Amos and I discovered an Eastern Cicada Killer (Sphecius speciosus) female attempting to carry away her prey this weekend outside of my apartment in Savannah, GA. Cicada Killers are solitary wasp parasitoids that sting prey, paralyzing it, and drag it to pre-made burrows, where they will lay an egg on the incapacitated prey item for their larvae’s consumption. This seems absolutely terrifying, especially given that this wasp is a couple of inches long…
The wasp seemed to have taken a cicada that was a bit too large for it; it was struggling to carry it off, and eventually left the paralyzed cicada, possibly because of the dual harassment from my photographing and Amos’s barking.
Some photos I took after leaving Holden Arboretum of a branch of the Scenic Shagrin River.
Beached Stratiomyid larvae
This bedrock benthos is typical of streams near my parents house, in Western NY.
On morning, I arrived early to Holden Arboretum and notices bees on nearly all of the plants surrounding the entrance to the Science Research Center. They were damp from condensation, and motionless from the cold, but attempting to warm themselves in the morning sun.
I’ve accumulated a few photographs of caterpillars and pupa in my ‘to publish’ folder for Montegraphia, so I’m putting them up now. They’re not the greatest works, but they were all cool finds in the field. The pupa was attached to the wall of the field station in San Ramon – there are most likely several photos floating around the Internet of this pupa given that it was pointed out to the course while at the station last winter.
The green caterpillar was one of a few on the hiking path in Zaleski State Forest. It was peculiar the number of caterpillars we encountered, presumably searching for a good, safe place to pupate.
The yellow caterpillar was common in Palo Verde this summer, and would inevitably be crawling down my shirt after walking through some brush. The yellow hairs cause a rash, as shown on Mahmood’s arm, and were quite bothersome when combined with the heat, humidity and mosquitoes….
Perhaps I’ll be able to speculate on identifications after I’ve taught that section in Entomology this semester…
|The flies that are commonly seen on Echinodorus flowers are attracted to white objects and, perhaps, vegetation that’s been stirred up (well, the Syrphids certainly are – their increased abundance makes their buzz is loud in area’s I had recently walked through and disturbed within the wetland). Consequently, the flies are attracted to various white objects I’m carrying, and, occasionally one gets knocked down or otherwise temporarily incapacitated. The brief incapacitation resulted in two predation events picture here, both within less than 5 minutes.
A group of ants and a large, surface dwelling spider prey upon flies.
A cluster of eggs bakes on the surface of a lily leaf.
These tiny hempiterans are common in the wetland at Palo Verde. There hind tarsi have expanded, feather-life, paddles that they use to provide enough surface area to jump from predators, such as myself, while on the water’s surface. I don’t know what family they are, but I’ll collect some and see if I can force the Entomology class to key them… adults are hard to find though.
In other hemipteran news, after returning from about five hours in the wetland, I wiped away something on the back of my neck, and it was a kissing bug! It was filled with blood and unable to fly – it attempted to spread it’s wings and flutter away from the ground, but the thick, blood-filled abdomen appeared to be too heavy for lift off. I squashed it angrily; I hope there was no chagas.