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Monday, August 20, 2012

Assassins in the Lace

The eriogonum giganteum, St. Catherine's lace, started blooming back in June and has lived up to the buckwheat reputation as an insect magnet.

Due to the abundance of insects visiting the blooms for nectar it's a logical and fruitful place for the assassin bugs to take up residence.  These are Zelus renardii, leafhopper assassin.  They are general predators, often seen spearing flies or a small bee with the long piercing mouthpart.  I've actually never seen one of these feeding on a leafhopper, but who am I to question the Common Name Gods?

I noticed this half grown nymph yesterday, next generation of the adult assassins shown above, taking a stroll among the fuzzy white buckwheat leaves.

The flowers are showing signs of beginning to being spent--getting a little rusty around the edges--after two months of glorious bloom.  They make good dried cut flowers, living up to the common name with an appearance strongly reminiscence of fine old handmade lace.

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