08 de marzo de 2022

Bee House Hosts Unusual Florida-endemic Mason Wasps: Euodynerus apopkensis

My bee house, up since 2017* hosts Euodynerus apopkensis, mason wasps that are "quite uncommon" and endemic (only found in) to Florida! This brood emerged around February 24, 2022. There were at least 50 wasps buzzing around the house that day. Lots of mating was happening--some of the couples fell to the ground from the house. It's settled down now a bit. There's still a lot of activity with the females gathering small caterpillars to provision their nests. They've been mining sand from the neighbor's (Joy) shell pile and using it to the build the cells. Many of the cell caps are bright white with fossil shell sand.

The person who figured this out is Matthias Buck, the Assistant Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, Alberta. For years, other identifiers and I thought they were Red-marked Pachodynerus Wasps. But Matthias noted the red spot behind the compound eye, which led it to the new ID! Brush-with-Fame Alert: Heather Holm, the author of A Guide for Eastern North America Wasps, weighed in on some of these observations.

SOOOO glad I have a macro lens. It worked great to get identifiable shots of the wasps.

I don't think they have a common name. If I could create one, here are some to consider. Lake Rhonda Mason Wasp? Childress Bee-house Mason Wasp? Excellent Mason Wasp (nod to the common names of moths)?

*I'm not sure how to get these wasps to move out of the house--the house is getting old and I'd hate to have them spread disease or mites to each other.

Publicado el marzo 8, 2022 02:48 TARDE por lizch lizch | 4 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de marzo de 2020

Publix Saves a Giant Katydid

The LaBelle Plaza Publix in Clearwater, Florida, used to be a hotspot for all things katydid. And an undeveloped and unsprayed lot with large oak trees and open swaths of grass created a habitat uncommon in this part of Pinellas County, Florida . The bright white lights under the portico attracted conehead, anglewing-type and giant katydids. But that was about to change

In January, the owners of the lot began clearing to make way for a condominium development Old live oaks and grass fell under land-clearing machines. . Shortly after the clearing and during an early morning store run, I noticed a Giant Katydid way up on the ceiling of the portico. I think they make great pets so I wanted him. But he was 20 feet above my head.

I asked for a manager inside the store so see if they could help me get him. I figured they'd probably tell me no. But Jeff was a great sport and decided to help me. He got a long pole used for fetching lost balloons. He then taped a feather duster to the end. Jeff lifted the pole and gently perched the insect on the feather duster. When he brought it down, I was able to guide the katydid into a container.

The katydid's emerald green wing covers were badly damaged, presumably from his escape. He seemed fine other than that.

He started eating meals of romaine lettuce. And in spite of his wing injuries, I hear occasional the occasional song--an explosive ZEEEEET! His name is General Grievous, after the Star Wars character.

Publicado el marzo 28, 2020 11:13 TARDE por lizch lizch | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

Mediterranean or Woo's Katydid ?

Discovered that the Mediterranean katydid katydids (Phaneroptera nana) that I found in the summer and fall of 2019 in my Lakeland patch might be a new subspecies or perhaps even a new species, Woo's katydids (Phaneroptera nr. nana). Brandon Woo, who is studying these insects) even included a few of my INat observations in the Singing Insects of North America (SINA). My thumb, visible as I held one of them for a picture, is now famous. SINA lists Woo's katydids separately from Mediterranean katydids.

I collected three nymphs from the site in December. They've since morphed into adults--two females and a male. The male sings at night when the lights are off. He makes a faint chip that I initially thought was the Giant Katydids feet clicking against the screen. I need to send my videos with the songs to Brandon.

I collected two green and one brown nymph. All three are now green adults.

Publicado el marzo 28, 2020 03:39 TARDE por lizch lizch | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

10 de diciembre de 2019

Bush katydid pets

I had two female bush-type katydids over the summer of 2019. Curious and deliberate, they enjoyed slowly walking out of their enclosure, having a groom, and exploring. They liked to eat tree buds as well as their usual Romaine lettuce. If they were hungry, they‘d nibble on my skin. Didn’t hurt, but surprised me at first.

I had to be careful to keep the top on the enclosure secure or they found a way to worm out of it. They could and would fly. But they weren’t really flighty, like other Phaneropterans. Um, there’s nothing like having a Giant Katydid decide your face was a great place to fly.

On Dec. 9, I found three potentially bush-type katydid nymphs. They are probably Mediterranean Katydids (Phaneroptera nana). Wonder if my summer ladies were the same species. Waiting to find out.

I also have a Giant Katydid and a Florida Oblong-Winged Katydid. Rescued the Giant from Publix. Found the FOWK in Lakeland as a tiny nymph. FOWK sings all the time--enjoying his jaunty raspy rhythm now. Publix sings occasionally late at night--a rather explosive and loud ZEET! Glad my son isn't home. He expressed a little good-humored annoyance at the summer cacophony of greater meadow and conehead katydids.

Publicado el diciembre 10, 2019 09:52 TARDE por lizch lizch | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

07 de octubre de 2019

Jumping spider hammocks

I discovered how to find certain jumpers to photograph them in their habitat. I know they make web hammocks to rest in. But I didn’t realize how they make them in the wild and what they looked like. Yesterday, I saw a two flower heads bound together by a small thick web. Upon further inspection, I saw some stout Iegs—spider? When I took a closer look, the legs disappeared and the web hammock appeared empty.

So what happened? Went back to area a few hours later and saw the legs again. I backed away to watch it. The hammock owner emerged to take a look at me. The black-and-white pattern & blue “fangs” revealed a big male bold jumper. When I moved closer for a better picture, he instantly jumped down to the ground and disappeared. So that’s what happened.

I found a smaller hammock in a sedge seed head that housed a smaller jumper, probably a young bold.

So jumpers are one of the things that would sometimes pop out of those silk structures on plants that I investigated as a child. I hoped to find a lep caterpillar, cocoon or pupa. But I quickly learned the investigation was risky...

Lakeland, FL 20191006

Publicado el octubre 7, 2019 12:57 TARDE por lizch lizch | 2 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario