Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19, 2009

Finally saw a couple of water striders in a downtown creek. I also saw ground-nesting bees swarming at a colony along the creek bank. I'll go back tomorrow with my camera. Forsythias are also blooming around town, although I didn't check them for insects.

I haven't looked for insects for a couple of days even though it's been really warm (70s). I have a fast-approaching April 1st deadline for text passages for a butterfly and moth field guide. I'm also providing the photographs for the book which will be published by the Missouri Department of Conservation sometime in 2011.

Friday, March 06, 2009

March 6, 2009

First insect bite of the year – minute pirate bug (Orius sp. Anthocoridae). Although it doesn't hurt that much when they bite, they have a pretty painful bite considering their small size. I guess that makes sense, true bugs don't often bite, but when they do – it hurts. At least with these, I wasn't wondering whether people could actually die from just pain, like when the Black Corsair bit me on April 2, 2007.

Two new 2009 butterflies – Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) and Goatweed Leafwing (Anaea andria). I've had bait on several trees in the yard yesterday and today. Getting mostly tons of flies. I should have made a videotape of them, but I'm not accustomed to that feature on my new camera, yet. There were so many of them on the tree trunk, that as I stepped closer and they all flew off, their wings made a fairly loud roar. Pretty cool!

I spent most of my time photographing these tiny flies about 2-3mm long. They would walk on the tree trunk with their wings lifted straight up and vibrating. Twice I saw two of them fight. Once, one appeared to chase after one of the larger flies. After reviewing my photos and deciding I had a good image, I decided to collect one to key it out, but by then it was getting late and I couldn't find one. Maybe tomorrow. As of right now, I have them tentatively identified as black scavenger flies (Sepsidae). The larvae live in decaying material – maybe like what's in our compost bin. The adults were at the bait.

Put on the deck light to see what was attracted. A few moths and lacewings. Highlight of the night – an Ophion Ichneumonid wasp.

A couple of moths that are unidentified are sitting in the refrigerator right now, but they were collected at bait, not the light.

March 5, 2009

First Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis ) of 2009 – seen at bait in our yard. First Missouri butterfly this year.

Still no water striders in the downtown creeks.