Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Time-Out Tuesday

Today was a nice day off.  I didn't do much aside from walking the dog and taking a nap with the cat.  All is right with the world.  I took a little stroll around the yard with my camera as well.  The flowers have not changed much, but one of the buds on the Aloe did finally spring open.  The flowers are a lot like the Coral Honeysuckle.

The Lantana is still blooming and is as pretty as ever.  There is so much of it!  There is a lovely yellow pocket in my yard.  I would like to know where the butterflies are though.  I don't know how they could be passing up all of the foliage in my yard.  It must just be poor timing on my part.

Just when I thought that the Coral Honeysuckle couldn't possibly produce any more blooms, it makes more.  It has overgrown its trellis, but there are so many flowers on it that I couldn't possibly trim it back now.  I will just have to wait until its done blooming, but I don't see that happening any time soon.  I really like the little green nubs that the flowers come out of.  They look silly before the flowers emerge.

I wasn't satisfied with just the same flowers that you have already seen.  I went walking around the yard for a little while to find something new and interesting.  Between smacking the mosquitoes and deer flies that wouldn't leave me alone, I stumbled upon this odd combination.  A blade of grass must have grown up through a leaf.  The grass leaf was curled through the oak leaf.  Can't you just imagine this process happening in the slow motion of real life?

While I was examining the leaf that was stabbed by the grass, I saw a little fuzz on another leaf of that grass.  I didn't think it was anything more than a fuzz until I looked a little closer at it.  It was an insect!  I had never seen anything like it aside from a few caterpillers.  This little guy had defined legs though, it was no caterpillar.  I photographed it using the macro lens and was finally able to get a good look at it once it was on the computer screen.  It is a Planthopper Nymph.  When it grows up, it won't be much bigger than it is right now, but it will be a splotchy brown color and it will loose its fuzz.  It was true to its name.  I didn't get to take many photos of it because it suddenly disappeared.  It hopped away.  I never would have seen it if it wasn't for that wacky leaf.

Thought of the Day #37
There are millions of species of insects that share the planet with us.  Its impossible to know them all, and it can be challenging to identify insects sometimes.  Their different stages of growth add another degree of difficulty especially with insects that undergo complete metamorphosis and their appearance changes drastically throughout their life cycle.  Learning the different orders of insects can make pinning down an identification a little easier.  Within the classification of insects, there are around 30 groups, called orders that are defined by some of the insects characteristics.  A nice break down with photos can be found here at Bug Guide.  Some of the Orders that are most common and you may already be familiar with are Coleoptera, which are Beetles, Lepidoptera, which includes butterflies and moths, Hymenoptera are bees and wasps, and possibly, my least favorite are Diptera which are flies and mosquitoes.  The latin names describe some of the insects characteristics.  The "tera" on the end of the word refers to their wings.  Beetles have sheathed wings, butterflies have scaled wings, flies have two wings, etc.


Linda said...

Great photos, Amy! Beautiful flowers and a nifty little bug. You have such a good eye for nature's interesting little treasures.

Understanding Alice said...

your blog is as interesting as ever, and fabulous photos!

Ranger Amy said...

Thank you both!