Photos of insects, arthropods etc
This afternoon, Bernard and I went for a walk ((usually this is defined as “I walked while he sat in his orange pushchair and watched the world go by”, but on this occasion, I mean it in the more conventional sense)). We stood on the railway bridge and waited for trains to pass under us.
Then we went through the churchyard and on to the park, where we witnessed some life-affirming graffiti.
On the way back we shared a Mr Whippy. We saw a moth that seemed to still be just barely alive, but this minor fact was of no significance to the ants.
In March, we had a lawn installed. One of the things that was removed as part of the transformation was a non-functional water feature. Once upon a time it had been home to a frog or two, but I don’t think that any had lived there for a while, probably because I kept lifting the stones to shout “Look! Frogs!”
Too late we realised that actually, there might be benefits to having frogs living in your garden, specifically slug control.
Meanwhile, our back yard is a mess of pots and things – it’s one of those things that needs sorting out one day, when all of the higher priority stuff has been done. The other day I noticed that a green plastic tray, which had collected a decent amount of rainwater, was now teeming with tadpoles.
It is our project to protect these little punctuation marks, keeping their water topped up, and maybe even building some kind of special tank which will protect them from predators, and giving them the best start in life possible. I shall call it a *froggery*.
It wasn’t actually even a particularly large spider. I just like winding Sevitz up.
Bernard and a snail
On Saturday, Bernard and I were in the garden. I taught him lots of useful things about snails.
I love taking photos of snails. Can’t stand slugs though. Ugh. Slugs.
Since introducing Cryptolaemus and Leptomastix to my conservatory three weeks ago I have been fretting constantly. The problem is that after releasing 9 of the former and about 50 of the latter into the room, they dispersed rapidly, and I didn’t really see much of them after that. I was worried that they had all disappeared entirely, either by finding a fissure somewhere that leads to the outside world, or at the hands of some unknown predator (eg a spider).
You can imagine my elation this morning when I spotted three or four of these creatures meandering amongst the mealybugs. A quick google confirmed my suspicion – they are Crypto babies!
My new mini-tripod at work here, allowing me to take pictures that I would not otherwise have been able to take.
Pirates and Ninjas
*Cryptolaemus* are hefty, slow, but unstoppably brutal. They devour mealybugs in vast quantities, plowing through dense egg masses like tanks. Each individual may consume up to 250 mealybugs during its 2-3 week larval stage, and each adult female may lay up to 400 eggs in her lifetime. Do the Maths yourself.
*Cryptolaemus* are cool for the same reasons that pirates are cool.
*Leptomastix* are small, nimble, and move faster than the eye can see. The female pounces upon the fully-grown mealybug, delivering an attack that will irreversibly lead to a slow, agonising death, before disappearing into the night without a trace. Within two weeks, up to 100 mealybugs will be the victim of this fearful assassin. No matter where her enemies hide, she will find them.
And what is this mysterious poison that she uses? *Her own offspring*, who will devour her target from the inside out.
*Leptomastix* are cool for the same reason that ninjas are cool.