonial times, eating lobster was considered a sure sign of being poverty-stricken, so people who ate lobster often went to some length to conceal it from others.[/QUOTE]Same with oysters in the UK, back in the good old days.

 tServo 2020-08-11 16:16

Monarch migration

While speaking with an old friend, he reminded me of a road trip we took in the 1970s to a park in southern Ontario that featured a "Monarch encounter". It was to Point Pelee National Park. Point Pelee is the southernmost area of Canada. It is a spit of land that juts out into Lake Erie. In August & September ( maybe even later ), the Monarchs pause there before they begin their perilous journey across Lake Erie. All during most of the day, the butterflies will stop there. In the morning, after they have warmed up, they then start flying south so they have as many daylight hours as possible to make the crossing. They also collect over many days if the weather is unfavorable. One can easily see trees covered with them.
There are plenty of pages to see this phenominum if you google " pelee monarchs".
I know their numbers have suffered over the decades but it still might be worthwhile if you live nearby to check this out before they are gone forever.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-08-12 12:50

[QUOTE=xilman;551796][QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;551788]
[ASIDE] In colonial times, eating lobster was considered a sure sign of being poverty-stricken, so people who ate lobster often went to some length to conceal it from others.[/QUOTE]Same with oysters in the UK, back in the good old days.[/QUOTE]
Reminds me of an entry in Ambrose Bierce's [u]The Devil's Dictionary[/u]:

[b]OYSTER[/b], [i]n[/i]. A slimy, gobby shellfish which civilization gives men the hardihood to eat without removing its entrails! The shells are sometimes given to the poor.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-08-12 13:13

I received a picture by Email of a Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar ([i]Euchaetes egle[/i]) being (apparently) stung repeatedly by a small wasp. The wasp finally left, and the caterpillar resumed munching away at the milkweed ([i]Asclepias syriaca[/i]), so the question was, what was going on?

The answer seems to be that the wasp wasn't [i]stinging[/i] the caterpillar, it was [i]laying eggs[/i]. The wasp appears to be a braconid wasp of the genus [i]Mesochorus[/i], and the picture I received looked a lot like [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/1433913]this one[/url].

The outlook for the caterpillar is not good. The wasp larvae will soon be dining on its innards, which will quickly render it moribund. It will stop feeding. I'm not certain of the [i]denouement[/i] of this particular story, but I am familiar with what happens when the larvae of a braconid wasp that parasitizes the Tomato Hornworm mature. They emerge and spin elliptical white cocoons on the outside of the dying caterpillar's body.

BTW braconid wasps are in the family of ichneumon wasps. Their particular manner of parasitizing their hosts was the inspiration for the creature in [i]Alien[/i].

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-08-17 01:18

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This is (I think) a Red-footed Cannibalfly ([i]Promachus rufipes[/i]). I estimate its length at around an inch and a half, maybe a bit more (roughly 4 cm).

Its prey appears to be a green stink bug ([i]Chinavia hilaris[/i]), but there is something white between the stink bug and the fly. Another victim or its remnants, perhaps?

This species of giant robber fly, AKA the "Bee Panther," preys on large flying insects, and has been reported to attack Ruby-throated Hummingbirds!

I was just opening my door after returning from an errand when I heard a soft buzzing noise nearby, and this thing landed on the window frame just to my right. I pocketed my keys and got my phone. I couldn't see anything in the viewfinder because it was bright sunlight, so I had to shoot blindly. It took several attempts, but fortunately this fly was very patient, probably because it was having a big meal.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-08-17 12:42

[url=https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-08-14/creator-of-mosquito-themed-state-flag-says-design-was-a-joke]Mississippi man who created mosquito-themed state flag says design was a joke[/url][quote]<snip>
The commission approved 147 proposals for the second round, and the state Department of Archives & History put those on its website on Monday. Many were surprised that the mosquito flag had made the cut, along with dozens of designs featuring Mississippi magnolia flowers.
<snip>
Supporters' hopes were dashed on Tuesday, however. Archives & History released a statement saying the design had been advanced mistakenly and would be removed from the list.
<snip>[/quote]
It seems that someone mistyped one of the numbers used to designate proposed designs.

Great shot of the giant fly!

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-08-19 03:40

[QUOTE=kladner;554145]Great shot of the giant fly![/QUOTE]
Thanks, my hands must have been unusually steady that day.

Not so great on the ID, though. Robber fly ID'd by experts as a female [i]Promachus hinei[/i], AKA the Indiana robber fly (not rufipes). Also suggested, the white between the stink bug and the fly might be the stink bug's wings.

 Xyzzy 2020-08-19 22:45

[url]https://www.kait8.com/2020/08/18/mo-dept-conservation-shares-photo-giant-walkingstick/[/url]

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-05 23:38

Autumn is in the air...

The butterflies I am accustomed to see starting in late Spring were nearly absent locally this year until well into July. There was a steady dribble of some of the common smaller butterflies, but, apart from a few sightings early on, the larger butterfly species just weren't around.

There was one exception to this, however. Thanks to the Common Milkweed ([i]Asclepias syriaca[/i]) I planted by my front steps last year, and which grew at least seven feet tall and spread by underground runners this year, I had many visits by Monarch butterflies ([i]Danaus plexippus[/i]). Female monarchs laid eggs on the leaves, and the caterpillars came out at dusk to feed. (There had been a few Monarch caterpillars last year, but last year there were only a couple of stalks, and they weren't very tall.) This year the Milkweed also bloomed, and Monarchs fed at the flowers, which are very fragrant.

The other large butterflies finally showed up starting around mid-July, and the Monarchs kept coming. And kept laying eggs. I saw female Monarchs landing on the Milkweed I'd transplanted to my back yard from "starts" that had spread too far in my front yard. Those plants won't bloom until next year, so I knew the butterflies weren't feeding.

As the summer wore on, the Monarchs began feeding more on my other flowers. And today (September 5) one of these, feeding on some Zinnias, caught my eye. First, I noticed it was a female, a bit more brown than orange in the range of color variations, and was a bit the worse for wear. Its wings were a bit frayed around the edges.

Then, I noticed a discolored spot on the outside of its L hind wing. Approaching slowly from behind allowed me to get a close look. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a round white plastic tag! The printing on it identified it as part of the [url=https://monarchwatch.org/tagging/]Monarch Watch tagging program[/url].

The fall migration of Monarch butterflies is underway!

 richs 2020-09-08 00:19

Congrats on the milkweed success! We have milkweed we planted this year but it got infested with aphids. I bought a container of 1500 ladybugs for US\$10 and put them on the milkweed where they ate most of the aphids. Unfortunately the ladybugs flew away after two days and the aphids came back. We keep hammering the aphids with water blasts to contain them, but no Monarch eggs, although we've seen a few Monarchs. Our parsley in the herb pot gets eaten down to the stems nightly, snails maybe?

[QUOTE=richs;556386]..... Our parsley in the herb pot gets eaten down to the stems nightly, snails maybe?[/QUOTE]
Snails a possibility, but there are also parsley-specific caterpillars. They are black and green banded. The ones I get mostly seem to leave bare stems. Check daily. They can get over an inch, but look for tiny black things on the leaves. Larger ones can be on stems under the leaves. They are not exclusively nocturnal, though they may keep eating 'round the clock.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-08 12:23

Yes, the Black Swallowtail [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/2636][i]Papilio polyxenes[/i][/url] is a likely suspect:[quote]Other Common Names
Eastern Black Swallowtail
Parsely Swallowtail
Dill Worm, Parsley Worm, Celery Worm
Carrot Worm, Fennel Worm

Explanation of Names
Papilio polyxenes Fabricius, 1775
The common names for the caterpillars vary because they can be found on many important cultivated plants in the Carrot Family. Pick the host plant, add the word "worm", and you have another common name that has probably been used and published somewhere.[/quote][url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/2636/bgimage]This page[/url] has a number of good images of the caterpillars; click on an image to enlarge.

Like most swallowtail caterpillars, they have a "bison-shouldered" appearance, and have a pair of "horns" that are normally retracted, but which will protrude and emit a bad smell if the caterpillar is disturbed. (Many swallowtail caterpillars have large eye spots on the "shoulder hump," but these do not.)

