A few weeks ago, I showed a picture of a wheel bug nymph. Adult wheel bugs are fearsome looking with their big size and gray and brown armored looking shell. So I was surprised when I discovered, the slim, green insect I found was the nymph for it. While identifying the nymph, I found the wheel bug was also called the assassin bug because it pierces its prey and sucks out the insides to eat. The nymphs feed this way also. Well, this week I actually saw this happening. The nymph I found was a little older that the one I saw before and some of its green had to turned to gray, but it was definitely identifiable as an assassin bug. The bug was clinging to the underside of a coneflower with a lifeless bumblebee clutched in its legs while its mouth pierced the abdomen of the bee. Just like I had read about. Amazing to see! Despite the fact this one was eating a bee, assassin bugs are considered beneficial garden predators eating things like Japanese beetles and caterpillars.
On more pleasant insect news, the swallowtail butterflies have returned this week. I haven't seen them in great numbers yet, but I hope more are to come. The skipper and cabbage butterflies are still flitting around everywhere.
The baby finches are continuing to grow and the mother is still very protective of them. I thought that maybe the baby bluebirds had already fledged, but when I saw the mother go into the box, I took a look. They are still there, but they are mostly feathered and you can see some of the blue on them. I would like to see them fledge, but not surprisingly, the mother tries to do that when there are no threats around and in her eyes that includes me.)
Here are a few things I saw this week
during a Second Look.
|A few of the flowers that are in bloom right now.|
|Adult assassin bug from last August. Notice the wheel on its back that gives it its other name of wheel bug. Next notice the antennas on its skinny, long head. Bent under it's head, is its long, deadly mouth.|
|Assassin bug nymph from a couple of weeks ago. If you look carefully, you can see its orange mouth under the antennas.|
|Tiger swallowtail butterfly|
|The wren's have grown a lot in the last week.|
|So have the bluebirds.|