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Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day May Day

For lack of anything better to do today, I took a survey of bugs parading around my yard in the afternoon sun. Most of them seemed nice enough, and a few carried tiny little signs saying things like, "I pollinate your flowers, parasitize your pests, decompose your spent blossoms, and now you want me to clear out of your garden just as the weather is starting to get nice?" Well, some of these aren't actually so helpful around the garden, but each of them has a job in the big ecological scheme of things so I'll let them stick around. Darned magnanamous of me I'd say.

This first one is a plume moth, family Pterophoridae. There are 150 some odd described species of this family in north america, so it would be feeble for me to say I know the species. Could very well be Amblyptilia pica, geranium plume moth, or closely related to that. The larvae cause the tunneling you see in geranium leaves; and also feed on other plants like snapdragons and of all things, Indian paintbrush.

Here's a vinegar fly, Drosophila me
lanogaster. This is the so-called fruit fly of laboratory experiments involving genetics. These flies have an uncanny nose for rotting fruit and seem to appear from nowhere the minute your peach begins to turn. This one, I dunno, maybe has an eye on a squishy solanum fruit left over from last summer.

This is a nicely marked corner spider,
Hololena curta. I love it when a descriptive phrase in a guide book (Hogue)--"each web is equipped with a funnel-
like retreat running into a nearby crevice"--fits reality so neatly.

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