As to the aphids: My milkweed got heavily infested with dark aphids this year. They went to the tender young growth at the ends. I didn't want to use insecticidal soap for fear of harming the Monarch caterpillars so I picked off the ends -- aphids, "farmer" ants, and all. This controlled the problem, and in later days I saw ladybugs munching their way through the aphids. BTW I remember wondering as a kid what those black-and-orange things were that looked like little 6-legged lizards. They're ladybug larvae! And they chow down on aphids even faster than the adults.

Last year my milkweed got hit by swarms of horrible bright-orange aphids, a type I'd never seen before. I looked them up and found they were Oleander aphids, [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/6167][i]Aphis nerii[/i][/url]. They think they're better than ordinary aphids because they're [i]imported[/i]. When feeding on milkweed they accumulate the plant's toxins, and this prevents ladybug and lacewing larvae that eat them from maturing. One control method I read was to dab them with a swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol has been in short supply because of COVID-19, so I feel fortunate that I haven't been bothered with these appalling pests so far this year. I have seen them in the area, though.

I should have gotten pictures to share. Those are the ones. Since I haven't grown anything in that group but parsley for a long time, I didn't know they afflict other garden plants. I had not known that so many common vegetables and herbs are Carrot Family., either. Thanks!

 richs 2020-09-08 23:27

Whatever is eating the flat-leafed parsley doesn't touch the curly-leafed variety.

And the aphids are white. I have two videos of the ladybugs chowing down.

[QUOTE=richs;556479]Whatever is eating the flat-leafed parsley doesn't touch the curly-leafed variety.

And the aphids are white. I have two videos of the ladybugs chowing down.[/QUOTE]
That's weird. I only have the curly variety, which was getting eaten until I wised up and started frequent caterpillar searches.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-10 00:49

[QUOTE=richs;556479]Whatever is eating the flat-leafed parsley doesn't touch the curly-leafed variety.

And the aphids are white. I have two videos of the ladybugs chowing down.[/QUOTE]I don't know how big your herb pot is. If it's large enough, you can try to eliminate any slugs or snails by burying a shallow container so its top is level with the soil's surface, then filling it with beer. The snails will crawl in and die a happy death. The presence of slugs is often indicated by slime trails.

I'm not sure how to account for the preferential damage to one type of parsley. One possibility is (assuming the problem is caterpillars) the adult insect was better able to lay eggs on the flat leaves than the curly leaves. It could also be pure happenstance -- I don't know how many parsley plants you've got, or how they are situated.

Besides Black Swallowtails, another type of caterpillar that might be responsible is cutworms. They are the larvae of moths that are often light brown and maybe an inch long. A typical variety is "miller moths" that can become a nuisance in houses when they're flying through an area. Cutworms will bite small enough stems off at the ground. They generally feed at night. By day, they hide under leaf litter, or, (if they're in a potted plant and the pot is in a saucer), they might crawl under the pot and be hiding in the saucer. One Spring many years ago, my older sister complained that the plants she was starting from seeds were [i]disappearing![/i] She had them growing in vermiculite, in those rectangles of little square plastic "pots," which were sitting in flats. I went to investigate when she was out. I lifted a container out of the flat, and saw -- cutworms! I removed them and left them in a small container of rubbing alcohol with a note to the effect "I think I found your problem" and where to look for any I might have missed. The seedlings stopped disappearing.

White aphids, huh? Oh, joy, another kind of aphid. The only aphids I'm familiar with that truly look white are wooly aphids, and I don't think you've got those. Some pale-green aphids leave white skin husks when they molt.

In any case, mixing a little bit of soap (or an even smaller amount of dishwashing liquid) with water in a spray bottle makes an effective insecticide. The soapy water clogs the breathing tubes on their abdomens, and they drown. There will, however, likely be survivors. And an established population of aphids reproduces by "parthenogenesis" -- they breed like bacteria, and their numbers explode.

On the home-brew spray: I don't remember the proportions, but my mom also added a bit of isopropyl alcohol. This was supposed to take on some kinds of waxy or waxy-fuzzy insect exteriors. Clearly, one doesn't want to go overboard on alky or detergent. I think Mama used drops of something like Ivory Liquid in a substantial amount of water. Again, this is decades old vague memories. There would certainly be recipes on the web. My current insect battles involve " pick off and squish" tactics. I've not found any for a day or two, and the weather is cooler. So maybe the swallowtail laying season is over. :smile:
EDIT: I'll have to watch the forecasts and see if I need to bring the basil plants inside. Parsley doesn't care until it gets really cold. Basil may droop in the low40s F, and recovery is doubtful.

 xilman 2020-09-10 07:50

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;556597]I don't know how big your herb pot is. If it's large enough, you can try to eliminate any slugs or snails by burying a shallow container so its top is level with the soil's surface, then filling it with beer. The snails will crawl in and die a happy death. The presence of slugs is often indicated by slime trails.[/QUOTE]We save coffee grounds in our household to use as a mulch around the stems of snail and slug food. An annulus 1cm thick out to a distance of, say, 4cm away from the stems is applied to the top of the soil.

Works pretty well for us but YMMV.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-11 01:12

[QUOTE=xilman;556616]We save coffee grounds in our household to use as a mulch around the stems of snail and slug food. An annulus 1cm thick out to a distance of, say, 4cm away from the stems is applied to the top of the soil.

Works pretty well for us but YMMV.[/QUOTE]
I will pass this on. It's been many years since I gave up my two mugs of morning coffee because my stomach started complaining. I still enjoy an occasional cup of good coffee as a treat, though.

It would be bad if slugs or snails actually [i]liked[/i] coffee. Instead of being sluggish or moving at a snail's pace, it would be, "look at that escargot-go-go!"

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-11 01:15

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This is one of the Monarch caterpillars on my milkweed. I hadn't seen any of them out in the open lately, but today there were a bunch of them in plain sight. A better insect photographer than I got this shot of the largest of them we saw.

Wow! Impressive creature.

 richs 2020-09-12 01:16

It's been raining ash here for the past few days due to the wildfires and the air quality is extremely unhealthy, so I haven't been out to survey the parsley. Maybe the ash will eliminate the pests.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-12 01:50

[QUOTE=richs;556775]It's been raining ash here for the past few days due to the wildfires and the air quality is extremely unhealthy, so I haven't been out to survey the parsley. Maybe the ash will eliminate the pests.[/QUOTE]Reminds me of Waldo <shudder>.

(taps fist on head) Here's knocking on wood, hoping that what's raining down doesn't eliminate the whole neighborhood.

The year after the Waldo Canyon Fire, the Black Forest Fire burned hundreds more homes and killed two more people. It was far enough away that there wasn't ash raining down where I was, but the air was thick with eye-watering, choking smoke. Visibility was not good. Breathing the smoky air reminded me of trying to cook over an open fire, and always being on the downwind side of the fire.

 Xyzzy 2020-09-15 02:03

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.

 LaurV 2020-09-15 10:34

[QUOTE=Xyzzy;556993].[/QUOTE]
Shameless! :razz:

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-15 11:27

[QUOTE=Xyzzy;556993].[/QUOTE]

Nice shot.

Looks like a Southern species of walkingstick ([i]Anisomorpha[/i]). Similar picture at Bugguide [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/1705880/bgimage]here[/url].

Some insects [i]fly around[/i] while they're mating. Wheeee! Talk about "shameless!"

 Xyzzy 2020-09-15 11:39

Slim: What's the point of going out there? They'll only laugh at me.
P.T. Flea: That's because you're a clown!
Slim: No, it's because I'm a prop. You always cast me as the broom, the pole, the stick... a *splinter*!
P.T. Flea: You're a walking stick. It's funny! Now go!
Slim: You parasite.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-17 13:50

The REAL plant experts

I'm generally fairly good -- at least, for a layman -- at plant ID's. With common weeds or garden plants, I can often get the genus right, even if I can't name the species.

But I have just been outclassed by an [i]insect[/i], the Monarch Butterfly ([i]Danaus plexippus[/i]). Someone presented me with a "lost" Monarch caterpillar on some kind of bindweed in their garden. No milkweed anywhere near the bindweed plant. They brought it over to my place so if could feed instead on my milkweed.

The bindweed looked like a typical member of the genus [i]Convolvulus[/i] which includes field bindweed, and [i]used[/i] to include hedge bindweed (which I thought this might be) until it got reclassified.

Then, additional "lost" Monarch caterpillars turned up on the same kind of bindweed.

Finally, when I was faced with clear proof the caterpillar had actually be [i]feeding[/i] on that plant, :reality-check: the light bulb flickered on.

