Micromoth

February 12th, 2012 - 2:36 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

8mm long | July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Side view

Caterpillar

February 12th, 2012 - 2:26 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

13mm long | July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Barklice

February 12th, 2012 - 2:14 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

9mm long | July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Because they are gregarious, one rarely sees a lone barklouse. I was surprised to find this one by itself on a leaf. There might have been a group nearby, but I didn’t find them.

Elsewhere in the park though, I did find an aggregation.

Barklice on the side of a tree

Closer view

Mystery Egg Mass

January 29th, 2012 - 9:59 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 4 Comments

25mm long | July 12, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

What looks a bit like peanut brittle is presumably an egg mass. I found this on lichen covered bark at the base of a tree. Overall it was about 25mm long, which would make each of the embedded eggs less than 2mm long.

Side view

Each egg appears to be elliptical, with a sort of knob at the exposed end.

Closeup

I don’t have a clue what is responsible for this, so I’d love to see comments from anyone that might have an idea. I’ve been through the “Eggs and Egg Cases” chapter of Tracks & Sign of Insects a few times already, but I haven’t spotted any likely suspects.

Leaf-mining Leaf Beetle

January 28th, 2012 - 10:57 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

8mm long | July 12, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

This attractive little beetle was resting when I found it. Looking at it here, it almost appears to be nature’s idea of a gaudy holiday light display. Just imagine each of those elytral punctures as a tiny LED, and then imagine them programmed so that the dorsal patterns shift down the eltytra, one puncture at a time. Jokes aside, it actually blends in pretty well with the browning foliage.

This is a leaf-mining leaf beetle, so called because the larvae feed between the surfaces of leaves, creating mines. Adults feed on foliage, and it may be responsible for some of the leaf damage visible here, though I didn’t actually see it eating.

Frontal view

The larvae are flattened, making it easier to move within their mines. Adults seem to share this trait.

Dorsolateral view

Mystery Eggs

January 26th, 2012 - 9:40 PM | Filed under Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Egg, ~1mm wide | July 12, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

These curiously textured and patterned eggs were placed on a dried leaf tip. I don’t recall ever seeing anything quite like them. I don’t know what they are, but I’d guess moth eggs.

Some of the ones around the edge are a bit crumpled.

Edge shot, showing crumpling

Here’s a wider view, to give you some context for the placement.

Wider shot, showing placement

Chalcid Wasp

January 25th, 2012 - 7:11 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

5mm long | July 12, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

This is the first time I can recall encountering one of these wasps in the field. Chalcid wasps are easily recognized by their enlarged hind femora.

If you missed the one that emerged from a chrysalis I collected, check out this earlier post.

Parasitic Wasp Cocoon

January 24th, 2012 - 9:48 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 3 Comments

6mm long | July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

These attractively patterned little cocoons seem to be a common sight no matter where I travel. Each one holds the pupa of a parasitic wasp. I’ll often find what’s left of a caterpillar host nearby. The ones I notice are usually suspended by a thread, as here. That’s not always the case though.

Assassin Bug

December 10th, 2011 - 9:55 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 3 Comments

July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

This assassin bug mimics a bee quite well. It even seems to have pollen baskets on its hind legs.

Parasitoid Wasp Emerging

December 7th, 2011 - 9:34 PM | Filed under Easter Eggs, Featured Photos | 1 Comment

July 8, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Each one of these eggs from the underside of a leaf was parasitized by a wasp.  Their barrel shape with round fringed caps suggests they might be stink bug eggs. Had a stink bug nymph emerged, the caps would have been neatly opened. Instead, they each have a roundish hole chewed in them. In fact, there’s a parasitoid wasp straggler chewing its way free from the rightmost egg.

I might be seeing things, but you can almost make out the wasp’s body through the transparent egg shell.

View from the other side

I didn’t notice at the time, but a mite came along.

Mite approaching

Reference:

Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates:
A Guide to North American Species

by Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney