Friday, July 03, 2015

WWW...Weird, Wacky, Wonderful...

W-E-I-R-D!
That's what this update is going to be. I like nothing better than finding the unusual, strange, odd, or just plain old weird. Why not dedicate a complete update to this subject? No point in answering really. that's what I am going to do anyhow. Are you all sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...

A couple of strange looking caterpillars to get us underway...



The first picture is of a Pebble Prominent larva. I just love these beauties. They have a surreal look about them, as if they are the result of some kind of magical spell.
The second one is...well...that's what's weird! It isn't a caterpillar at all, but a growth. Puccinia urticata. It is a rust fungus that develops on the leaves of stinging nettles. 


Next is this lump of walking excrement...
                       
               
This is actually the larva of the Cereal Leaf Beetle (Oulema melanopus) and what you are seeing here is, for want of a better word, Poop! Okay there is a better word come to think of it. Well two words anyhow, 'Fecal shield' is the correct term. Many leaf beetles create fecal shields by depositing feces on their backs. It's a good disguise/camouflage and even if it weren't, would you want to eat one?

Another prehistoric looking bug now...


This is the Horned Treehopper (Centrotus cornutus) a strange-looking homopteran that is about 10mm long. It feeds on plant juices, overwinters as a nymph and has a 2 year life-cycle.


Not such an odd beast to follow but a weird pose as this crow tries to stay cool in the recent temperatures of 30c/86f plus...


To me it looks like this bird is doing an impression of Norman Wisdom...



We are all familiar with tadpoles right? But who knew they looked like this from below?




Returning to caterpillars for a moment, here is one that is in what seems to be a really odd pose, and yet is quite normal for this species...



Another of the prominent moth caterpillars. This time a Coxcomb Prominent. This appears to be a defensive posture but I have seen them at rest like this too. It is quite a relief when they relax out of this position though, as this next picture shows. He's quite happy...


He didn't stay happy for too long mind you. A while later the same day, he moulted and lost his head completely...





What could I possibly follow that with? How about this head...


It's a Rhea. I know, I know, the irony isn't lost on me either that I am showing you the front of a rhea!


I've been chastising myself for getting too much light on to this subject...


Even so, it seemed the natural thing to follow the Rhea photo. It's a parasitised aphid don't you know. Seamless juxtaposition of photographs eh?


Hmmm...I am thinking that maybe I have shared enough 'weirdo' pictures for one day but I have just a couple more to add before running for cover...


I found this (above) suspended from a willow tree a while back. It is a spider egg sac, although I don't know species. I checked on it a couple of days later and it looked like this...




Alright...the last one is, not too weird at all really. It's just a tiny 24-spot ladybird larva...



And that's it. Other than to alert you to my latest published article for Magnet magazine. I am particularly pleased with how it looks this month and kinda proud of it, so why not take a look for yourself?



One last thought. Here's a photo that I'll leave you to contemplate, rather than offering an identity because I hope to make this the subject for my next Magnet contribution in August...



Until the next time...

5 comments:

  1. Nice post! My personal favourites are that post moult head and treehopper. Both are amazing.
    The Crow however I think is not afraid of the heat. What he is doing is called Anting. I find my Doves doing it when its burning hot even for a sub-tropical region like mine. Also not sure about Sun Shade temperature difference at your angle of Sun but out here it can easily be 8 degrees and I have always seen them Anting in full Sun.

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    Replies
    1. Hi!
      Thanks so much for your comment. I had not heard of birds 'Anting' before but it does seem to fit with what you describe and so thanks again for informing me. I love to learn new things.

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  2. Weird, wacky, but most definitely wonderful!!! The first time I saw that nettle rust I was convinced I'd found a caterpillar. Such a peculiar growth.
    Just love Norman Wisdom so love your 'Rook' (bald around base of beak makes it a Rook I think) impersonation of him.
    Fascinating info and perfectly illustrated as ever JJ!
    Mx

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    Replies
    1. Thank-you Maria. Yes those growths are really strange and disconcerting at first sight. So my crow is a rook! Not done too well with this update regards bird information, but then...never was my strong point ;-)

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