It dawned on me that I had better nail down the ID of that bindweed.

I did so. I didn't even have the [i]family[/i] right. I thought I was dealing with the morning-glory family [i]Convolvulaceae[/i]. The Monarchs know better. The catepillars were feeding on

[url=https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/single_weed.php?id=71]Honeyvine Milkweed (Cynanchum laeve)[/url]

:gah:

AKA Ampelamus albidus, Gonolobus laevis, bluevine, climbing milkweed, dog's-collar, Enslen's-vine, honeyvine, honeyvine swallwort, peavine, sandvine, smooth anglepod, smooth swallow-wort.

 firejuggler 2020-09-17 16:55

1 Attachment(s)
The only insect I get to see these day. And it is a *seven plague* sort. It jumped on my screen.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-21 00:55

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This is the first Monarch chrysalis I have ever seen with my own eyes. It is hanging below a milkweed leaf over the deck of my front porch. [strike]Sorry for the poor image quality, I snapped it with my phone.[/strike] [color=blue]Swapped out the phone pic for a much better one. Much smaller image size, too.[/color]

There are more on the way. I saw an immobile caterpillar similarly attached to the underside of a nearby leaf. I don't know how long the final molt will take, but my guess is there will be another chrysalis some time tomorrow.

UPDATE: And so it came to pass. Now there are two.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-09-25 00:13

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This Monarch caterpillar looked to be almost ready to pupate. Then it fell victim to another insect, the Wheel Bug ([i]Arilus cristatus[/i]), which gets its common name from the distinctive serrated ridge on its back. This looks vaguely like part of the edge of a wheel or gear.

 tuckerkao 2020-09-25 19:44

[QUOTE=xilman;551740]Insects are good eating if they are prepared properly.[/QUOTE]
Dandelions can be prepared for the meals during the recession time as well. The insect meat taste nicely with the dandelion salad.

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;557804]This Monarch caterpillar looked to be almost ready to pupate. Then it fell victim to another insect, the Wheel Bug ([I]Arilus cristatus[/I]), which gets its common name from the distinctive serrated ridge on its back. This looks vaguely like part of the edge of a wheel or gear.[/QUOTE]
[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel_bug[/url]
Fascinating! I had never even heard of them.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-10-24 00:28

[url=https://apnews.com/article/washington-first-murder-hornet-discovery-0cbf9cccf5a4a62902aa880c87629172]Washington state discovers first 'murder hornet' nest in US[/url][quote]SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Scientists in Washington state have discovered the first nest of so-called murder hornets in the United States and plan to wipe it out Saturday to protect native honeybees, officials said.

Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops.
<snip>
The nest was found after an Agriculture Department worker trapped two of the hornets Wednesday. Two more were captured Thursday, the agency said.

Using dental floss, "entomologists were able to attach radio trackers to three hornets, the second of which led them to the discovery of the nest" Thursday, agriculture officials said.[/quote]

In other insect news, the two Monarch Butterfly chrysalises I'd had on my milkweed both perished a while back. One of them started to turn black soon after apparently being jabbed by a stink bug. This seemed strange -- I had thought of stink bugs as plant pests. A bit of research turned up a predatory stink bug, however, the spined soldier bug, [i]Podisus maculiventris[/i]. This species does attack caterpillars, but I was unable to find any mention of predation of chrysalises. The other chrysalis started to blacken the same way a day or two later.

Even if the adults had emerged, it is unlikely they would have survived. By the time they would have been expected to emerge, most of the flowers were gone, and the weather was turning cool. If it's below 60 F (16 C) they can't fly.

There's just one thing to do: Plant more milkweed!

 mathematizer 2020-11-07 22:34

I planted some asclepius tuberosa last year - got to enjoy watching a Monarch caterpillar grow up for each of the past two summers.

My 6yo son had a blast going out each morning to check up on it. First, discovering where the caterpillar was feeding... eventually observing changes in the chrysalis and waiting for the butterfly to emerge. We also learned about red milkweed beetles, which were frequent visitors this summer. Now, the seed pods are opening and the seeds are fascinating to him. The plants have provided significant entertainment.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-11-08 00:06

[quote=mathematizer;562567]I planted some asclepius tuberosa last year - got to enjoy watching a Monarch caterpillar grow up for each of the past two summers.[/quote]Congratulations on having a stand of [i]Asclepias tuberosa[/i] (Butterfly Weed)! I had a few Monarch caterpillars on mine, but none of them made it to adulthood. Butterfly weed is much less invasive, and not nearly as tall as Common Milkweed ([i]Asclepias syriaca[/i]) -- important considerations for a garden, and for a 6yo being able to get a close look at what's happening. (I had a lot more Monarch caterpillars on my Common Milkweed, but none of them made it, either.)

Dried Butterfly Weed root is an "herbal remedy" for respiratory problems. It is called "pleurisy root" or "wind root." (Of course, gathering the root kills the plant.)
[quote]We also learned about red milkweed beetles, which were frequent visitors this summer. [/quote]
Do they look like [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/504]These[/url]? (Species [i]Oncopeltus fasciatus[/i] - Large Milkweed Bug)

Both my Butterfly Weed and my Common Milkweed were lousy with them late in the season. The Butterfly Weed pods opened some weeks ago, and I gathered some of them for seeds. The seed pods on the Common Milkweed began opening within the last couple of days, and they were bursting open and seeds were drifting into my face today as I cleared a nearby bed. I cut down the stalks and pruned off the pods to save some seeds.

The eastern Monarch population looks to be in big trouble. Last overwintering in Mexico was less than half the size of the year before.

 xilman 2020-11-08 01:35

[QUOTE=mathematizer;562567]I planted some asclepius tuberosa last year - got to enjoy watching a Monarch caterpillar grow up for each of the past two summers.

My 6yo son had a blast going out each morning to check up on it. First, discovering where the caterpillar was feeding... eventually observing changes in the chrysalis and waiting for the butterfly to emerge. We also learned about red milkweed beetles, which were frequent visitors this summer. Now, the seed pods are opening and the seeds are fascinating to him. The plants have provided significant entertainment.[/QUOTE]:tu:

 mathematizer 2020-11-08 01:52

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;562578]Congratulations on having a stand of [i]Asclepias tuberosa[/i] (Butterfly Weed)! I had a few Monarch caterpillars on mine, but none of them made it to adulthood. Butterfly weed is much less invasive, and not nearly as tall as Common Milkweed ([i]Asclepias syriaca[/i]) -- important considerations for a garden, and for a 6yo being able to get a close look at what's happening. (I had a lot more Monarch caterpillars on my Common Milkweed, but none of them made it, either.)

Dried Butterfly Weed root is an "herbal remedy" for respiratory problems. It is called "pleurisy root" or "wind root." (Of course, gathering the root kills the plant.)

Do they look like [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/504]These[/url]? (Species [i]Oncopeltus fasciatus[/i] - Large Milkweed Bug)

Both my Butterfly Weed and my Common Milkweed were lousy with them late in the season. The Butterfly Weed pods opened some weeks ago, and I gathered some of them for seeds. The seed pods on the Common Milkweed began opening within the last couple of days, and they were bursting open and seeds were drifting into my face today as I cleared a nearby bed. I cut down the stalks and pruned off the pods to save some seeds.

The eastern Monarch population looks to be in big trouble. Last overwintering in Mexico was less than half the size of the year before.[/QUOTE]

Yes, Oncopeltus. Large milkweed bug (a true bug!), not red milkweed beetle, as I had mentioned. Read that the beetles were considered beneficial as they somehow help reduce the spread of the butterfly weed in the garden, though I didn’t see mention of the mechanism of how their feeding does so: [url]https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/milkweed/milkweed-bug-control.htm[/url]

We didn’t have them last year, imagine our winters are often too cold for them.

