C is for Comma

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A short pause is in order today to just soak in the beauty of the Comma, butterfly, that is.  One of the earlier butterfly species to grace the skies in our area each summer many of the earlier arrivals we observed actually overwintered as adults. Some finding refuge from the winters freeze deep in crevices of a trees bark.

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Some we found warming themselves collecting minerals from the moist soil on the forest floor.

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Whereas others were often found feeding on the new growth of the trees and shrubs.

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Yes, C is for Comma.

Juniper Hairstreak

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One of the most interesting butterflies found in our area is the beautiful and fancy in a non-fancy sort of way Juniper Hairstreak.  Widely distributed across the United States this butterfly is often seen in old fields, bluffs, barrens, juniper and pinyon-juniper woodlands, and cedar breaks. This one was photographed feeding on biscuit root along the base of a cliff that had several areas of Juniper growing. The male will sit all day upon the ends of juniper branches to attract a female.

The Assassin

While checking out the Coneflowers the other day we came across this really cool insect called an Assassin bug.


At one point we found them stalking prey in their world of flowers. The other insect noticed the Assassin on their trail and quickly hopped away avoiding becoming a meal.

Assassin Bugs are ambush hunters that use their long rostrum to inject digestive enzymes into their prey. Their bite is said to be quite painful yet without long term consequences.

So from now on I will be keeping my eyes open and hands a safe distance from this guys home in the coneflowers as summer carries on.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reduviidae

a flies eyes

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It is always a surprise when we look closely and find a flies eyes attached to what we thought was a bees body. Using Batesian mimicry to look like a bee when your really a fly a bee-fly mimic and yellow-jacket mmimic enjoy a sip of nectar from a late blooming sedum plant.

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It is always a surprise and reason to take a closer look at the insects in the garden.

 

Hey Daddy-O

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Hey daddy-o what’s up?

Just hanging out enjoying the flowers in the garden.

Daddy Long Legs belong to a family of spiders Pholcidae, commonly known as cellar spiders, daddy long-legs spider, granddaddy long-legs spider, carpenter spider, daddy long-legger, vibrating spider and skull spider, is a family of araneomorph spiders first described by Ludwig Carl Christian Koch in 1850. It contains over 1800 species divided in 94 genera.”

Given the huge number of species might explain why we see them running about everywhere in the yard and often in the house all the time.

A new one.

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It is always fun to see a new one. Here are two views of a new and interesting looking insect which we think to be a bee but could well be a fly. It smaller than a honey bee, has long antennae,  a hairy body like a bee and interesting orange wings. This was the only one like this we have encountered and is not shown in the guide to local bees making me think it may be a bee-fly mimic.

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Yes, it is indeed fun to encounter a new species of any kind to reinforce just how wonderful the diversity of life on our planet.

 

Thanks for everyones help in identification of this insect. Looks to be a Hornet-Moth.