A Good Year's End
A greeting for the holiday season, some updates, and a little house-cleaning as well.
Last spring (March and June 2014) I wrote about the Monarch migration. You might be encouraged to hear that they believe this year's wintering population in Mexico will be double what it was last year. Journey North reports: "If last year's record-low population had encountered poor breeding conditions, we don't know if the population could have recovered. What does the target population size need to be to preserve the migration? Scientists simply don't know the extinction threshold." http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/fall2014/update_december.html
If you read my post "Who's on Top?" (October 2014) please read it again. I corrected a major error where I referred to a damselfly as a dragonfly, and I did some rewriting to make it clearer that dragonflies and damselflies are two separate groups of odonates.
Do all insects have wings? Just to clarify this post (April 2014), I was asking about insect species that never, at any stage, fly. As I reported, many juvenile forms of insects do not have wings, but the adult forms do. Some of you might have been thinking, "Ants don't fly." And the majority of ants we see do not, however the reproductive males and females of ant species do have wings and will fly at some point in their lifetime. But here's an insect that has no wings and doesn't fly, ever: it's the flea. Knocking myself on the head when I read this, of course they don't fly, they jump. And amazing jumpers they are. I was reading up on Flea Circuses when the realization hit. Have you ever seen a flea circus? I haven't, and I never knew for certain if they were real. But they are, and it's quite a phenomenon. There are some great little films on You Tube where you can watch fleas perform. Here's a clip from 1956: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeDT9pbJZrw&list=PLXuQ0ySCXREubCwPdMUaErcg0DNsn-lwW&index=2
I guess that's it for house-cleaning. I'll end the year with a few more pictures of my favorite finds from 2014.
Ebony Jewelwing, male
I've tried for several years to photograph one of these beauties. Not easy as these damselflies fly above, around and very close to water. They like to perch on rocks in streams.
Damselfly pair in tandem
The male grasps the female behind the "neck" while making a slit in the reed stalk with her abdomen, she oviposits the eggs he has just fertilized.
Virginia Creeper Clearwing
Another beautiful find. I love this moth's black velvet body, the iridescence, and, oh the wings! velvety above and clear as glass below.
White-marked Tussock Moth caterpillar
This creature's costume just blew me away!
Happy things happen when you take time to look. I was photographing this female meadowhawk dragonfly in July when suddenly she decided to perch on my thumb. She stayed there for a long time -- patiently waiting while I maneuvered my camera so I could steady it with one hand in order to take her picture. The photo session on my thumb lasted 3 1/2 minutes.
Gosh, it's been a great year!
Happy Holidays everyone!
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