Thursday, December 15, 2011

Leaf-footed Bug (Leptoglossus clypealis)

Leaf-footed Bug
Leptoglossus clypealis

Identification: The wavy white line across the back strongly suggests this species. The spine extending forwards from the tip of the nose (tylus) confirms species ID.

Range: Based on the range map on BugGuide, Leptoglossus clypealis can be found throughout most of North America. However, it often occurs in large numbers in the Southwest where is is considered a pest species in pistacio and almond orchards because it feeds on the nuts. My limited records indicate L. clypealis is usually seen in the Ozarks during late fall and early winter.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

First Snow in the Ozarks

Jo and I exhibited at an art fair down in Little Rock this past weekend. We returned home on Monday to find snow on the ground. The snow was fairly localized, extending only from the Marshall area over to Harrison. We left Little Rock mid-morning and made several stops on the way home. Driving conditions were not a problem by the time we encountered snow because the ground is still warm and the temperature had risen slightly above freezing.

Little snow melted on Monday or Tuesday. The sky remained overcast and daytime temps rose only a little above freezing. Nighttime temps dropped into the twenties. Sunshine appeared on Wednesday. By Friday afternoon when the photo above was taken, snow only remained lurking in northern shadows.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tree and Fence

Tree and fence alongside our road out. Taken while on our afternoon walk. It was nice to see some blue sky after several days of overcast.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Linden Looper Moth (Erannis tiliaria - 6665)

Linden Looper Moth
Erannis tiliaria - 6665

Typically a "winter moth", and Winter Moth is this species other common name.

Host plants are numerous, including Hosts include basswood, apple, ash, beech, birch, elm, maple, oak, poplar.

This is a male moth; females are wingless.

Source: BugGuide


Thursday, November 24, 2011


Around four inches of rain earlier in the week has the winter creek below our house flowing.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Potter Wasp (Eumenes fraternus - female)

Potter Wasp
Eumenes fraternus - female

Range: Widespread in eastern North America.

Food: Adults feed on nectar.

Life cycle: A female lays an egg inside a small mud nest she has built attached to a twig or other stable structure. She provisions the nest with small caterpillars which the larva eats as it grows and develops. It emerges from the nest as an adult.

There are two or three generations of potter wasps a year, depending upon location. The final generation of the year overwinters inside the nest and emerges the following spring. (For photos of larva inside a mud nest, see here.

Source: BugGuide


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth (Malacosoma americanum - 7701)

Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth (Male)
(Malacosoma americanum - 7701)

Range: Eastern and central US to the Rockies and Canada from Nova Scotia to Alberta.

Food: Larvae feed on leaves of many trees and shrubs but particularly members of the rose family such as apple, cherry, and crabapple.

Life Cycle: In the fall, a female lays an eggs mass on a twig where it overwinters. The larvae hatch in the spring. They construct a tent of webbing in which the feed and grow. Eventually, the caterpillars will disburse and pupate. 

(Note:  Photo taken on 6/1/11)

Source: BugGuide


Monday, November 07, 2011

Beggar Moth (Eubaphe mendica - 7440)

Beggar Moth
(Eubaphe mendica - 7440)

Flight: May-September; three broods.

Caterpillar Hosts: Maples and violets.

Range: Common throughout eastern North America.

(from BAMONA)

See also:
Moth Photographers Group


Monday, October 24, 2011

Banded Argiope Spider (Argiope trifasciata)

The large orb-weaver spiders are probably the most often seen spiders in the fall. They've been around all summer, but by fall, the females are large and often construct their webs in conspicuous locations. The garden spider I most often see is the Black & Yellow Argiope (Argiope aurantia) seen here in a previous post. The spider above is a close relative, the Banded Argiope (Argiope trifasciata). Their web is similar in size and shape to that of the yellow garden spider, but it is not uncommon for the stabilimentum (the white zig-zag area) to be absent or have variability in shape.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Large Tolype Moth (Tolype velleda – 7670)

Large Tolype Moth

Tolype velleda – 7670

Range: Nova Scotia to central Florida, west to Texas, north to Ontario.

Life cycle: Only one generation per year. Usually a late summer or fall species.

