Tuesday, July 08, 2014

From my garden series - interesting insects

Since dusting off my Canon 100mm/f2.8 L macro lens last week, I've been finding a lot of interesting bugs in the garden.  I'm particularly interested in the diversity of fly species - most of them predatory on other insects, some are nectar or pollen feeders, though.  I showed some of these photos to my son and he was creeped out.  I guess some people aren't into interesting critters, eh? When you look closely at insects, you see how marvelously they are adapted to their realm. The specialized mouth parts, defense structures, eyes, antennae, genitalia - all are so different than what we're used to seeing in mammals, birds, fish, and insects. Viva la diff√©rence!

Here's a sampling of my bug menagerie that inhabits my garden:

Hover Fly aka Syrphid Fly - larvae are predators, adults feed on nectar and/or pollen. Are used as biocontrol agents for aphids. In other words - a good insect for the garden.

Bombus impatiens - one of the bumblebee species found in Ohio. All pollinators are welcome to my garden.

Another hover fly or syrphid fly - Toxomerus marginatus

Long legged fly - Condylostylus sipho - male. This is another predatory fly. They like to hang out on leaves.

Female long legged fly - Condylostylus sipho

Snipe fly - don't know which species, but this is another predatory insect.

Cluster fly - a species of Pollenia. The larvae of cluster flies are parasites of earthworms. The adults can be pests in the house in that they like to overwinter in homes. Although they resemble house flies, they are not harmful to humans or pets. Notice how the wings are folded as the fly is at rest? This is a big difference from house flies.

Lonhorn grasshopper nymph - female. Scudderia sp. These are also known as bush katydids. They chomp on garden plants, so they're not particularly helpful to the garden. They are kind of cute, though.

Toxomerus marginatus - I like the dramatic setting with the light on my boxwood - lots of shade in the background.

Japanese beetle - Popillia japonica - definitely a garden pest. They eat everything! I actually think they're beautiful to look at, but they are not welcome in my garden.

Red aphids - I've only seen them on weeds thus far, but they are not welcome on my vegetables and ornamentals.

This is a nymph of the brown marmorated stinkbug - another invasive garden pest. They are definitely interesting in appearance, though.

Orb weaver spider (Neoscona crucifera?) eating a scarab beetle. It's hanging out on one of my crassula plants.
I've received most of my insect identifications from BugGuide.

Some more insects are posted here: Scenes from my garden - July 2014

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