Sunday, October 28, 2007

Last of the Dragons

Insect enthusiasts will soon have to go into hibernation, or turn their interests elsewhere for a while. Finally, the temperatures are steadily falling, as they should, and putting an end to the year's crop of bugs. I got out with John Pogacnik last Thursday, and he showed me some of the interesting wetland development projects that Lake County Metroparks are undertaking. You've got to hunt and peck, but some dragonflies could still be found.

This is what the woods look like now. Carpets of freshly fallen leaves, and the damp musty smell of decomposing vegetation.

Wandering Glider, Pantala flavescens. We found a number of these, although most were flushed from the grasses and sedges. When I took this, it was only about 60 degrees; a bit cool for aerial acrobatics. This species is highly migratory, and it would be interesting to know where it might end up.
We had several Autumn Meadowhawks, Sympetrum vicinum. This species - formerly known as Yellow-legged Meadowhawk - is one of the latest dragons on the wing. Indian Summer-like November days often produce some. Even in the cool temps, they were quite active and hard to get up on to photograph. Until this one landed on John's shirt.

Lots of Familiar Bluets, Enallagma civile, were still out and obvious.

Closeup of a - presumably - Chinese Mantis. While not native, they are about as interesting as an insect gets. If you've not seen their egg cases, they look like ping-pong ball-sized pieces of brown foam stuck to a plant. Many a young kid has taken one of these egg cases home in a jar with no lid, and had their mother awaken one day to a room full of dozens of tiny little mantis's roaming all about. I know I did...


Anonymous said...

Second grade classroom in Minerva Park, around 1959: A boy named Robby had a mantis case in his desk. When the eggs hatched, most of the mantis babies crawled out the desk lid, onto Robby and under his T-shirt. I still remember his outburst of utter panic. He was a macho kind of second-grader, I was a very shy little girl, and my mental picture of him screaming his head off is indelible. (And always kind of makes me smile.)

A Lady's Life said...

isn't that interesting.
Thats better than having hermit crabs crawling out of your bathtub and all over the floor. lol