Insects


Barely visible Myzocallis asclepiadis aphids in various life-stages

cling to the bottoms of milkweed leaves that I glean to clean

and feed to the season’s last monarch caterpillars.

All summer these underleaf-feeding aphids have been dropping what ecologist Anurag Agrawal calls “honeydew” excrement for ants and maybe others to eat on the leaftops below (a process just beyond the discretion & ability of this camera — so we’ll take his word for it).

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How often, so easily, might we overlook you, leaf-like little planthopper.

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Northern flatid planthoppers are common here on the stems of plants they might eat.

But I could not resist the dramatic image of one on the ground it will someday feed.

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ID Reference (U of DE)

IMG_7068 (2)

Every power of concentration must meet in vision to make out
a tiny gnat ogre (in the family of robber flies) watching for even tinier prey
at a narrow tip of milkweed.

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Called the sulphur pearl in its native Europe and a carrot seed moth in North America,

Sitochroa palealis was first reported in the U.S. in 2002.

But we just met, the two of us, hanging in the grass of national moth week.

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Ceaselessly it seems waves of cicadas sound swells

and breaks upon the heat of day.

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Pictured: Neotibicen tibicen tibicen
(aka morning cicada, swamp cicada)

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Leaving the rose garden by the house, today, bent upon our knees
and close enough to kiss the ground of Little Crum Creek,

we might just listen to the stridulation of abdomen and wings
beneath the armor of a passing “Betsy” beetle–Horned passalus, Odontotaenius disjunctus–

with the urgency of, otherwise faint and muted, unsettling screams…

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