When we were planting our butterfly garden, we were looking for low growing plants of varying colors. The local nursery was thrilled to see us planting native species and we’ve been quite happy with it.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-11-08 02:52

[QUOTE=mathematizer;562598]Yes, Oncopeltus. Large milkweed bug (a true bug!), not red milkweed beetle, as I had mentioned. Read that the beetles were considered beneficial as they somehow help reduce the spread of the butterfly weed in the garden, though I didn’t see mention of the mechanism of how their feeding does so: [url]https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/milkweed/milkweed-bug-control.htm[/url][/quote]Huh, I don't know. They don't seem to do a lot of damage. (Google Google) Ah. Interesting. The Missouri Botanical Garden's page on [url=https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/insects/plant-bugs/milkweed-bugs.aspx]Milkweed Bugs[/url] says[quote]The large milkweed bug, [i]Oncopeltus fasciatus[/i], is colored orange-red and black. It has a long proboscis and is a piercing sucking insect. It feeds on the seeds, leaves and stems of milkweed (Asclepias).[/quote]So it takes out some of the seeds. That will slow down the spread of Butterfly Weed. I don't think it spreads by underground runners the way Common Milkweed does. This year I did have one volunteer Butterfly Weed plant come up from seed near one I'd planted last year.

I'd planted a single specimen of Common Milkweed at the back of my front yard garden bed last year, and this year I had several clumps coming up -- with one stem in my front lawn! I dug it out, breaking off a segment of runner in the process. I planted the part with a stalk, and buried the broken segment of runner a few inches deep, in my back yard. Both plantings "took." The stalk on the one part of runner died, but it was replaced with a new stalk. The buried segment of runner sent up stalks at both ends! The milkweed colony in front sent another runner and stalk into my front lawn, but after I mowed it a few times, that stalk gave up. Next year I'll probably have it coming up in the middle of the street...

[quote]When we were planting our butterfly garden, we were looking for low growing plants of varying colors. The local nursery was thrilled to see us planting native species and we’ve been quite happy with it.[/QUOTE]Good job, planting native plants! I am gradually increasing the variety in my yard. There are cultivars with the moniker "Proven Winners," but native plants are "proven winners" of a struggle for survival that's been going on since time immemorial.

I have read that some misinformed people trying to help the Monarch Butterfly plant a non-native tropical variety of Milkweed that harbors a dreadful protozoan parasite that afflicts the Monarch.

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-11-28 13:32

[url=https://apnews.com/article/science-insects-berlin-germany-europe-7cb97a7c0747325a5e79c8fdee913445]Brief buzz: Danish Mayfly named 2021 insect of the year[/url][quote]BERLIN (AP) — The Danish Mayfly was selected Friday by an international group of entomologists and others as the Insect of the Year for 2021, but it won't have long to celebrate its 15 minutes of fame.

The insect, whose scientific name is Ephemera danica, only has a few days to fly, mate and lay new eggs.

"What makes the mayfly unique is its life cycle: from the egg laid in the water to the insect capable of flight and mating, which dies after a few days," said Thomas Schmitt, chairman of the commission of scientists and representatives from research institutions and conservation organizations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland that made the choice.

Mayflies have existed for about 355 million years and today some 140 species live in Central Europe, the commission said.

Despite their fleeting time on earth in their final form, their developmental cycle is quite long.

Female mayflies zigzag over water between May and September, laying thousands of eggs that then sink.

Larvae hatch within a few days, and eventually develop gills. Buried in riverbeds, they take between one to three years to develop.[/quote]

 Dr Sardonicus 2020-12-16 00:04

After [url=http://blogs.edf.org/growingreturns/2019/06/03/what-monarch-esa-listing-delay-means/]delaying a decision on listing the Monarch Butterfly as an endangered species for eighteen months[/url], the Fish and Wildlife Service has decided it's too busy:

[url=https://www.fws.gov/news/ShowNews.cfm?ref=u.s.-fish-and-wildlife-service-finds-endangered-species-act-listing-for-&_ID=36817]U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Finds Endangered Species Act Listing for Monarch Butterfly Warranted but Precluded[/url][quote]After a thorough assessment of the monarch butterfly's status, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has found that adding the monarch butterfly to the list of threatened and endangered species is warranted but precluded by work on higher-priority listing actions. With this decision, the monarch becomes a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and its status will be reviewed each year until it is no longer a candidate.[/quote]"No longer a candidate" meaning "extinct?"

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-01-17 20:42

[url=https://www.pnas.org/content/118/2/e2023989118]Insect decline in the Anthropocene: Death by a thousand cuts[/url][quote]Nature is under siege. In the last 10,000 y the human population has grown from 1 million to 7.8 billion. Much of Earth’s arable lands are already in agriculture (1), millions of acres of tropical forest are cleared each year (2, 3), atmospheric CO2 levels are at their highest concentrations in more than 3 million y (4), and climates are erratically and steadily changing from pole to pole, triggering unprecedented droughts, fires, and floods across continents. Indeed, most biologists agree that the world has entered its sixth mass extinction event, the first since the end of the Cretaceous Period 66 million y ago, when more than 80% of all species, including the nonavian dinosaurs, perished.[/quote]

[url=https://www.pnas.org/content/118/2/e2002552117]No buzz for bees: Media coverage of pollinator decline[/url][quote][size=4][b]Abstract[/b][/size]

Although widespread declines in insect biomass and diversity are increasing concerns within the scientific community, it remains unclear whether attention to pollinator declines has also increased within information sources serving the general public. Examining patterns of journalistic attention to the pollinator population crisis can also inform efforts to raise awareness about the importance of declines of insect species providing ecosystem services beyond pollination. We used the Global News Index developed by the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign to track news attention to pollinator topics in nearly 25 million news items published by two American national newspapers and four international wire services over the past four decades. We found vanishingly low levels of attention to pollinator population topics relative to coverage of climate change, which we use as a comparison topic. In the most recent subset of ∼10 million stories published from 2007 to 2019, 1.39% (137,086 stories) refer to climate change/global warming while only 0.02% (1,780) refer to pollinator populations in all contexts, and just 0.007% (679) refer to pollinator declines. Substantial increases in news attention were detectable only in US national newspapers. We also find that, while climate change stories appear primarily in newspaper "front sections," pollinator population stories remain largely marginalized in "science" and "back section" reports. At the same time, news reports about pollinator populations increasingly link the issue to climate change, which might ultimately help raise public awareness to effect needed policy changes.[/quote]

[url=https://apnews.com/article/animals-beetles-fcf1d868821f1330b4afbe10233156ed]Beetle keeps rivals off scent of food buried for offspring[/url][quote]Some beetles go to great - and disgusting - lengths for their children.

They scout for a dead mouse or bird, dig a hole and bury it, pluck its fur or feathers, roll its flesh into a ball and cover it in goop - all to feed their future offspring.

Now scientists think that goo might do more than just slow decay. It also appears to hide the scent of the decomposing bounty and boosts another odor that repels competitors.[/quote]

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-02-26 12:13

[url=https://apnews.com/article/monarch-butterflies-down-mexico-9eb0e1e1b09e289428e55f78b3236c4b]Monarch butterflies down 26% in Mexico wintering grounds[/url][quote]MEXICO CITY (AP) - The number of monarch butterflies that showed up at their winter resting grounds in central Mexico decreased by about 26% this year, and four times as many trees were lost to illegal logging, drought and other causes, making 2020 a bad year for the butterflies.

The government commission for natural protected areas said the butterflies' population covered only 2.1 hectares (5.2 acres) in 2020, compared to 2.8 hectares (6.9 acres) the previous year and about one-third of the 6.05 hectares (14.95 acres) detected in 2018.

Because the monarchs cluster so densely in pine and fir trees, it is easier to count them by area rather than by individuals.

Gloria Tavera, the regional director of Mexico's Commission for National Protected Areas, blamed the drop on "extreme climate conditions," the loss of milkweed habitat in the United States and Canada on which butterflies depend, and deforestation in the butterflies' wintering grounds in Mexico.

Illegal logging in the monarchs wintering rounds rose to almost 13.4 hectares (33 acres), a huge increase from the 0.43 hectare (1 acre) lost to logging last year.[/quote]

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-03-22 00:30

As I was doing some gardening today (March 21, 2021), I saw a sure sign that Spring has sprung: a butterfly flew by me, right in front of my face! I couldn't identify it immediately. It was small and rusty brown, and had some black spots on its front wings. Its appearance was a bit drab. The early butterfly I am most familiar with is the Mourning Cloak, [i]Nymphalis antiopa[/i], but it is fairly large and the upper sides of its wings are definitely not drab.

I saw the small brown butterfly again later, and that time so did someone else who had seen a similar butterfly a few weeks ago.

Later investigation turned up a likely suspect: [i]Polygonia comma[/i], the Eastern comma.

