When it’s a bird! This Red Button Ginger certainly looked like a bird, and it was taking a bunch of ants along for the ride.
I spotted these two lady beetles on the underside of a passion vine leaf. The top one is a Seven-spotted Lady Beetle, the other a Variable Lady Beetle. But what got my attention was the fact that they appeared to be interested in the yellow spots on the leaf, as were several ants.
I knew that some passion vines produce these colored bumps to make it look like butterfly eggs are already there. Butterflies don’t like to lay eggs where another butterfly has already done so, though the leaf bumps aren’t foolproof in this regard (see here).
What I didn’t know was that the bumps produce nectar, which attracts ants, as was the case here. And the ants will defend this food source against caterpillars munching on the leaves. Isn’t nature fascinating!
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Summer Bugs.’ (See more responses here.) To the best of my knowledge, Hawaii’s bugs are pretty much the same year-round. Here are some of them.
The top photo shows a bee showing impressive balance on a maiapilo flower.
Next up, clockwise from top left: Getting down to eye level with a juvenile praying mantis. A painted lady butterfly on a kiawe tree. A katydid wondering what it’s done to deserve this much attention. A seven-spotted lady beetle being watched.
The final gallery: Top left: A mango flower beetle explores a spider lily. Top right: A watchful cane spider wondering if it should run, very fast, away. Bottom left: A Hawaiian carpenter ant (Camponotus variegatus), one of too many that have taken up residence in the house. Bottom right: A rusty millipede deciding that it’s all too much!
When I’m out walking, I rarely see praying mantis egg sacs. They’re no more than an inch long and they can blend in with the trees and branches where they tend to be found. However, on a recent walk on the coast, I saw these three sacs in the space of 20 minutes, the top two on branches and the third on a tree trunk.
I’m not sure why they caught my eye, though this is the time of year when they’re typically seen. Perhaps it was because I was watching for butterflies and dragonflies, so was paying a bit more attention to details than usual.
Each sac can contain up to 300 eggs. The eggs are encased in foam, called ootheca, which hardens into the sacs seen here. The sac in the middle photo was crawling with ants, which I suspect is not good news for the would-be mantises inside.
The happy domestic scene in the top photo is posted for Bushboy’s Last on the Card photo challenge. See more responses here.
I noticed this gathering yesterday afternoon and I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. Usually when ants find something to eat, they head back to the nest to spread the good news and in short order a line of ants is traveling back and forth to harvest their bounty. But these ants just seemed to be milling about in this area. There appears to be a blob of something that is their focus, but what it is I don’t know, though the second shot gives a bit better view.
Likely, it will be one of those situations where, when the morning rolls around, the ants have disappeared leaving no trace. If not, and they’re still there, well that’s slightly worrying.
I noticed this spider moving across a dirt road in a most peculiar way. A closer look showed the reason why. This group of ants was taking it home, but not in a warm and fuzzy kind of way.
The ants were moving at a pretty good speed, which was impressive considering there were several of them involved and all pointing in different directions. After a few moments, they scuttled over the side of a rock and out of sight.
The victim looks like some kind of jumping spider.