Food: Larvae feed on leaves of a variety of broadleaf trees and shrubs.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Orange Sulphur - female (Colias eurytheme)

Orange Sulphur (female)
Colias eurytheme

Identification: Female yellow or white with irregular black border surrounding light spots. Underside hindwing spot silver with 2 concentric dark rings, and a spot above it.

Caterpillar Hosts: Plants in the pea family (Fabaceae).

Adult Food: Nectar from many kinds of flowers including dandelion, milkweeds, goldenrods, and asters.

Habitat: A wide variety of open sites, especially clover and alfalfa fields, mowed fields, vacant lots, meadows, road edges.

Range: Southern Canada to central Mexico, coast to coast in the United States except for the Florida peninsula. Comments: One of the most widespread and common butterflies in North America.

Source: BAMONA


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monarch Butterfly (Danaus perplexity)

We've been seeing a few Monarchs migrating though our area every day for the past several days, but no large migratory population.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Moth (Epipagis huronalis - 5147)

Identification: The antemedial (AM) line of the hindwing is broken and does not extend all the way across the wing.

Range: North Carolina to Florida to Texas.

5148 - Epipagis disparilis which has a heavy and continuous antemedial line on the hind wing.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Locust Borer Beetle (Megacyllene robiniae)

Identification: Adult beetles are black with yellow stripes across. The third stripe on the elytra is W-shaped.

Habitat: Anywhere Black Locust trees are present - most of the US.

Season: Adults most noticeable in September when Goldenrod comes into bloom.

Food: Larvae feed exclusively on Black Locust tree and its cultivars (Robinia pseudoacacia). Adults feed on pollen, particularly Goldenrod (Solidago).

Life Cycle: Eggs are laid in locust trees in the fall. Newly emerged larvae spend several months in tree trunks, first hibernating through the winter under the bark, then tunneling into trees in spring, eventually making tunnels about 4" long and .25" inch wide. They pupate late July/early August. Adult beetles emerge late August to September.

(From BugGuide)


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cayenne Peppers

Our veggie garden is just about finished for the year. There are still a some tomatoes ripening. Our sweet potatoes are yet to be dug. And, the pepper plants are still producing. Jo harvested cayenne peppers yesterday.

Because of our humidity, the cayenne peppers need a little time in the food dehydrator before they'll be dry enough for long term storage.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Black-and-yellow Lichen Moth (Lycomorpha pholus - #8087)

Range: Nova Scotia to North Carolina, west to South Dakota and Texas.

Life History: A day-flier, often seen on flowers such as goldenrod. May take several years to develop, especially in the north. Hairy cocoons are attached to rocks or tree trunks near the former food source.

Flight: July-September.

Caterpillar Hosts: Lichens.

Resource Links:


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)

Female Carolina Mantis just hanging around in the fog and adorned with remnants of spider webbing. (Species details from BugGuide.)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

One of my favorite weeds is beginning to bloom. I'm always amazed that a flower so beautiful and exotic-looking is a native wildflower, and even considered an invasive pest by some.

Passionflower is a native, perennial vine growing in the southeastern United States. Its vine can be up to 25 feet long and climbs with axillary tendrils or sprawls along the ground. It spreads by root suckers. The vine dies back to the ground during winter, but re-emerges in the spring.

Passionflowers are often purple, but can range from a deep purple to almost pure white. All passionflowers I've found around here are white, although you can see a slight tinge of purple in some of the fringe. Many different pollinators from bees to butterflies nectar on the passionflower and it is a larval host for Gulf Fritillary, Zebra Longwing, Crimson-patch longwing, Red-banded hairstreak, Julia butterfly, Mexican butterflies.

(More information and photos at Floridata.)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)

Silver-Spotted Skipper on Purple Coneflower

Both butterfly and the coneflower are past their prime, but still worthy of a few pixels, I think.

According to BugGuide,  Silver-Spotted Skippers range throughout southern Canada and most of the continental United States except the Great Basin and west Texas; northern Mexico.

Caterpillar Hosts: Many woody legumes including black locust (Robinia pseudacacia), honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and false indigo (Amorpha species).

