Sunday afternoon was a great one for bug watching. Two warbling vireos, a couple of Wilson's Warblers, and some other feathery insectivores thought so too, though they gulped after watching. Besides the swarm of bees floating about, there were: *) leaf-cutter bee holes in my serviceberry *) a big caterpillar, about 2" long, hiding under old leaves below a much-eaten indian plum. It's not a pearly underwing, aka variegated cutworm, but could be a relative since it was half curled up. Tan all over, darker between segments, black head, black top to the second segment, and black hind end tip. I dithered for awhile between putting him in a bowl for the birds and putting him back. I put him back; who need indian plum, anyway? *) a little caterpillar in the mock orange. This one takes two leaves near the stem tip and spins them together, clasped, and nibbles on the newer leaves and/or flower buds as they grow out inside of the pouch. The ones I found were skinny, about 1/2 inch long, black head and top of second segment, otherwise translucent greenish. I found nearly a dozen well scattered throughout one of the two mock oranges. *) a four-wing 'mosquito'. This is a corpse I found on a sedge stem that I brought in to look at the flowers (this is why I've still never learned how to ID plants--every time I try to look at one under the scope, I find BUGS!) It's somewhat smaller than a real mosquito, but overall, it looks very much like one. powerful thorax, long skinny abdomen (what I could see of it, it's dehydrated). Bulging compound eyes. But there are differences--most noticeably, four wings, and the antennae is very long--nearly as long as the body length. The wings are membranous, rounded tips, simple veining, different size front and back; not sure which is which, but I presume the smaller is the hindwing. It seems to be piercing/sucking mouthparts. Any ideas? *) On the behavior front, yellowjackets definitely eat tent caterpillars. One of the tents that's out of my destructive reach has been fun to watch. Today a yellowjacket found them. First it hung around the old egg mass; it looked like it might be dragging out unhatched ones, but it was the wrong angle for a good view. Next time I looked, it had carved up a big 'pillar and rolled a nice steak up into a ball for the kiddies. Better yet, a probable tachinid fly watched the whole process, probably totally disgusted at the waste of a perfectly good larval host. *) two male small brilliant metallic emerald green flies fighting over the much bigger female. The intensity of the color was just amazing. *) a syrphid fly taking a nap (sunning to stay warm?) in a partly curled up elder leaf Anyone else have fun? -- Allyn Weaks email@example.com Seattle, WA Sunset zone 5 Pacific NW Native Wildlife Gardening: http://www.tardigrade.org/natives/ "The benefit of even limited monopolies is too doubtful, to be opposed to that of their general suppression." Thomas Jefferson
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