People think you have to go searching in the woods to find cool #insects but that's not true. To bring attention to the insects that live in our own yards, I am going to share photos all week from a series I'm calling #bugsonmydeck. All critters were found on my deck in 2021!
The first insect I'm posting for my #bugsonmydeck series is this lovely li'l long-legged fly (Dolchipodidae). These flies just LOVE my pepper plants and they are always flitting about between the leaves - hopefully searching out pests and having lunch.
The second insect I'm posting for my #bugsonmydeck series is this Pale Green Weevil (Polydrusus impressifrons). This is an invasive species - but they don't eat tomato plants, so it was only a transient visitor to my deck. I still think it is beautiful!
The third insect I'm posting for my #bugsonmydeck series is this Keeled Treehopper (Entylia carinata). I get these hoppers in my garden, especially on my lettuce, every year. I usually sacrifice a few plants to them so that I can keep a small population to observe all summer. This species has mutualistic relationships with several ant species and you can easily observe their interactions. The ants protect the hoppers and move them around to the best parts of the plants. The hoppers provide honeydew - a waste product they create as a result of phloem feeding – for the ants to eat. The ants will rub their antennae over the hoppers to coax them into releasing a small drop of honeydew, which they eat and share with their sisters. It’s such an excellent opportunity to watch this unique symbiosis while sitting right on my own deck.
The 4th insect I'm posting for my #bugsonmydeck series is this Broaded-Headed Sharpshooter (Oncometopia orbona). This little guy lived in my lettuce for several weeks this summer. It took me several tries to get a photo because the are professional (and colorful) little jumpers.
The 5th insect in my #bugsonmydeck series is this super cute click beetle (elateridae). Click beetles have a spine on their prosternum that fits into a notch on their mesosternum & can be snapped to shoot the beetle into the air - used to avoid predators & right them if flipped.
The 6th insect in my #bugsonmydeck series is a two-fer - this bee-like #robberfly (Laphria canis complex - I believe) w/ its Bristly Rose Slug #Sawfly (Cladius difformis) lunch. Robberflies are excellent hunters & you'll often see them w/ impressively large prey items like this.
The 7th (& final) post for my #bugsonmydeck series isn't actually a bug at all - it's a #mollusk. I know, I know a #snail is not a bug, but hear me out - they ARE small & cute and people don't like them, which is exactly how I describe insects, so I'm running with it. Also, I have hundreds of these ram's horn snails in the plants on my deck and they are so cute that I just had to share them w/ you all. I call this shot "best friends"
BONUS (#8) post for my #bugsonmydeck series is another photograph of a snail, but this photo has a bonus! Look in the bottom right of the photo and you can see the ittiest, bittiest, littlest, CUTEST baby #snail. I just had to share this little one with you in one final photo.