Tuesday, April 15. 2008
I was riding my bike, the other day and I had stopped to listen to the birds in a riparian zone when I detected motion near my feet. I looked down and saw a whole bunch of these ladybug larvae:
I didn't have my camera with me, so that photo is from Bugguide.net, an excellent site for identifying insects.
There were a lot of these larvae crawling around and attaching themselves to a whole crop of small, 4" tall plants alongside the road. When I got home I looked them up and found that they are Seven spotted lady beetle larvae, unfortunately non-native.
Today I was riding there again and stopped to look. They had all attached themselves and some had finished pupating (is that the right term) into adults, but most were still in the process. I didn't have my camera today, either, so I snipped off a piece of plant with the pupa on it and brought it home with me. Here's a closeup:
You can click that picture to see a larger version.
After I had taken some photos and put the plant outside I got to looking at them and finally noticed the plant that they are on. Look at those tiny flowers. What in the world are they? Here's a photo that shows a bit more of the plant:
I had snipped off the top half of a plant, but the bottom is mostly stalk with one or two branches similar to these. Oh, and you can see the remains of another SSLB that has already finished pupating.
So what you thought was a posting about a non-native insect has turned out to be another plant ID question. If anyone knows what this plant is, could you let me know? Thanks.
[Susan M. ID's this as a Spergularia, but exact species unknown. Thanks Susan!]
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