Grounded

This red-spotted purple probably escaped a predator at the cost of a wing and the ability to escape again. Though grounded, he continued to spread his wings in the sunshine.

Red-spotted purple butterfly with one wing.
STILL BEAUTIFUL – Red-spotted purple butterfly warms himself on the roadway.

On the half shell

Walked out on the deck to water the plants one morning and saw a grasshopper. Not an unusual thing, since our yard is a grasshopper haven. However, upon closer inspection, ┬áthis neat and upright shell was all that remained from someone’s dinner.

Grasshopper, post dinner.
Grasshopper, post dinner.

Life and death in the goldenrod, part I

We keep a patch of giant goldenrod growing at the front of the house to provide a way station for visiting monarch butterflies, but other insects make themselves at home there, including all manner of bees, wasps and wheelbugs. Wheelbugs, named for the cogged half wheel atop their armor, lay in wait in the yellow flowers, stalking their prey. The wheelbug in the top shot had caught a bumble bee and dragged it at least 5-6 feet before I stopped following it. The one in the second photo snagged a wasp.

The insects insert their beak into the prey, injecting a fluid that paralyzes and dissolves the victim’s insides, which accounts for why there seemed to be no fight left in either the bee or wasp.

Unrelated note — this is our 700th post!

Wheelbug dragging off prey.
Wheelbug, dusted with yellow pollen from the goldenrods, drags its prey.
Wheelbug eating wasp.
Inverted wheelbug eating wasp. Its cogged wheel can be seen running along its back.
In profile, you can see the wheel.
In profile, you can see the wheel.