Monday, August 11, 2008

A walk among the gardens of the Tweed Heritage Center and along "the Trail" ...

Most molluscs are found in the water but some species, such as this colorful land snail (Cepaea sp.) and the common garden slug, are terrestrial.

This Pennsylvania Leatherwing (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus) has a hitchhiker, a parasitic mite.

Potter Wasp (Eumenes fraternus)

Sand Wasp (genus Bicyrtes, or Bembix ???) ... awesome translucent green eyes on these insects

Honeybee (Apis mellifera)

The insect above is NOT a bee ... many species of of flies, such as this Drone Fly (Eristalis sp.), mimic bees as a defense against predation. Compare the hoverfly's physical attributes to the bees and wasps above, and the common Greenbottle Fly (Lucilia sericata) below. Flies (order Diptera) only have two wings, members of the order Hymenoptera such as ants, bees, wasps have four.

Death lurks among the flowers; Ambush Bugs (Phymata pennsylvanica) await the unwary. These bugs (order Hemiptera ... true bugs) blend in with a wide variety of blossoms.

Flower Spiders (a.k.a. Crab Spider ... Misumena sp.) can change their coloration to match their background. Their venom is specifically potent to bees and flies. These spiders have good vision for movemant and this specimen was clearly aware of my presence.

Like most spiders the Long Jawed Orb Weaver (Tetragnatha sp.) snares its prey with a web.

The Halloween Pennant (Celithemis eponina) takes a more proactive approach and hunts its dinner. This species of dragonfly is a relatively weak flier.