Monday, June 21, 2010
Summer Solstice Grabbag of Buggies and Leaves
So the solstice occurred while we were sleeping this year in the wee hours of the morning. I guess they call them that because We are still in bed?
One of the leaf miner flies has attacked the leaves of the lavatera. The fly lays her eggs just inside the leaf tissue, then the maggot eats its serpentine way through the mesophyll leaving interesting patterns in its wake.
A tiger crane fly male, Nephrotoma wulpiana, lounges on the leaf of a forsythia sage, Salvia madrensis. This is cool because both of these creatures (the fly and the sage) are photogenic. When you live for such a short while, as in the case of the fly, it's pretty special to manage to look so good. As for the sage, it is a tough perennial that sprouts 10 foot + long stems every year, and whose deeply textured leaves attract a great variety of insects and spiders.
As in the case of this green lynx spider, Peucetia viridens, that has been growing up among the S. madrensis and lurks here in the apex of the stem and two opposite leaves.
And this spotless ladybird beetle, Cycloneda sanguinea, I'm guessing a female looking for a patch of aphids starting up on the juicy salvia leaf to lay some eggs near.
A tiny grasshopper of destruction basks in a patch of midsummer sun on, you guessed it, a Salvia madrensis leaf. This is a very young Schistocerca nitens nymph, greybird grasshopper.
Finally, a monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, stopped nearby to lay eggs on a milkweed leaf, asclepias curassavica.
The sun crossed the sky in the normal way, the bugs and spiders went about their business, and I had a little time to spare observing the summer scene.