 MattcAnderson 2021-04-02 17:03

I consider most insects as pests, except those that process poop. Even dragonfly s are spectacular to watch

Check it out
[URL="https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/oregon/bugs-or/"]bugs-or[/URL]

I remember burning an ant with a magnifying glass. We all make mistakes.

:banana:

 Xyzzy 2021-04-02 18:08

[url]https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/01/us/off-duty-firefighter-saves-man-from-swarm-of-bees-trnd/index.html[/url]

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-04-08 16:06

I've seen more butterflies since March 21. Mostly the undesirable alien [i]Pieris rapae[/i], the European Cabbage Butterfly, but a couple of days ago a specimen of the Painted Lady [i]Vanessa cardui[/i], two [I think] Red Admirals ([i]Vanessa atalanta[/i]) having an aerial dogfight, and one quite small brown butterfly I was unable to identify.

I've also seen European Honeybees ([i]Apis mellifera[/i]), paper wasps (genus [i]Polistes[/i]), and Eastern Carpenter Bees ([i]Xylocopa virginica[/i]) along with smaller bees and wasps, beetles, flies, and midges.

[b]EDIT:[/b] Forgot to mention, I've also seen some large dragonflies in the last couple of weeks.

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-04-17 02:24

On Monday April 12, I saw my first large butterfly of the year, a [i]Papilio glaucus[/i] - Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, a large yellow butterfly with black stripes on its wings.

Today (Friday April 16), I saw my second large butterfly of the year. Besides being large, at the distance from which I saw it, it appeared grayish. I could not positively identify it, but I could come up with only one plausible candidate, [i]Eurytides marcellus[/i] - the Zebra Swallowtail. It is a species I have only seen once before, and that was a long time ago.

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-05-04 20:52

[QUOTE=xilman;551740]Insects are good eating if they are prepared properly.

On my first trip to Brno, when SWMBO and I were flown out to meet the crew, we were taken to a rather good restaurant. As chance would have it, that week they had an insect tasting-menu of 7 courses. I was the only one willing to give it a try and I knew I´d be unlikely to get the chance again.

The locust omelette was basically omelette with tasteless crunchy bits. A deep-fried larva dish was absolutely delicious. The larvae, each about 5cm long and 3mm in diameter, tasted like a cross between shrimps and hazelnuts.[/QUOTE]When [b][color=red]xilman[/color][/b] talks, the EU listens...

[url=https://apnews.com/article/europe-worms-science-business-oddities-c12bf770addd95eed248a0deee5e5d95]Food of the future? EU nations put mealworms on the menu[/url][quote]BRUSSELS (AP) - Dried yellow mealworms could soon be hitting supermarket shelves and restaurants across Europe.

The European Union's 27 nations gave the greenlight Tuesday to a proposal to put the Tenebrio molitor beetle's larvae on the market as a "novel food."

The move came after the EU's food safety agency published a scientific opinion this year that concluded worms were safe to eat. Researchers said the worms, either eaten whole or in powdered form, are a protein-rich snack or an ingredient for other foods.
<snip>[/quote]

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-05-05 12:00

This may affect [b][color=green]storm5510[/color][/b] since he lives in Indiana...

[url=https://apnews.com/article/ap-top-news-oddities-featured-university-of-maryland-columbia-c8b67952ac321c8bbbfb62af48efebf0]Nature at its craziest: Trillions of cicadas about to emerge[/url][quote]COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) - Sifting through a shovel load of dirt in a suburban backyard, Michael Raupp and Paula Shrewsbury find their quarry: a cicada nymph.

And then another. And another. And four more.

In maybe a third of a square foot of dirt, the University of Maryland entomologists find at least seven cicadas -- a rate just shy of a million per acre. A nearby yard yielded a rate closer to 1.5 million.

And there's much more afoot. Trillions of the red-eyed black bugs are coming, scientists say.

Within days, a couple weeks at most, the [url=https://cicadacrewumd.weebly.com/]cicadas of Brood X[/url] (the X is the Roman numeral for 10) will emerge after 17 years underground. There are many broods of periodic cicadas that appear on rigid schedules in different years, but this is one of the largest and most noticeable. They’ll be in [url=https://cicadas.uconn.edu/brood_10/#]15 states[/url] from Indiana to Georgia to New York; they're coming out now in mass numbers in Tennessee and North Carolina.

When the entire brood emerges, backyards can look like undulating waves, and the bug chorus is lawnmower loud.[/quote]

 S485122 2021-05-05 15:44

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;577697]...
after 17 years underground
...[/QUOTE]Notice the prime number ! The result of a race between prey and predator !

Jacob

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-05-05 16:21

[QUOTE=S485122;577717]Notice the prime number ! The result of a race between prey and predator ![/QUOTE]Here's a "topper." Some periodical cicadas spend 13 years underground. And 13 is [i]another[/i] prime number! Thus,the periods are relatively prime, so a given pair of broods of 17-year and 13-year cicadas emerge simultaneously only once every 221 years!

And what is more, these two primes have a deep number-theoretic significance. The field $$K\;=\;\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt{13},\;\sqrt{17})$$ is an example of an extension $$K/\mathbb{Q}$$ for which the Hasse Norm Theorem (for cyclic extensions) does not hold (Serre and Tate showed that 5[sup]2[/sup] is a local norm everywhere, but is not a global norm.)

Those insects may know more than we think! :big grin:

 Uncwilly 2021-05-05 18:13

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;577722]Here's a "topper." Some periodical cicadas spend 13 years underground. And 13 is [i]another[/i] prime number![/QUOTE]If I understood the show that I heard correctly...
What is happening is a 4x +1 issue. At times weather/tree growth patterns will mess with he cicada's timing. Parts of broods will emerge off the normal cycle if trees "wake up" and then the weather "puts them back to sleep". The little buggies are drinking the trees' vital fluids. If they emerge off schedule they do so 4 or 8 years early. The first year is a given (they don't count that.) Then every 4 cycles of the tree, they count.

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-05-07 01:40

[QUOTE=Uncwilly;577734]If I understood the show that I heard correctly...
What is happening is a 4x +1 issue. At times weather/tree growth patterns will mess with he cicada's timing. Parts of broods will emerge off the normal cycle if trees "wake up" and then the weather "puts them back to sleep". The little buggies are drinking the trees' vital fluids. If they emerge off schedule they do so 4 or 8 years early. The first year is a given (they don't count that.) Then every 4 cycles of the tree, they count.[/QUOTE]You might want to look at [url=https://cicadas.uconn.edu/]The 2021 Periodical Cicada Emergence (Brood X)[/url] (which also has links to "stragglers"). The striking thing about periodical cicadas is the extreme synchrony of each "brood." Most "stragglers" in a brood's area emerge one year "off cycle" (before or after), with four years "off cycle" (before or after) being next most common.

In addition, [url=http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/fauna/Michigan_Cicadas/Periodical/Index.html]this University of Michigan page[/url], even though it was last updated ten years ago, has some interesting information on the seven [i]Magicicada[/i] species. There are "species pairs" of 17- and 13-year cicadas which seem to differ mainly in geographic distribution and length of development. The 13-year "broods" are generally more southerly than the 17-year broods.

If those aren't enough, the [url=https://www.cicadamania.com/]Cicada Mania[/url] site will probably fill the gap.

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-06-24 11:44

[url=https://apnews.com/article/droughts-science-government-and-politics-business-environment-and-nature-8c5863077b1e8f3876dd7d0b4426d27c]Western drought brings another woe: voracious grasshoppers[/url][quote]BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) -- A punishing drought in the U.S. West is drying up waterways, sparking wildfires and leaving farmers scrambling for water. Next up: a plague of voracious grasshoppers.

Federal agriculture officials are launching what could become their largest grasshopper-killing campaign since the 1980s amid an outbreak of the drought-loving insects that cattle ranchers fear will strip bare public and private rangelands.
<snip>
To blunt the grasshoppers' economic damage, the U.S. Department of Agriculture this week began aerial spraying of the pesticide diflubenzuron to kill grasshopper nymphs before they develop into adults. Approximately 3,000 square miles (7,700 square kilometers) in Montana are expected to be sprayed, roughly twice the size of Rhode Island.

Agriculture officials had seen this year’s infestation coming, after a 2020 survey found dense concentrations of adult grasshoppers across about 55,000 square miles (141 ,000 square kilometers) in the West.

A 2021 grasshopper "hazard map" shows densities of at least 15 insects per square yard (meter) in large areas of Montana, Wyoming and Oregon and portions of Idaho, Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska.

