Sunday, September 15, 2013

Worth The Wait

Some beasts live with you long before you ever actually see one. I've seen strange spiky, spiny Orb Weavers in books and on BugGuide ever since I came to the USA. And today at last I got to see my first. I was in the front garden weeding and putting down some mulch when I saw a web with an odd shape at the centre. Not so big and I thought, likely just a wrapped up old meal with legs sticking out. But I moved around to catch it with the light falling the right way. And just for once it turned out to be just what I was hoping for.
This is the Spinybacked Orb Weaver  (Gasteracantha cancriformis) Its one of 3 or 4 spiny Orb Weaver species all a little differently shaped and coloured and for that matter different within species according to where they live. This gorgeous little beast also comes in bright yellow and black in which form it looks like a smiley face on 8 legs.
There is a touch of yellow in this one too at the base of the spines and particularly on the underside as below.
Florida specimens have this colouration but the 6 spines are red! But I'll settle, very happily, for my  black and white version. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tasty Leftovers

UPDATED 09/17/13             

 I really need to find out what this is. Feeding on the Milkweed in the National Park. All the Milkweed was done flowering so late in the season but there were plenty of newly hatched Monarch Caterpillars feeding on it and this interesting moth. Now would you look at that, feeding on milkweed and largely orange and black. Who'd have guessed?
It looked a bit like a Tussock Moth of some lived on Milkweed
It couldn't be a Milkweed Tussock Moth could it?
Euchaetes egle !
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.