More information and photos are also available from Butterflies and Moths of North America.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Io Moth (Automeris io) - Male

A very common moth throughout eastern North America and north to southern Canada.  They range west to southern Arizona and south to Central America, at least as far as Costa Rica.  Larvae feed on a wide variety of host plants -- over 100 recorded plant genera in North America -- , including such diverse plants as azaleas, blackberry, clover, cotton, current, hackberry, hibiscus, mesquite, palms, rear, redbud, roses and willows.  (University of Florida "Featured Creature")

Prominent eye spots on hind wings are distinctive and found on both males and females.  Males are usually yellow while females are a rusty red color.

(Previous post includes photos of female, eggs and caterpillars.) 


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Garden 2011: Planting Corn

Jo planting corn while Rusty watches intently. Dogs believe dog treats are the one and only small items ever contained within small bags. One year we when we weren't paying attention, Rusty dug up and ate several of the green beans Jo had planted. We kept a watchful eye on him this time.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Garden 2011: Recap #3

It just wouldn't be spring if we weren't running behind with everything.  The photos above were all taken on May 5.  The main feature of all of them is that it's obvious the grass needs mowed.  Between preparing for art fairs, traveling to art fairs and all the rain we've received, I'm very much behind with my mowing.  I was finally able to attack our garden area with the mower on Tuesday (5/10/11).  Now we can at least venture into the garden without having to wade in almost knee-high grass and weeds.

  • 1.) Tomato plants are still under cloches.
  • 2.) The cloches need to be removed from several tomato plants.
  • 3.) Cauliflower.
  • 4.) Chinese cabbage.
  • 5.) Lettuce, spinach, chard, radishes directed seeded into the garden.
  • 6.) Broccoli.
  • 7.) Potatoes.

Our irises are well into their blooming sequence. We don't grow a lot of flowers, but have gotten into growing irises because friends gave us rhizomes when they thinned their beds. The flowers are beautiful, and irises are one of the few flowers deer won't eat.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garden 2011: Strawberries

Not quite ripe, but soon -- very soon.


Friday, May 06, 2011

Male Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris)

Because Jo and I know the limitations of our Point-and-Shoot camera with its wide angle lens, we don't usually even try to photograph birds except during winter when we use a shelf feeder on the window sill to entice the birds within a foot or two of the camera. However, today we had a very special visitor that demanded we try taking a few photos. A male Painted Bunting fed under our feeder several times throughout the day. He is a new entry for our yard bird list.

For species details (and much better photos) please see Cornell Labs.


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Spiderlily (Hymenocallis sp.)

Jo and I were a little out of the Ozarks when we found this beautiful wildflower.  We were on our way to an art fair in Oxford, MS, when we stopped to visit friends down in the Little Rock area.  The ditch and adjoining marshy field where we exited off I-40 in rural Lonoke was full of spiderlilies.

I think this is a Spring Spiderlily (Hymenocallis liriosme).  The Little Rock area could have both Spring Spiderlilies and Carolina Spiderlilies (Hymenocallis caroliniana).  The Carolinas are more common and widespread, but one source said that Spring Spiderlilies have a more yellow center and these blooms seem to qualify in that regard.  Regardless of species, spiderlilies have to be the most beautiful ditch plants we've ever found.  They seemed very much out of place growing amongst the paper trash, broken bottles, plastic containers and old tires in the ditch.

Spiderlilies are native, deciduous herbs.  They prefer moist soil and partial shade.  Habitat includes flood plains, bottomland, ditches, ravines, depressions, marshes, stream banks, prairie, plains, meadows, pastures and savannas.  (Source:  Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center)  


Water Lines and Fence Post Augers Don't Mix

On Tuesday our neighbor decided to start fencing the land he cleared last fall, including a small section of woods beyond the clearing.  He and a couple of hired helpers were setting the pairs of large black locust corner and gate posts.  Although he knows our water line runs right along the road, he didn't bother to call the water district and have them mark the exact location of the line.  When drilling the hole for the companion of the post shown above, he put his fence post auger through our water line.

Being out of water for a few hours while the line was repaired was no big deal.  As a matter of fact, neither Jo nor I even realized we had no water until the water district employee who repaired the line came down to our place to flush it out.  The muddy mess made of our road out is more troublesome.  The depression to the left of the fence post shown above is where the repairman used a backhoe to dig a large hole so he could access the damaged line.  The hole extended about a quarter of the way across our road.  Because we've received a lot of rain recently, the ground is saturated.  The hole was back filled with mud.  Until it dries in a month or so, the back fill is about as firm as quicksand.  Jello would do a better job of supporting a vehicle.

