Saturday, October 14, 2006

October 9, 2006

It was sunny and in the upper 70s. Somewhat windy.

I saw around 10 Great Spreadwings (Archilestes grandis in Boone County, today. There were about a dozen water striders (Heteroptera Gerridae) in the creek.

Something unusual happened. I was focusing on one of the damselflies when I thought I felt a bite on my leg. I reached down to brush off whatever it was and glanced down and saw a damselfly on my leg. I guessed that what I thought was a bite must have been the feet grabbing my leg and went back to taking photos. About a half hour later, I saw a damselfly land on my leg. I was watching it when I noticed that it was a female and she was bending her abdomen like she was about to jab her ovipositor into my leg. Great Spreadwings lay their eggs in tree branches overhanging the water. I brushed her off my leg and wondered if the first damselfly had jabbed me with her ovipositor.

Another spreadwing landed on my shirt and I noticed a tiny insect perched on its leg. Unfortunately the damselfly flew off before I got a closer look at what I am assuming must have been some sort of parasitic wasp or fly.

I did a rough count of antlion (Neuroptera Myrmeleontidae) pits in the dusty area by our front door – about 65! I took a few more photos of them and dug one up for better photos. I had mistakenly thought that all antlions dug pits, but read the pages on ant lions in Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity (Stephen A. Marshall 2006) and now know that some are ambush predators but don’t make pits. I’ll need to do more research to find out whether those species still have the weird hunchback shape.

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