Search This Blog

Friday, December 23, 2005

First Annual Winter Solstice Bug Count

Here are the eagerly anticipated results of this year's Bug Count. As the sun's apparent arc hung for a moment in the southern sky this week, the following species were present and accounted for on a small piece of Tustin, CA:

*Shed exoskeleton, possibly of
Hololena curta which hangs out in shrubbery and is about this size. OK, not exactly a siting but I like the photo of it festooned on the poinsettia leaves.
*Green lynx,
Peucetia viridans spiderlings (many) and adult females (2). These two females still at their nest sites are very shy now, seeking shelter among the web-bound foliage at the slightest poke of a lens.
*Orb weaver spiderling,
Neoscona oxacensis (1)
*Cobweb spider,
Pholcus phalangioides (numerous)
*Unidentified spiderling looking like a crab spider (1)
*Predatory mite, species unknown (2). Also the mites these were preying on, although I did not actually see those because they're too small to see.
*Trash web spider,
Cyclosa turbinada (10) These shy spiders are much more numerous now, maybe because of reduced competition as the dominant summer spiders die off.


Apis mellifera (numerous)
*A green leafhopper, probably Macrosteles fascifrons
(untold thousands)
*Rose aphid, Macrosiphum rosae
(1) Yep, actually saw just the one on a nice winter bloom. Did not look too hard, what I don't know can't hurt me.
*Green peach aphids, Myzus persicae
(bunches) sucking the life outta my daylilies
*Green lacewing, Chrysoperla oculata
*A small ground beetle, could be Calathus ruficollis
*European earwig, Forficula auricularia
*Alfalfa looper moth, Autographa californica
*Cutworm, maybe Agrostis ipsilon (1)
An unidentified bug malingering on flowers at night (5)

*Katydid nymph, Scudderia furcata (5)
*Tachinid fly, species unk. (1)
*Greybird grasshopper nymph, Schistocerca nitens
(1) This poor little guy has been moping around the same spot for awhile, sluggishly hoping for an intra-body cavity infusion of warmth, I think.
*Black scale, Saissetia olea (several colonies) Note to self: Must spray dormant oil

*Argentine ant, Iridomyrmex humulis (too many) Dutifully tending the scale, and the

*Keelbacked treehopper nymphs, Antianthe expansa
(oh, maybe 35 or 40 of 'em)
*Assassin bug nymph, Zelus
sp. (just one solitary bug eatin' baby)
*Convergent Lady Beetle, Hippodamia convergens
(1) Though I've seen them emerging as adults in a steady trickle the past couple weeks.
*Picture wing fly, Trupanea nigricornis
(1) Just to prove my recent reports of their demise were greatly exagerated, one shows up on the tagetes lucida. Is this a late lingerer or an early emerging new adult?
*Very cute unidentified fly with golden head and shiny black thorax (a couple of them) Maybe these are the dates for these guys.

*and a partridge in a pear tree

No actually that is a Fuller's rose beetle, Asynonychus godmani in a tangle of holiday light wires and rose cane. I was surprised to see this one in the waning light of a midwinter's day since they are nocturnal, and I've never seen them in this garden before. I can look forward to stalking them on warm summer nights, half a year from now.

1 comment:

cheesemeister said...

I used to own fiddler crabs and I watched one of them shed its old shell once. It was fascinating. Its new shell takes about 20 minutes to harden and in the wild, it would be in a very vulnerable state.
I didn't realize that spiders also shed their exoskeletons. Not sure why, but that just never occured to me!