Monday, September 24, 2012

Young Eyes II

Dragonfly Larva- Click to enlarge
Young eyes find a lot more critters than mine do.  Leave Lindsay alone with a net and a bucket on the creek and you quickly have a plethora of creatures.  The bucket contains an assortment of minnows whose identity will remain unknown  The star of the show is a dragonfly larva complete with the lateral bugeyes.  On close inspection you can make out the wing buds awaiting development after the next molt.

A late season mayfly cruising along the creek stops to rest and proves to be a willing photographic subject.  Its delicate wings and body seems too fragile to hold, but seasoned entomologists like Kevin and Lindsay hold one until it flies away, none the worse for wear.  This one was as entranced with her as she was with it.

Young eyes find things at every turn.  A dragonfly clinging to a blade of grass has escaped my notice, and she has to keep pointing until I finally see it.  Some species seem to cling longer to upright stems while others prefer horizontal branches.  This one lets me get close for pictures to send off to our odonatologist friends.  Every naturalist should have an odonatologist friend.  If you don't have one, at least memorize the spelling of the word for Scrabble.

Tana Pulles responded to the picture:
"Female Eastern Pondhawk most likely - however young males will look like females and as they mature they change to blue in color starting from the end of the abdomen moving forwards."
Tent Caterpillar egg cases
Even the trees and leaves reveal their secrets to Lindsay.  She points out egg cases on twigs, patiently waiting for me to find them.  They are on a wild plum, one of the Prunus species which will be hosting Eastern Tent Caterpillars next spring.  I had only seen these as the gray dried cases after the caterpillars emerge.

Before they leave, Kevin and his shorter sidekick gift me with some caterpillars to raise.  They were feeding on sycamore and I haven't had time to try and identify them.  Because I was going to be gone for a while I had to release them.  The two green cats were gently placed on young juicy sycamores.  I think the red one was a final instar and since it kept wandering off the leaf into the bottom of the aquarium, I left it to hopefully form a cocoon.  With any luck I will see it emerge and identify the adult.  If I don't, I know that Kevin and his young eyed companion will.

1 comment:

  1. Bob, I'm guessing your dragonfly larva is Boyeria vinosa.