Friday, May 06, 2005

ENV: Not-Really-a-Cat-Friday

Today was a kind of neat day.

First, Chris Anderson, a doctoral student from UCLA is visiting here to do research on geographic variation in a group of damselflies in the genus Hetaerina (actually, after discussion with him today, it's obvious he has a much broader interest in them -- sexual dynamics and agonistic behavior, among other things).

We know these in the common language as Rubyspots. Two species of these occur here in my "yard" as it were, the low water crossing that feeds into our property -- the American Rubyspot, Hetaerina americana (previously featured here), and the Smoky Rubyspot, Hetaerina titia. For his project he's flagging portions of the Guadalupe River here and looking at territorial disputes. He'll also venture to some of the locales where Greg Lasley and i have located these species across the Hill Country to collect.

Greg will also be arriving tomorrow with the eminent Danish odonatologist Erland Nielsen (see links on the left under Odonata) as they tour the Hill Country looking at our special amalgamation of bugs.

Which brings me to today's Not-Really-a-Cat-Friday critter. I had hoped for great weather for everyone this weekend, but today was mostly cloudy and windy and kept a lot of things close to the vegetation.

I have been awaiting the first really good lep day of the spring around here -- though my wait seems paralleled elsewhere as flying leps seem way down from last year, and who knows why.

Anyway, i saw only three leps today (though admittedly i wasn't out long) -- a gorgeous, fresh Question Mark that landed at my feet and that i couldn't focus binoculars on (and didn't dare move to get a camera); a Red-spotted Purple flitting around the Box Elders (and oddly enough one of the few species that seems more common than usual); and a single Dainty Sulphur.

I walked through my wild patch and noted the first bloom of the year on a Cowpen Daisy here. This plant, Verbesina encelioides, is one of a couple that make up the bulk of the wild patch here, along with the congener Frostweed, Verbesina virginica. In October they are normally swarming with butterflies.

So, in honor of that one flower, and in spite of the weather, i looked for some old, good pics of bugs on Cowpen Daisy and chose the following series of Border (or Adjutrix) Patches in foreplay and copula taken on several days in September and October 2002. Sort of a "Patches at The Patch."

Bordered (Adjutrix) Patch, Chlosyne lacinia adjutrix
TX: Kerr Co., Guadalupe River, September/October 2002


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