Monday, February 11, 2019

Noshing on New Jersey Tea

The beautiful larva of a Haploa moth munches
on a leaf of New Jersey Tea.
McDowell Creek, Upland Prairie
May 18, 2018
The drought year of 2018 was a great year for New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) in upland prairie.  It blooms early (these photos are from May 6-16, 2018) so it had set seed by the time the dry spell really hit.  Besides, shrubs seemed to do well this year:  The shrub islands expanded during this drought, whereas in most drought years they contract. 

A friend of mine who is doing research on this species asked me to keep an eye out for the invertebrates that visited it.          

Here are a few that I happened to notice:   

A crab spider hopes to dine on a diner.
Some beautiful fungi showed up amid the flowers.

The fungi were orange and hot pink/

These are Scriptured Leaf Beetles
genus Pachybrachis.  
What pretty markings!

This handsome guy was enjoying a leaf
of New Jersey Tea.   Bugguide. net 
identified him as Oncerometopus nigriclavus 
in the family Miridae (Plant Bugs)

But by far the most noticeable were the
tiny black Dermestid beetles 
everywhere on the flowers of New Jersey Tea. 
Dermestids are carrion-eaters, but some of
the smaller species feed on nectar and
pollen, which is what these little guys
were doing.  
Note the paddle on the
end of the antenna. Dermestid beetle.
Family Cryptorhopalum.

A "Bush Katydid" nymph on New Jersey Tea.

"Bush Katydid"
Impressive antennae!
Genus Scudderia