Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bugs in the Garden (or: A Jungle in My Backyard)

It's been a very rain-filled week -- soggy, I believe, is the word. This morning we had a brief dry spell, but rather than risk getting caught in the woods in the rain, I decided to bring my camera out into the garden to see what kinds of creatures I could find there. I found cool bugs!

(By the way, I was only able to identify these creatures to any extent at all by turning to the enormously useful -- this site has lots of pictures and is pretty easy to navigate. I'm glad I recently found out about it.)

Anyway, bring on the bugs!

Here's a particularly cool one, a treehopper of some sort (in the genus Ceresa, I think). Check out those awesome horns, and the swirly black-and-white eyes (is it going to hypnotize someone?).

There are almost always leafhoppers in the garden, and they're usually more colorful than this one. In fact, I almost overlooked this guy (probably Pagaronia minor), but I'm glad I didn't -- I'm enjoying those yellow eyes.

I grew up calling these large arachnids (they're not technically spiders) "daddy longlegs," but apparently they can also be called "harvestmen" (to help distinguish them from other creatures with the name "daddy longlegs"). Who knew? In any case, this large whatever-you-want-to-call-it was staking out a bean leaf, possibly waiting for a meal to come along.

This fancy fellow is a nymph (i.e. juvenile) of a Leaf-footed Bug (Acanthocephala terminalis, I think). Nice blue butt, baby bug!

OK, this isn't a bug, but it is a wild thing in the garden. It's an Asiatic Dayflower, a non-native but now naturalized species. I let a few of these plants come up as weeds in a corner of the garden because I think the flowers are quite pretty, but I might pull them up before they go to seed.

All of these creatures are free to live in my garden and do what they will -- treehoppers, leaphoppers, and leaf-footed bugs all eat plants, but not to an extent that would be harmful to a garden. But of course I can't let every visitor come to stay, and that's the weird contradiction between enjoying wild things and keeping a cultivated, food-producing garden. Before I brought the camera outside, I smushed a decent number of aphids, as well as a squash beetle that was making a meal of my squash leaves. Maybe the next time I do a post like this, I'll take some pictures of the undesirable bugs as well. Everyone deserves equal treatment... before I smush them!

1 comment:

  1. You're right the Leaf-footed bug has a pretty cool butt! I find that I feel more kindly to the Asiatic Dayflower once I learned its name. Strange. I, too, now allow a few of them to nestle around the stone wall. True blue flowers are so uncommon. Down with squash beetles!!! ;-)