Friday, October 31, 2008

The Flying Confetti Garden, Part III

Syrphid flower flies, jet-winged skippers, little bees with full pollen loads, graceful painted ladies, even black and yellow garden spiders.... That's a good start, but there are many more insects hovering around these seemingly magnetic purple blossoms on the asters.

As the butterflies swirl off the flowers and around me, obviously the painted ladies are not the only butterflies that I see. Here is a black swallowtail who came to nectar this fall, showing obvious signs of having lived a long and adventurous life. Notice how worn out his wings are, almost transparent, and how he has lost one of his beautiful swallowtails.

Sometimes I don't see the actual insect that used the asters, just the remnant that shows me it was there. This shed cicada case is a perfect example. Of course, the cicada wasn't drawn to the aster blooms, just to the stems that it could cling to overnight as it made its final metamorphosis from a digging, underground nymph to a clearwinged, flying adult.

Another insect that probably wasn't drawn to the flowers (or at least not to their nectar) is this katydid, perched jauntily on top of the aster. Katydids eat vegetation, sometimes including the petals and buds of flowers, but they are rarely considered pests like many of the short-horned grasshoppers are.
There is one more pair of insects that I noticed on the asters, but they deserve a post all of their own....

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