The last thing this section of saturated red clay needed was a lot of traffic which included heavy equipment. 

The water in the road has nothing to do with the water line break.  It is runoff from the hill above the road. 

Jo and I need to leave for an art fair on Friday.  I hope we can make it out.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Garden 2011: Recap #2

Center:  Jo removed the cloches from our broccoli, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage.  She then covered the bed with a wire tunnel to keep rabbits from eating their fill.


1. Cauliflower (4/17/11)
2. Cherry Bell radishes (4/16/11)
3.  Comfrey does well in the spring, but suffers in our hot, dry summer.  (4/16/11)
4. Partially mulched broccoli. (4/17/11)
5. Lettuce (4/16/11)
6. Chinese cabbage. (4/17/11)


Monday, April 25, 2011

Spiderwort (Tradescantia sp)

Spiderwort (Tradescantia sp)
(probably Tradescantia ernestiana)

Spiderwort is a native herbaceous perennial common to the central US. It prefers full to partial shade with medium to wet soil and is often found growing at the edges of woodlands. There are several different species of spiderwort and these can be difficult to distinguish without either a lot more experience than Jo and I or side by side comparisons.

Sources and additional information:
Missouri Plants
Missouri Botanical Garden (Kemper Center)


Friday, April 22, 2011

Garden 2011: Mid-April Recap

Strawberries are in full bloom.  (4/13/11)

Datura (jimson weed) is coming up from roots.  It's surrounded by garlic chives shoots which have since been pulled -- for all the good that did.  Garlic chives is very invasive.  It spreads by multiplying bulbs underground and abundant seeds.  It's requires a constant effort to keep it from taking over the bed.  (4/16/11)

It's about time to remove the cloches covering the broccoli, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage, especially since the plants are trying to grow out the tops of the plastic jugs.  (4/16/11)

We've been enjoying fresh asparagus for a couple of weeks or so.  We totally replanted the asparagus bed last year.  This year's harvest is modest.  (4/16/11)

I'm beginning to mulch the broccoli bed while the plants are still protected by cloches.  (Note:  The plastic jugs have since been removed.)  (4/13/11)

It's about time to remove the wire covering our garlic before the plants grow up through the wire.  We plant garlic in the fall.  The plants come up and then go dormant over winter.  Once spring arrives, they take off growing again.  Neither deer nor rabbits eat the garlic, but we cover it with wire over winter to make certain an armadillo doesn't come through and till the bed for us.  (4/13/11)

Our potato plants are poking up through the mulch.  I cover them with a layer of fresh mulch when they do.  (4/16/11)


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baltimore Bomolocha Moth (Hypena baltimoralis)

Baltimore Bomolocha Moth (Hypena baltimoralis) 
(Species information from BugGuide.)

AKA: Baltimore Hypena

Range: Eastern North America -- Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Arkansas, north to Wisconsin and Ontario.

Habitat: Deciduous forests or edges; adults are nocturnal and come to light.

Food: Larvae feed on maples.

Comments: Flies from March through October, depending upon location. Two generations in the north; two or more in the south.

Remarks: This moth decided to join me in my basement shop while I was working on some spoons.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tree Year 2011: American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) #5

A large view of the American Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) shows it still appears to be dormant. Everything around it is greening up, but the persimmon shows no change. I've "seen" this tree every year for the past 24 springs, but until I started paying closer attention to it for The Tree Year, I never realized it was one of the last trees to leaf out and/or bloom.

A closer inspection of the persimmon tree, show that it is finally preparing to leaf out. Leaf buds on April 6, are shown above.

The leaf buds are opening a few days later on April 10.

Previous Tree Year posts for this American Persimmon.

Celebrate a tree in 2011.  It's easy:  Observe, photograph, sketch, or discuss and share with other tree huggers.  Please visit The Tree Year 2011 to participate or find other blog posts dedicated to trees from around the world.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)

In all our wanderings on and around our place, Jo and I have found only one specimen of this beautiful wildflower. It's growing near the bluff edge below our house, in area I'd call rough, rocky, not very fertile and "disturbed". (It was scraped off with a bulldozer not too long before we bought this place.) Most of the other growth in that area, I'd classify as brush and brambles.