Left unaddressed, federal officials said the agricultural damage from grasshoppers could become so severe it could drive up beef and crop prices.
<snip>
The grasshoppers targeted include roughly a dozen of the hundreds of native species in the West. Drought benefits them in part because it lessens exposure of grasshopper eggs to deadly parasites that need moisture, said Chelse Prather, a University of Dayton insect ecologist.

This year’s outbreak will peak in roughly two months, when the insects reach 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.6 centimeters) in length and become so prevalent they’ll start to eat more plant matter than cattle can, Prather said.

The grasshoppers start to die down when there’s nothing left to eat, Prather said, "but at that point they’ve probably already ... laid their eggs for next year."[/quote]

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-07-10 13:21

[url=https://apnews.com/article/science-race-and-ethnicity-racial-injustice-18e74693eccc7d4a2d0a4ffeaf3691aa]Bug experts seeking new name for destructive gypsy moths[/url][quote]Bug experts are dropping the common name of a destructive insect because it's considered an ethnic slur: the gypsy moth.

The Entomological Society of America, which oversees the common names of bugs, is getting rid of the common name of that critter and the lesser-known gypsy ant. The group this week announced that for the first time it changed a common name of an insect because it was offensive. In the past they've only reassigned names that weren't scientifically accurate.
<snip>
The moths are invasive and destructive critters in the caterpillar stage. They have a voracious appetite that can denude entire forests of leaves, said University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum, a past society president.

The moths likely got their name because as larvae they have hair with small air pockets that act like balloons allowing them to float for miles, wandering like the group of people they were named after, Berenbaum said. Another theory is that male adult moths have a tan color that could be similar to Romani people.

The Entomological Society is now on the hunt for a new common name, a process that will take months, Smith said. Until then, even though it's a mouthful, Smith said the moths should be called by their scientific name, [i]Lymantria dispar[/i] or [i]L. dispar[/i].

Berenbaum — who has written about weirdly named plants, animals and gene mutations — said given the moths' destructiveness, she and other would have some ideas for a descriptive new name.

"You're not allowed to use obscenities," she said, "so that's out."[/quote]

 LaurV 2021-07-10 14:25

Bug experts didn't live in Romania :lol: (or eastern Europe, more general).

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-07-10 15:30

[QUOTE=LaurV;582961]Bug experts didn't live in Romania :lol: (or eastern Europe, more general).[/QUOTE]Never mind "experts." I'm sure there are descriptive common names for [i]Lymantria dispar[/i] where it's native. Maybe "fuzzy tree-defoliator" or something like that (in English translation). Such a descriptive common name would be more interesting than "Eurasian tussock moth" IMO.

I don't know about the "gypsy ant."

[b]EDIT (update):[/b] After doing some more reading online, I found the following about the "gypsy ant." Great minds...

[url=https://massivesci.com/notes/gypsy-ant-entomology-common-name-change/]The gypsy ant is dead! Long live the itiner-ant![/url][quote]Two weeks ago, entomologist Terry McGlynn wrote a blog post about a species of ant he named after conducting field research in the summer of 2000. These ants are common in Central America, and behaved in an unusual way, moving back and forth among different nests in their territory but only occupying one at a time. Based on this trait, nineteen years ago McGlynn proposed to the official board of insect names that the species be commonly called "gypsy ants," using an ethnic slur for the Roma people.
<snip>
He put out an open call for names to send to the common names committee, and the internet did not disappoint: wanderlust ants, ranger ants, ambu-lants, and itiner-ants were all suggested. [b]Paleoecologist Jacquelyn Gill suggested that McGlynn find out what local indigenous people call the ant.[/b]
<snip>[/quote]

 LaurV 2021-07-11 06:28

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;582965][URL="https://massivesci.com/notes/gypsy-ant-entomology-common-name-change/"]The gypsy ant is dead! Long live the itiner-ant![/URL][/QUOTE]
Wow, that website is a gem. Thanks for sharing it. Kinda ifls or scienceallert, but without lots of advertising and stupidity they show in the recent times.

Now, my post was a joke, not much about moths as it was about gypsies. Almost everybody in my country become [URL="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antiziganism"]antiziganists[/URL] sometimes in their lives, for periods, or for the rest of their lives, and bad things (like your moth) [U]do have[/U] gypsy-related names, quite frequently. But good things too can have gypsy-related names, especially when it comes to music, roaming, living free. Now, that's a pity a whole population and a nice culture comes to be characterized by looking at few bad elements, but that is another story. People know the gypsies like the guys who went west after the communist curtain fell, and were sleeping on the streets in Italy shitting at the corners of the street, terrorizing strawberry farmers' villages in Spain, eating the swans on the lakes in public parks in Frankfurt, or stealing satellite antennas with lassos in Austria when Germans, fed up with them, packed them in trains and sent them back east. These things were reported in press around the world, and that is how people now gypsies. But most of them are not like that. They are normal people, like me and you, and the idiots who gave the bad fame to the name are not really representative.

Kind of similar situation here in Thailand with Chinese tourists who come here and disrespect local culture and people. Local population, including some of my colleagues, disapprove of them, even hate them, because they talk loud (which is a bad behavior in Thai culture, they all try to talk "quietly", if there are 5 people in my office all talking at the phone in the same time, you could still hear a fly flying there - well, not really, but you got the idea), and you always have the feeling they (the Chinese) will start fighting in the next seconds (but they won't, it is the tonal language what gives you this feeling, they maybe just telling jokes), and because the local newspapers have racist articles about some tourists washing their feet in the sink in some toilet in the airport (again, in Buddhist culture, feet are unclean because they walk in the dirt, see my former posts about touching children's heads), or getting drunk and peeing behind some Buddha statue. And this makes a bad fame for Chinese in general, local people come to think that all Chinese are bad, uneducated, disrespectful, careless, etc. Every time when we discuss about it, I try to make my colleagues understand that the tourists who come here are not representative for the Chinese population. These are just few idiots who have no situation there and try to escape somewhere else, or some snobs with money who believe that all the world revolves around them, who behave the same in their country too, and are hated there too. Putting all the Chinese in the same basket with these few snobs is detrimental for the most mass of the people, here or there, and for tourism in general. Normal people there, which are representative for Chinese culture, tradition, etc, they can't afford to travel somewhere else in the world. I know, because I was working there some years, and I liked China, the people are hospitable and kind in their hearts, they will respect you if you respect them, they will feed you if you need, without expecting much in return, and they don't eat swans and don't shit at the corner of the street.

Funny is that before the '90s, some western countries criticized Romania for the policy for (or against) gypsies, like they were forcefully concentrated in some neighborhoods, where new apartment buildings were built for them (but they were living in tents outside of apartment buildings :lol: because that's the life style they like), and they were not allowed to roam and terrorize the local villages (they used to install their tents nearby some village, steal chickens or goods, scaring or sometimes beating local people, etc). And we didn't have leaders strong enough to tell western countries what Deng told Carter when he visited US and Carter reproached him that Chinese people are oppressed and not free to travel, "do you want them? no problem, tomorrow I give passports to all of them". I had some gypsy friends (both sexes) and some gypsy colleagues in the university who I wouldn't exchange for a hundred Romanians, but I grown in a town where about 10% to 20% of the people were gypsies and like 30% [URL="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipovans"]lipovans[/URL] (all lipovans to the last were in vegetable farming business and they lived in their own way, follow their own religion, majority of them were rich and good people, and some of their kids were really smart, my class of about 35 pupils from the first to the eight grade was 3 to 5 gypsies, 15 to 20 lipovans, and 10 to 15 romanians, but parallel classes had no gypsies and mostly romanians, the teachers were kinda racist where they split the classes initially, this is a long story which I may tell sometime in the future). So, in that town, most people were afraid to go in the gypsy neighborhoods, and women avoided walking on the streets in the night in ANY neighborhood. And all this bad fame was caused just by few "elements" who were usually alternating between being free and being in jail or correction facilities periodically. The most of the others were normal people, like you and me, trying hard to live day by day during the communist regime. We, like children, went there to play with local kids sometime, without our parents knowing it. When parents found out, they were like "don't go there", "don't eat from them", "don't drink from them", but in about 10 years or more, I got bullied or beaten two times (by other kids, but I wasn't a saint either), and never caught some "strange" disease.

