Thursday, September 30, 2010
So check it out and learn about apples, peat moss, jewelweed, pollination, sugar beets, cleft phlox and more!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Like a bizarre Tickle Me Elmo for science geeks, you tickle the little caterpillar bird poo mimic and teeee-heeee!...out pops its osmeterium and a not so pleasant smell. It protects the little caterpillar from nosy birds looking for a snack by scaring the feathers off of them.
A little later, John Howard was flipping over leaves and found this lime green beauty, a Luna Moth caterpillar, Actias luna.Such a cool caterpillar and one I rarely get to see. It will become one of the most beautiful moths out there.
Here is one we raised from a caterpillar a few years ago. I love how the edges of the wings blend right in with the branch, with tiny leaf bud detailing. While hanging high up in a tree, it would go unnoticed by most. So amazing!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Photo from Wikipedia
We decided on a side trip to neighboring Pike State Forest. There was a nice wetland area with White Turtlehead, Chelone glabra, Closed Bottle Gentian, Gentiana andrewsii, and many asters and sedges.
John Howard spotted a bumblebee on a gentian. This was something I really wanted to see! Bumblebees are pretty much the only pollinator for Closed Bottle Gentian.
The petals of this flower never open, but remain closed, causing the flower to look like it is always in bud. Bumblebees are the only insects strong enough to force their way into the flower to devour the nectar and collect the pollen. The gentian relies on this symbiotic relationship to produce seed and more little gentians.
Finally, it made its way out of the blossom to... DIVE RIGHT INTO ANOTHER BLOSSOM.
Un-bee-lievable ! :)