(Note:  Jo deserves triple credit for this photo, especially for persistence and determination.  Shooting Star stands about a foot tall on a slender stem with flowers and buds dangling loosely.  Even the slightest breeze causes the entire plant to sway.)

Name: Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia)
Other common names: Pride of Ohio, Roosterheads, Prairie Pointers
Plant type: Herbaceous perennial native to eastern and central North America.
Family: Primulaceae (Primrose)
Flowers: White to pink to purple with no floral scent.

Sources and additional information:
Kemper Center for Home Gardening
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
Illinois Wildflowers
Missouri Plants
USDA Range Map and Plant Profile


Monday, April 11, 2011

Garden 2011: Update Collage

Top Row:  Veggies sown directly into the garden on 3/22/11 are up and doing well.  They will need to be thinned soon.  These include (left to right) two different lettuce blends, spinach and chard.  (Yes, we raise rabbits.  The garden is fertilized with partially composted rabbit manure.)

Bottom Row (l to r):  Potatoes planted on 3/17/11 are starting to poke up through their mulch covering.  I'll need to add more mulch as they grow for a while.  Cherry Belle radishes planted on 3/22.  Dill is a weed in our garden, a friendly weed, but a weed nonetheless.  We first planted dill about fifteen years ago so we'd have it available for making dill pickles.  (Jo hasn't made dill pickles in over a decade.)  It grew well, flowered and went to seed.  Now, dill reseeds itself throughout the garden.  Hundreds of dill plants sprout and we pull up or hoe most of them.  Still, we allow dozen that are not in the way of some other planting to grow and go to seed.  Dill is attractive green plant, it releases a nice aroma when you brush against it, it's clusters of tiny yellow flowers attract a lot of pollinators for me to photograph, and it is a host plant for black swallowtail butterflies.


Common Shingle (Shingleteria compositum)

Recent strong and gusty Spring winds resulted a fine crop of Common Shingles (Shingleteria compositum) sprouting in our yard.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium rostratum)

Yellow Trout Lily is another woodland wildflower that begins blooming here in mid-March. This photo Jo took on March 17, is one of the very first trout lily blooms we saw in 2011. The trout lily's common name is based upon its mottled leaves. (Here is a previous post with a photo that shows leaves.)

Trout lilies are also known as Dog-toothed Violets. The numerous rhizomes on the bottom of its root could resemble a dog's jaw and canine teeth if you've got a good imagination. However, it is a member of the lily family and not a violet. Both leaves and roots are supposedly edible, although I've never been hungry enough to give either a try.

Yellow Troutlily is much less widely distributed than it's long, red-anthered cousin Erythronium americanum. It is limited to the Ozark Mountains and a few other isolated pockets in the south-central United States. Unlike the other members of its genus, E. rostratum has erect rather than nodding flowers.


Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

My blogging is starting to lag way behind both our photography and the season. Bloodroot is one of our earliest woodland wildflowers. Jo took this photo in mid-March.

Bloodroot is a member of the Poppy family. Its name is derived from the red juice that can be extracted from it's red-orange roots (actually rhizomes). Various medicinal and mystical properties have been associated with this juice in the past. However, since the juice is escharotic (a substance that causes tissue to die and slough off) and an incorrect internal dosage is toxic, the FDA recommends that bloodroot not be used by herbal healers.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Garden 2011: Broccoli and More

After transplanting the full row of broccoli, Jo watered them with a fish emulsion mixture. The dogs think fish emulsion smells like something that really needs to be rolled in. (Part #1 of transplanting broccoli into the garden is here.)

Finally Jo covered the newly transplanted veggies -- broccoli, cauliflower and Chinese cabbage -- with high-tech mini-greenhouses, otherwise known as cloches, which I photographed the following day. We're not likely to get temperatures cold enough to damage the transplants, but the cloches also help keep them from drying out and protect the tender young plants from being buffeted around in our gusty south wind. (Yes, I really do need to crank up our lawnmower and mow the aisles between garden beds.)

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the garden... While it's not necessary to make an emergency run into town for whipped cream just yet, our strawberries are blooming.