In the mountains where my maternal grandmother lived there was a village of gypsies who were metal workers. They were extracting the metal by themselves, give part to the government, etc. They had their own laws and rules, and their own bulibasha (king), like you see in the movies. They barricaded the roads in the night, so nothing could pass that area, and removed the barricades every morning. They were all rich, but still living in very rustic conditions, and if you happen to be caught there you could only leave the village well fed and half drunk. You could not make business there unless you drank with everybody. [U]Their[/U] wine or tzuica (romanian version of whiskey), of which they were very proud, and it was flowing "for free". Or well... for good business and collaboration in the future, haha. Their main business like metal workers was making buckets and alembics (of course, to make tzuica!), which they sold in whole the area. This was [U]during[/U] the communist area. The communism didn't climb so high in the mountains :razz:. My uncles (all in the timber trade) knew all of them by names and I was there few times with them looking for business. I didn't have any trouble playing with their kids (close to my age at the time) or chasing their girls (most of the times without much success, of course, they were more skilled than me, the city boy, at that age, haha).

So, in short, we have lots of jokes and stories about gypsies. We may tell them sometimes. Some of them may sound racist, but there is nothing racist in them. In the last years there is a big movement for gays, black people, Jews, women, etc. emancipation, and gypsies couldn't stay apart. But if you ask me, such movement is similar to the communist joke with the communism machine being broken, because the gasoline didn't go to the engine anymore, it went to the [URL="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_horn"]horn[/URL], i.e., just a big propaganda. For us they are all people. Unless of course, they ring my doorbell to convince me to switch to their religion/color/sex/whatever. Those, I will kick in the butt with a great pleasure.

So, in summary, with all this propaganda, expect in the future to eliminate all the attributes which could be related to any of the mentioned "traits", from the scientific names. No more gypsy moth, chinese beetle, argentinean ant, colorado bug, american whatever...

-------------
[SIZE=1]sorry for hijacking the thread, if it is too much for the topic, then you could move the post to my blog[/SIZE]

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-07-11 12:56

[QUOTE=LaurV;582996]<snip>
So, in summary, with all this propaganda, expect in the future to eliminate all the attributes which could be related to any of the mentioned "traits", from the scientific names. No more gypsy moth, chinese beetle, argentinean ant, colorado bug, american whatever...
<snip>[/QUOTE]
It seems that folks are actually rethinking "officially" using places of origin in common names for invasive or pestiferous organisms. I don't have any problem with such usage (assuming it is accurate), especially if it helps distinguish non-native (alien) species from similar native species. The following insect names come to mind:

Asian longhorn beetle ([i]Anoplophora glabripennis[/i]) - introduced into the US in wooden pallets ("skids") containing their wood-boring grubs. Infested trees are goners.

Colorado potato beetle - ([i]Leptinotarsa decemlineata[/i]) - Became an agricultural pest only after potatoes were introduced as an agricultural crop.

European Cabbage White ([i]Pieris rapae[/i]) - Introduced European butterfly. Pale green caterpillars known as "cabbage worms" infest and spoil cabbage, broccoli, etc. Also displaces native white butterfly species.

Formosan termite ([i]Coptotermes formosanus[/i]) - Apparently originally native to southern China, introduced to Taiwan, then to the US and elsewhere.

Japanese beetle ([i]Popillia japonica[/i]) - Native to Japan and E Asia. Introduced into US before inspection of nursery stock was mandated. Grubs damage plant roots, adults damage leaves and flowers.

In the plant kingdom, we have

Russian Thistle AKA tumbleweed (scientific names [i]Kali tragus[/i] FKA [i]Salsola tragus[/i], [i]Salsola pestifer[/i] etc). Place of origin accurate, but "thistle" is a misnomer, given because of the prickly nature of the mature plant. Formerly classified in Chenopodiaceae (goosefoot family), since reclassified into Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family). Tumbleweeds can fill roadside ditches, pile up against houses up to their roofs, and get caught up in whirlwinds, including "fire tornadoes."

Canada thistle ([i]Cirsium arvense[/i]) AKA creeping thistle. The "Canada" is a misnomer because the plant is actually of European origin. New England colonists blamed its appearance on French traders from Canada, and the name stuck. The name "creeping thistle" is apt. It spreads by underground runners and forms large colonies.

 kriesel 2021-07-11 13:17

Re possibly PC renaming of ants with several residences: nomad; circuit (as in circuit rider or circuit judge); patrol; restless; berniesanders

It seems the humans sometimes called gypsy, Roma, or Tigan disagree on what to be called. [URL]https://www.pri.org/stories/2011-12-05/linguistic-respect-people-once-derided-gypsies[/URL]

Does this mean Cher needs to rewrite/rerecord her [URL="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xHhWkz5aMc"]song[/URL]?

 Uncwilly 2021-07-11 14:41

 xilman 2021-07-11 16:23

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;583008]In the plant kingdom, we have

Russian Thistle AKA tumbleweed (scientific names [i]Kali tragus[/i] FKA [i]Salsola tragus[/i], [i]Salsola pestifer[/i] etc). Place of origin accurate, but "thistle" is a misnomer, given because of the prickly nature of the mature plant. Formerly classified in Chenopodiaceae (goosefoot family), since reclassified into Amaranthaceae (Amaranth family). Tumbleweeds can fill roadside ditches, pile up against houses up to their roofs, and get caught up in whirlwinds, including "fire tornadoes."

Canada thistle ([i]Cirsium arvense[/i]) AKA creeping thistle. The "Canada" is a misnomer because the plant is actually of European origin. New England colonists blamed its appearance on French traders from Canada, and the name stuck. The name "creeping thistle" is apt. It spreads by underground runners and forms large colonies.[/QUOTE]Japanese knotweed is an evil invasive in the UK;: an infestation is required by law to be notified to the authorities so that it can be terminated with extreme prejudice.

Pseudosasa japonica can be a real bugger (a technical term in horticulture) if not kept firmly under control. Sasa kurilensis is similar. Neither of these two are likely to be renamed because botanical taxonomy is extremely hard to change without very good reason.

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-09-16 01:46

[url=https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-science-animals-kansas-state-fairs-b7fdc664e02ff06308134527f79b16f3]Invasive insect spotted in 4-H entry at Kansas State Fair[/url][quote]HUTCHINSTON, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State Fair officials judging the 4-H entomology entries last week discovered an invasive insect that prompted quarantines elsewhere.

Fair Board member Gregg Hadley the student who caught the bug didn't know it had prompted quarantines in at least 45 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to try to stop its spread.

Hadley, who is Director for Extension at Kansas State's Research and Extension said it's not clear how the invasive bug make it to Kansas but it may have hitched a ride on a camper.

The insect that was first found in Pennsylvania about 10 years ago feeds on some 70 different plant species and can cause plants to die by depositing excretions on them that can grow mold and block photosynthesis.

One of the fair's entomology judges was familiar with the insect and a requirement that it be reported to the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Federal officials are expected to try and learn how the insect reached Kansas.[/quote]Yes, especially since the furthest west this pest had previously been found in the US was in eastern Indiana. Its sudden appearance 850 miles further west has probably thrown some USDA entomologists into the early stages of cardiac arrest.

Other stories about this find say the specimen's condition indicates it may have died last year where it was found. Let's hope it was a lone hitchhiker...

The Spotted Lanternfly [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/1016519][i]Lycorma delicatula[/i][/url] is a large plant hopper. It sucks the juices out of plants, weakening them. Its secretions are sugary, and support sooty mildew. Although its "preferred" host is the "tree-of-heaven" [i]Ailanthus altissima[/i], an introduced invasive tree species, it attacks many species of plant, including such commercially valuable ones as grape, hop, apple, stone fruit, maple, poplar, walnut, and willow. The insects may not kill the host plants, but they can ruin their economic value.

Besides individuals "hitchhiking" on vehicles, the insect can be spread through infested nursery stock, and also by transportation of egg masses, which can be attached to vehicles, as well as pavers, boards, and many other items that can be transported. The egg masses are usually laid on flat surfaces and are around 1" by 3/4" (2.54 cm x 1.9 cm). They look like smears or splotches of gray mud.

 LaurV 2021-09-16 03:57

Your links shows a "page not found". Maybe it was retracted, or you deleted too much from the "random" tracking numbers there? :razz:

 axn 2021-09-16 07:02

[QUOTE=LaurV;587954]Your links shows a "page not found". Maybe it was retracted, or you deleted too much from the "random" tracking numbers there? :razz:[/QUOTE]

Removed the excess / from the link.

