Monday, May 25, 2015

Bloomin' Dirt Patch

Stokes blue aster

This is the first time my garden has had this many blooming plants at one time since I began planting two years ago - hoorah! Almost all of the plants in the Dirt Patch were started as seeds or cuttings - lots of work and waiting finally paying off. And all with what I contend is some of the worst soil in the world ;)

Echinacea

Sunflower

Dianthus

African iris

Besides these, the marigolds, Hawaiian blue eyes, a peachy-colored black-eyed Susan vine, day lilies, browallia, Mexican petunia, and blue bedder are all blooming as well. Still waiting on those ground orchids...

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hemiptera Nymphs

Broad-headed bug (Alydidae) nymph on blue bedder.

There have been numerous Hemiptera nymphs in the Dirt Patch lately. I hope some of the adults stick around so I can get more photos. Above is a strange one- the nymph of the broad-headed bug is an ant mimic. It's a very good one, too, at first I thought it was a slightly larger than usual carpenter ant; then I got closer and thought...velvet ant? It's still strangely shaped for an ant...then I clearly saw its proboscis (visible in the photo above), and scrambled inside to get the camera. It moves very much like the larger species of ants do, very quick and alert. A few years ago I photographed an adult broad-headed bug on the work vehicle I was using for that day's field assignment (third below).
nymph

Adult broad-headed bug
Leaf-footed bug (Coreidae) nymphs
 Many Hemiptera nymphs congregate when they are newly hatched through one or two instars (molts). Safety in numbers! Though the bright coloration warns of potential indigestion as well.
Leaf-footed bug nymph

An adult leaf-footed bug
Stink bug (Pentatomidae) nymph on Hawaiin blue-eyes
As is the case with most stink bugs, this one is a vegetarian

Stink bug adult
This one is predatory (meatatarian)