Category Archives: Animals

Stop that incessant buzzing

A gecko and a bee on an agave attenuata in Hawaii
A gecko and a bee on an agave attenuata in Hawaii
A gecko on an agave attenuata in Hawaii

I couldn’t resist returning to the Agave Attenuata currently blooming in the yard. On this occasion, I was watching a gecko buried in the flower when one of the bees that have been collecting from the flowers came into the frame.

The gecko looked decidedly unimpressed by the bee’s proximity, and relieved when it disappeared.

Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here).

Slurp

A gold dust day gecko on and agave attentuata

One of the Agave Attenuatas in my yard is currently blooming, the first one here to do that since I’ve lived here. Because of this, when I walk around the garden, I’ve been paying particular attention to this plant. Bees have been busy in the vicinity, but geckos have been equally drawn to the goodies on offer.

Here, a Gold Dust Day Gecko licks one of the unopened flowers. Not sure if it was after moisture, something sweet, or some of the numerous aphids that have can be seen on the plant.

Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here).

How now brown cow?

A cow near Upolu, Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge is ‘Leather (shades of brown).’ See more responses here.

This seemed an appropriate topic for some cattle photos, taken on my walks at Upolu and Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a. And, yes, not all of them are cows!

Also posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here).

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar

A Monarch Butterfly caterpillar on a Hawaiian Crown Flower leaf

Yesterday, I posted about Aphis nerii aphids descending on a Hawaiian Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea). After they were gone the plant continued to do well for a day or two. Then holes started to appear in the leaves and arcs along the edges.

Closer examination revealed a couple of tiny Monarch Butterfly caterpillars munching their way around the leaves. The Crown Flower is a favorite host for these caterpillars, so this wasn’t a surprise. We were also keen to provide an area for the Monarchs to thrive in. So we let the caterpillars be and monitored the situation.

What happened, not surprisingly, is that the caterpillars grew quickly. As they did so, the leaves of the plant diminished accordingly. I was gone for my weekend, and when I returned, the caterpillars had more than doubled in size. The plant though looked like someone had gone at it with a machete. We wondered if the caterpillars would devour the whole thing before they pupated.

When I returned to work after another weekend, the caterpillars were gone. As the Crown Flower was food for the caterpillars, so it appeared, the caterpillars were food for the numerous birds in the area.

The plant will likely recover from its ravishing and, once it’s bigger, it might be better able to accommodate the attentions of these caterpillars and in turn provide more cover for them from the birds. Or not! I will monitor the situation.

Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (see more responses here).

A Monarch Butterfly caterpillar on a Hawaiian Crown Flower leaf

Aphis nerii aphids

Aphis neni aphids on a Hawaiian Crownflower leaf
Aphis neni aphids on a Hawaiian Crownflower leaf

I like hiking, as indicated by my last few posts, but I’m equally happy with a walk around the yard, at home or at work.

Recently, we planted a Hawaiian Crown Flower (Calotropis gigantea) at work. This was a stick with two small leaves on top. The two leaves dried up and the stem turned brown. It looked doomed, but then new leaves popped out near the bottom and the plant took off. New leaves every day, steady growth.

Then one day these showed up, little yellow drops, like tiny lemon candies. Close examination revealed legs and heads. Aphids! I think these are Aphis nerii, otherwise known as the Oleander or Milkweed aphid. These little sap suckers can do a lot of damage so we hosed them off, though I doubt the ladybug in the bottom photo was best pleased since aphids are a tasty meal for them.

Still, with the aphids gone, the plant continued to thrive until … (to be continued)

Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here).

Aphis neni aphids on a Hawaiian Crownflower leaf

Stink bug

A four-humped stink bug (Brochymena quadripustulata) in Hawaii
A four-humped stink bug (Brochymena quadripustulata) in Hawaii
A four-humped stink bug (Brochymena quadripustulata) in Hawaii

Recently, I posted (here) about a wasp I saw clambering through the grass. The reason I noticed the wasp was because I was down on my hands and knees taking photos of this creature. I think this is a Four-humped Stink Bug (Brochymena quadripustulata).

Like the wasp, the stink bug was going up and down blades of grass, though less frenetically than the wasp. After a while, it tired of my attentions and took off, flying directly towards my nose, a hard-to-miss target. I ducked out of the way and it whizzed by and disappeared.