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-09-16 11:44

[QUOTE=axn;587958]Removed the excess / from the link.[/QUOTE]Thanks!

Wow, I really outdid myself - I have no idea how I managed to insert an extra / into the link! Must have been after the copy-paste. The degree of my Black Belt in making typos just went up.

But dagnabbit, my SOP is to check the links in Preview before posting. I know I checked the link to the bugguide page. But I must have neglected to check the link to the news story, otherwise I would have caught the error myself.

:censored: :censored: :censored:

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-09-26 15:12

It's been a sparse year for butterflies where I live. On the bright side, there have been plenty of Monarch butterflies, perhaps in part due to my plantings of the caterpillar host plants Common Milkweed ([i]Asclepias syriaca[/i]) and Butterfly Weed ([i]Asclepias tuberosa[/i]), as well as flowers on which the adults nectar.

Also, in an April trip to a forest preserve area, I saw a butterfly that I'm pretty sure was a [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/3101]Zebra Swallowtail[/url] ([i]Eurytides marcellus[/i]). It was too far away for a positive ID, but the large size and generally grayish appearance ruled out any other suspects I cold find. I hadn't seen one of those since I was in Tennessee.

April also brought the [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/5509]Eastern Comma[/url] ([i]Polygonal comma[/i]) in somewhat larger numbers than I remember seeing in previous years.

In addition, early this summer I saw a [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/2648]Spicebush Swallowtail[/url] ([i]Papilio troilus[/i] AKA [i]Pterourus troilus[/i]) for the first time since I was a kid.

And in early August, I saw, for the first time ever, a [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/429]Silvery Checkerspot[/url] ([i]Chlosyne nycteis[/i]).

The [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/491]Eastern Tiger Swallowtail[/url] ([i]Papilio glaucus[/i]) made a respectable showing, though in noticeably smaller than usual numbers.

However, most of the normally common butterflies were either sparse or missing in action. I saw just one [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/2649]Painted Lady[/url] ([i]Vanessa cardui[/i]) in April, and just one more near the end of August. They are normally very common, and usually show up in hordes on late-blooming flowers. It is a migratory species which does not overwinter where I live. They migrate south when the cool weather moves in, and their progeny come north when the warmer weather returns. My theory is that during this past February's Arctic Invasion, winter caught up with the population that would normally produce this year's visitors to my area. There were also very few of its cousin the [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/448/bgimage]Red Admiral[/url] ([i]Vanessa atalanta[/i]). I did not see even one specimen of the [url=https://bugguide.net/node/view/516] Common Buckeye[/url] ([i]Junonia coenia[/i]), which is normally quite common around here. I suspect that winter caught up with their southern populations, too.

The large swallowtails other than the Tiger Swallowtail were a much rarer sight this year than other years.

 greenskull 2021-10-08 11:16

1 Attachment(s)
Do you know that honey bee has 5 eyes? And not only the bee.

[ATTACH]25885[/ATTACH]

There are two large compound and three simple eyes on the head.
The very first protobee found in Burmese amber is about 70 million years old.
And the number of these beautiful insects is rapidly declining.

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-10-08 11:57

More about bee eyes at many web sites, e.g. [url=https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/why-do-bees-have-5-eyes.html]Why Do Bees Have 5 Eyes?[/url]

The simple eyes ("ocelli," "little eyes") help bees navigate WRT the position of the sun in the sky.

As indicated in the last post, many other insects also have ocelli. (So do many other arthropods. Spiders in particular have 3 or more pairs of simple eyes, but no compound eyes.)

Bees don't see red very well, but unlike us, they [i]can[/i] see ultraviolet. Some flowers have "nectar guides" we can't see but bees can.

It's not just European honeybees that are declining here in the US. Their decline is very noticeable because they are raised commercially and used to pollinate commercially raised crops. Ironically, one factor working against them is the fact that honeybees used commercially as pollinators are trucked around, which puts a great deal of stress on the insects, making them less able to deal with other stresses like parasitic mites.

Native bees are also declining. Habitat loss and pesticides are among the factors driving the decline.

 greenskull 2021-10-08 12:12

2 Attachment(s)
Yes, I know a little about it.

I noticed for a long time that some of my flowers, which at first glance look dark purple or even maroon in bright white hallogenic light, start to glow with a bright violet color.
I guess insects see this part of the spectrum better, which is why flowers flirt with them like that.

[ATTACH]25886[/ATTACH] [ATTACH]25887[/ATTACH]

 xilman 2021-10-08 13:28

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;589869]Bees don't see red very well, but unlike us, they [i]can[/i] see ultraviolet. Some flowers have "nectar guides" we can't see but bees can.[/QUOTE]Who is this "we" Kemosabe?

A fair fraction of people can see a little way into the uv, far enough to see the uv-coloured tips on daisy petals for instance. To me they are far from obvious but visible under careful examination when they appear as a very faint lavender-grey colour.

 greenskull 2021-10-08 14:43

[QUOTE=xilman;589880]Who is this "we" Kemosabe?

A fair fraction of people can see a little way into the uv, far enough to see the uv-coloured tips on daisy petals for instance. To me they are far from obvious but visible under careful examination when they appear as a very faint lavender-grey colour.[/QUOTE]

Hello! :)

Try this color perception test and put here your results.
[url]https://www.xrite.com/hue-test[/url]

Of course, those with a good monitor are likely to get a higher score :)
I have a link to Farnsworth Munsell 100 Hue Test somewhere, but can't find it right now.

That is it:
[url]https://www.color-blindness.com/farnsworth-munsell-100-hue-color-vision-test/[/url]

 Dr Sardonicus 2021-10-08 15:22

[QUOTE=xilman;589880]Who is this "we" Kemosabe?

A fair fraction of people can see a little way into the uv, far enough to see the uv-coloured tips on daisy petals for instance. To me they are far from obvious but visible under careful examination when they appear as a very faint lavender-grey colour.[/QUOTE]I did not know that! Lucky for me, I'm not too old to learn.

Botanists use the term "rays" for what the rest of us call "petals" on composite flowers like daisies. The actual flowers are in the "eye" or "button" in the center.

Some of the composites I grow attract fairly large numbers of small bees I haven't identified for sure, but which I think may be colletid bees. They're not sweat bees. They are fairly drab, black and light gray, but gather a large amount of bright yellow pollen in their leg "baskets" which makes them quite conspicuous. They go straight to the true flowers.

Carpenter bees on my volunteer petunias do something I find interesting. They are large bees, about the size of bumblebees. (They somewhat resemble bumblebees, but their abdomens are all black and somewhat shiny, whereas bumblebees have "fur" on their abdomens.)

The flowers are "trumpet shaped" with a narrow throat. No way is a big, fat carpenter bee going to get far enough into a petunia to get its proboscis down the flower's throat to where the nectar is. Instead, it crawls along the [i]outside[/i] of the flower to the bottom of the throat where it meets the green base, and sticks its proboscis in from the outside!

 xilman 2021-10-08 16:58

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;589897]I did not know that! Lucky for me, I'm not too old to learn.

Botanists use the term "rays" for what the rest of us call "petals" on composite flowers like daisies. The actual flowers are in the "eye" or "button" in the center.[/QUOTE]Thank you!

I am also not too old to learn.

 PhilF 2021-10-08 21:19

[QUOTE=xilman;589880]Who is this "we" Kemosabe?

A fair fraction of people can see a little way into the uv, far enough to see the uv-coloured tips on daisy petals for instance. To me they are far from obvious but visible under careful examination when they appear as a very faint lavender-grey colour.[/QUOTE]

I didn't know that either! How can I test my own uv vision?

Safely, of course. :cool:

 PhilF 2021-10-08 21:32

[QUOTE=greenskull;589896]Hello! :)

Try this color perception test and put here your results.
[url]https://www.xrite.com/hue-test[/url]
[/QUOTE]
I scored a 2.

 greenskull 2021-10-08 21:34

[QUOTE=PhilF;589953]I didn't know that either! How can I test my own uv vision?

Safely, of course. :cool:[/QUOTE]

Most people are trichromats. But some part has tetrachromatic vision. I admit that they are the ones who can see a little further than violet.
[url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrachromacy[/url]

[QUOTE=PhilF;589956]I scored a 2.[/QUOTE]
Pay attention to which part of the spectrum is the error.

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