Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Monday: 11 July 2005

This Weekend's Insects  -  @ 06:18:08
For several years we've seen this fellow (or others like it) hovering around, a fairly constant companion throughout the summer. It's large, over an inch long, quite aggressively curious, and with the black and yellow markings and the loud whine as it hovers, looks and sounds pretty ferocious. It's all a fake though - this is a fly, not a bee or wasp; you can tell by the single pair of wings. I'm guess it to be a Yellowjack Hover Fly, Milesia perhaps virginiensis. It can neither bite nor sting, and is hovering about looking for plants that have aphids on them. That's where it'll lay its eggs, and the larvae will consume the aphids. Although I'm clear that it's a hover fly it could be another species.

Normally I'll look the other way when I spot one of those nondescript little moths flying around. But this one looked doable. It's Grape Leaffolder, Desmia funeralis, a pyralid moth family member. Its larvae will pupate over winter in folded-over grape leaves, hence the name. It may be a minor pest, but it still always makes me feel better when I get a handle on one of these fellers.

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