Friday, October 30, 2015

Missing, Savoring Blossom Time

Bee on Redbud April 2015
Creek Field Riparian Buffer
Here it is, almost the last day of October, and I am missing spring.  I am missing the blooms & pollinators.   I am wild to learn more, and the growing, buzzing time is the best school.   I learned to identify a few bumble bees and look-alike carpenter bees & false bumble bees this past spring & summer--but still I cannot say right off what genus & species the bee on the redbud on the left belongs to. I can hardly wait for Spring 2016.

Still, these long autumn nights allow me to do what I couldn't do during the outside-all-day-long spring & summer time, and that is linger over my photos from the past season, ponder the information, review, relearn, & doublecheck.
Grapevine Epimenis (Psychomorpha epimenis) on Redbud, April 2015
Creek Field Riparian Buffer
Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge

Psychomorpha epimenis on Redbud, April 2015
 For, example, when I came across the next three photos--they are of a Grapevine Epimenis, aka  Psychomorpha epimenis, nectaring on a redbud--my first thought was "I had forgotten about that butterfly!"  But upon review I remembered that the Grapevine Epimenis is a moth-- brightly colored & gorgeous but still a moth.   And I was able to go to & study photos of P. epimenis larvae:  they are ringed with black & white stripes with orange patches at both ends.  Their host plants are grapevines (surprise, surprise) of which we have many.  In fact, the redbud this moth is nectaring on is just a few feet away from the banks of McDowell Creek--home to large numbers of wild grapes.  Now I know what caterpillars to look for and where to look for them.   I will be ready for next spring!

Grapevine Epimenis on Redbud, April 2015
Creek Field Riparian Buffer
along McDowell Creek
Bird Runner Wildlife Refuge


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Creek Field: Frequent Companions in Late September, Early October, 2015

Green Lace Wing on Goldenrod
Creek Field, 9/29/15
Family Chrysopidae
Order Neuroptera
Walking through the Creek Field is never a lonely experience.

But these days I have clouds of companions, especially right around sunset--fluttery mists of insects rising up around me in response to the disturbance of my steps.       

Prominent among my fellow patrons of the Creek Field are Green Lace Wings.   They disappear into the darkness so quickly it took a flash to get this photo.  

As adults, Green Lace Wings are creatures of dawn, dusk, or nighttime, feeding on nectar, pollen, & occasional small insects.

As larvae, they are carnivorous.   They devour aphids!!!!

I hope they'll come around next year when hordes of aphids attack the beautiful blossoms of Swamp Milkweed!  
Accompanying every step as well is an explosion of "black" 
Snout Moth
Family Crambidae
on truck window by pole barn
October 1, 2015
moths--at least they look black to me in the gathering dusk.  They zig-zag so rapidly & blend back in with the foliage so quickly that it's hard to get a good look.  It wasn't until one landed on my truck window that I was able to take a photo.   

The photo at left showed me that this moth is not black at all but a remarkable combination of brown & tan.   Magnifying the photo showed that, though its colors are subtle, its wings are decorated lavishly with ridges, bumps, & lacy trim.   

And check out that two-part "nose"!!  
Truly an amazing appendage that not every creature can boast!  

Thanks to Eva Zurek, K-State Insect Diagnostician extraordinaire, I learned that this is a Snout Moth of the family Crambidae.  That name should be easy to remember!  

Also thanks to Dr. Zurek for helping me learn about Lace Wings!