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

Tuesday: 24 April 2007

Blogger Bioblitz, Day 3  -  @ 06:48:53
Monday was Day 3 of the Blogger Bioblitz. Monday was also a full day of work so I only had an hour or so to check back to the previous two sites surveyed on Saturday and Sunday. After reading through all the fabulous reports on insects elsewhere, I decided to check more closely on our own. It's surprising how few there are to be obviously seen, and I had to look closely.

At the Goulding Creek site I saw a ladybug, not pictured, and this fine wasp. At least I think it is a wasp. Its antennae seem a bit too long for a fly. But on the other hand there's a flylike way the way its head is screwed onto its body. I haven't had time to scan through Bugguide for its identity, and that's unfortunately true for the presumptive tachinid fly and spiders below. So if you have clues, please mention them!

Both the ladybug and this fellow were prowling about on the young Crownbeard (Verbesina occidentalis) which has in previous years also been the site of unidentified insects.

Also on the Crownbeard was this nervous little fly, which I presume is my second Tachinid of the blitz:

It was very nervous about the flash. Odd, since most insects don't pay much attention to it, but it responded and flew so quickly that many of the photos were simply blurs. Here's a few thumbnails showing a few profiles. It certainly was interested in that frass, coming back to it again and again.

Back to the Mayapple Forest, and spiders! But first, a plant - this is Perfoliate Bellwort, I think - Uvularia perfoliata. It's a monocot, ostensibly in the Liliaceae, but that family has been broken up and that might have changed. Georgia is lucky enough to have all the Bellworts, and this one is easily recognized by its long, ovate clasping leaves. The flower, as befits its name, is an elongated, yellow, bellshaped one.

Most of the plants I've presented here are flowerless, but that's the consequence of conforming to a certain time period for a survey of as many plants as I can find. Ordinarily I'd choose the time, and like everyone else, that would be when a plant is in flower. There's something of a skill in looking at a flowerless plant and trying to guess its identity, but that situation is something we all encounter 95% of the time. So there's some value in pointing out the vegetative features that orient one to a plant

There are remarkably few obvious insects in the Mayapple Forest, and little indication that anyone has been doing any chewing. Turning over the leaves of Pawpaws, Wild Geraniums, and Mayapples netted nothing. But on the undersurfaces of the leaves of many of the Painted Buckeyes were these tiny spiders, which I presume are a Flower Spider of some kind. They were translucent, very small - less than 5mm body length, and they did build a web of straight, uncrosslinked strands that they scooted under, between the bottom of the leaf and the web itself.

Interesting that they only inhabited the buckeyes - I found none on the other plants in the area.

I present a number of thumbnails below the photograph here.

Last but not least, and emerging in a messy web between buckeyes, spiderlings!

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