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.