Thursday, June 29, 2006

Green Snake

This green snake was well camouflaged and I almost didn't see him.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Assassin Bug

There are nearly 3,000 species of assassin bugs.
This group is characterized by the elongated, narrow head
with the three-segmented beak folded back under the head.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Thread-waisted Wasp ( Ammophila)

This is an appropriate name for this wasp.
Thread-waisted wasps are prolific caterpillar hunters.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Argiope aurantia

Argiopes are also called "garden spiders" and sometimes "writing" spider for the zigzag web. It is the only spider that makes a zigzag line or a cross of zigzag white web material in its web.
I found this one building his web on an azalea. The body was about 3/8" long from head to tail.

A small insect provides a meal.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Leaf Beetle

This little guy was less than 3/8 inches long and was identified as a Colaspis leaf beetle by the folks at

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Large Milkweed Bug

Milkweed bugs have few predators because they concentrate in their bodies bad tasting compounds found in the sap of milkweed plants. The bugs use "apostematic coloration" to advertise their bad taste.

Aposematic Coloration - In biology, the technical name for warning coloration markings that make a dangerous, poisonous, or foul-tasting animal particularly conspicuous and recognizable to a predator.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Dew Drops

Dew drops on the tiny needles of a bald cypress in the early morning.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Fragile Symbols of our Complex Natural World

With their acute sensitivity to pesticides and toxins, their presence, diversity and relative abundance indicate the overall well-being of our ecosystems.

Their message is simple: A healthy community usually has a large number and wide array of butterfly species; a contaminated or altered community doesn't.

"We must remember, that for all the enjoyment we get from these beautiful creatures, we give them little. And, ultimately, we hold their future in our hands..." The same holds true for all creatures -- large and small -- with which we share the planet's air, water, and land."
Robert Michael Pyle
Nature Writer

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The word for today is ...

Proboscis - a long straw like structure on the head of a butterfly which they use to drink nectar and juices. When not in use, the proboscis remains coiled like a garden hose.
I remember this word from the
Cootie game that I played as a child.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What is it?

I was not familiar with this insect so I sent the image to which is hosted by Iowa State University Entomology. Within an hour I received an email answer back that it was a Mydas Clavatus fly which is one of the largest flies in the U.S.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I see you ....
Mr. Stink Bug

Stink bugs are named for the pungent odor they emit. They are distinguished from other bugs by the large triangular scutellum (a triangular piece between the folded wings).

Monday, June 12, 2006

Silver-spotted Skipper

One of the larger skippers, the silver-spotted skipper is easily identified by the large white (not silver) spot on the underside of each hindwing.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

American Painted Lady

The two eyespots on the hind wing distinguish the American Painted Lady from the standard Painted Lady which has four small eyespots.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Look up in the sky ....

It's a bird .... It's a plane ...

It's a ... Black saddlebags dragonfly
Black color in the rear wings near the body give the effect of "saddlebags".

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Beat of a Different Drummer

A strange "rat-a-tat-tat" sound emanating from the fireplace this morning turned out to be a woodpecker on top of the chimney.

Woodpeckers use these short one-second bursts of noise to announce their territory or attract a mate. Play the video below to hear the sound of the new drummer in the neighborhood.

Hard at Work

Update: I found out that this is not a bee or a wasp but is a hoverfly. Hoverflies are excellent examples of Batesian mimicry (named after H. W. Bates who first described it in 1862). They generally mimic bees and wasps – insects that sting and also taste unpleasant, so are avoided by predators.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Southern Cloudywing

Southern Cloudywing
another member of the skipper family

"Fantasy" Crepe Myrtle

The first blooms are appearing on our white "Fantasy" Crepe Myrtle. This crepe myrtle was planted 4 years ago and bloomed for the first time last year. It looks like it will have even more blooms this year.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Red-banded Hairstreak

A Red-banded Hairstreak visiting the pink Penta blossoms.

Hairstreaks are characterized by the tiny hairlike tails on their hind wings. They move their hind wings up and down which draws attention to the hairs projecting at the back(watch video below). This serves the purpose of fooling predators into attacking the back of the butterfly instead of its head.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Battered Buckeye

This Buckeye butterfly has tattered wings and some of the right hind wing is missing. Butterflies are fragile and almost defenseless creatures. Their predators include birds, spiders, reptiles, other insects (e.g. wasps, flies and mites) and small mammals.

Good Morning Mr. Toad

A Southern Toad in the early morning.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Brown Wasp

A brown wasp on a Purple Coneflower.

Peace Lily

The peace lily tolerates the low light and dry conditions found in most homes, it actually makes the indoors healthier! When NASA did a study on 'sick building' syndrome, peace lilies were rated among the top ten air cleaning plants for interiors.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Fiery Skipper

Fiery Skipper
Skippers are characterized (as their name suggests) by their rapid, darting flight.

Japanese Beetles

The Japanese beetles have made their annual visit to the crepe myrtles and wax myrtles. They arrive after Memorial Day and are usually gone by the Fourth of July. A couple sprayings of liquid Sevin keeps them under control.