Monday, December 17, 2012

Pinky Red for Monday

Anthurium andreanum spadix with blooming flowers are not very visible to the human eyes. Those whitish -powdery stuff are the flowers.

 A lovely red insect (NOID) is seen on the spadix. Maybe it gets food from there or maybe waiting for a prey. It is shorter than 1cm in lenght from tip of the tail to the tip of the head.


Macro Monday

Ruby Tuesday 2

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December Rewards!

We  are very fortunate at the Philippine tropics for not having the very cold winters, as most of you have! I hope you will allow us at least this month to be in the most joyous moment of our lives. Christmas is a very festive season for us, and it is coupled with the lowest temperatures we have in a year. By lowest, that means we have at least around the 25°C temperatures, and it wont get lower than that, unless of course the severe climate change prediction has already happened.

We have a massive destruction from the super typhoon Pablo in some parts of Mindanao. It was actual total destruction; as in houses in whole towns are all down, coconut trees that are among the most resistant of typhoons are either uprooted or broken, bridges destroyed, rivers created another routes, and a lot of lives gone! We always see the sad scenes on TV and it really affects the collective unconscious.

Blogging relieves us from these constant reminders of agony. So i will choose the bright colors that I have lots of in our garden. There are actually more than these, but photos will already be too much if I post them in totality.

 Top and below: the ever faithful Pentas lanceolata, always saving our butterflies and insects from lack of food

Catharanthus roseus - a very hardy plant which can withstand long bouts of dryness and neglect

Vinca - a new addition to my garden, the seeds i just got from a sidewalk volunteer somewhere

Euphorbia millii - still present in our garden and producing lots of colors despite my incessant gesture of throwing them out

Orthosiphon aristatus or cat whiskers

 yellow Chrysanthemum cascading from our cement wall, flowers only this month because of its photoperiodism

   Plumbago rosea - red plumbago, it has one of the most unwieldy stem growths but the flowers will capture your hearts

 Asystasia intrusa, growing high above the golden duranta hedges

Cassia alata, still flowering despite the extensive intrusion of a lot of butterfly larvae

Crossandra infundibuliformis, never fail to flower elegantly

Duranta erecta - my perennial blue flower never failing to amuse and give me joy, and of course never fail also to give food to the ever increasing bumble bees, honeybees, wasps, praying mantis and butterflies among others.
These are some of the also blooming colors in our garden. They almost finish the leaves of the Casia alata, but i did not make a drastic punishment because they will eventually emerge as very lovely fleeting yellow butterflies called Eurema.

The leafhopper larvae are blooming too under the gourd leaves and stems. They look innocent but eventually they are deadly. Anyway, a torch will eliminate them, or else they will wreck havoc in the garden.

Even if this is not technically called bloom, they look like flowers too. These are the ripening lanzones, Lansium domesticum. These are only available in tropical Asia.  It has to be fully ripe to be sweet and delicious. Our only problem are the fruit bats, which try to finish all of them ahead of us.  We put a strong light bulb on them and that deter the coming of the bats. We will be able to have some sweet and fully ripened fruits without the bats.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - December

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Web Searches

My web searches last weekend turned out very productive. I started the day with early breakfast. The morning temperatures these days are more comfortable than any parts of the year, so I have a grand time. I just went to the hedges, under the fruit trees, and even under the ornamental plants.

While you are searching the computer web, I was searching the spider webs! Here, I will try to show you some different web configurations, and how the occupants of the webs manage their stay. I tell you they are very interesting. I assure you no animal was hurt in the process and no "home" was destroyed.

 The above is the biggest spider commonly found in our property, the widest webs, and the most sticky. Adults can have >1 meter web diameter. They are also the most scary, at least to me! This is of the Nephila species. We have the bluish and the reddish species.

 The above is lovely in red, small body ~1.5cm long, with hairy legs. Its web doesn't look like a regular spider web, but just a few strands where it can cling on in space.

 This is a jumping spider, has a regular web configuration, but the quality of its weave is not very well planned and not proportionately distributed. Look at the above spaces between the strands, they are very irregular. I guess this is not a quality conscious homemaker!

 How about the above? The strands are so thickly placed, so conscientiously woven with almost equal distances. I can imagine it took a long time before the web is finished. The occupant is just ~1cm in body length except the legs. The web is only about 2 ft in diameter.

 This looks like a crab spider. It positions itself with the two pointed horns upwards as if it is the head. However, the head is actually below the body, only posing the horns as threats to predators, i guess! In contrast with the previous web, this one leaves a small area at the center without the concentric strands. I thought somehow that maybe it is still not finished, but i waited for 3 days, and it remained like that. Maybe that is just his style.

 This is the only spider i saw with a web patterned from the solar system.  And the strands and weave are so delicately spaced as if following real dimensions. I just am surprised why there is a need for that diagonal strand crossing the circular orbit, maybe it has a certain function. I am thinking of studying again, this time it will be Arachnidology, is it the study of spiders? I just conned it now!

 This is another shot of another Nephila web, we have a lot of them under the mango and coconut trees.

 This is also just ~1 cm in body length. I cannot get a good shot as the web always sway with slight wind. Its web is also built so differently from the rest of them. It is made of long strands connected to the vegetation around it, but the concentric circles are only made at the area near the center, where the owner dwell most of the time. I wish i can show a clear distinct picture of its back, as it seems there is a cross mark there. Maybe in their kingdom, the mark for poison is also an X, so that is his mark to scare predators. Until now, i still don't know what kind of animals prey on spiders!

And this is the most spectacular web i saw in their spider kingdom. There is no pattern at all.  This is totally the exact example of organized chaos, or probably chaotic disorder! I wonder how the owner is able to get in and out of this dwelling. It somehow tells the predators that nobody is using that space, so will not bother the occupant. I actually touched the owner because i am not sure if it is dead or alive. It ran fast, so I realized this is really his real design. Maybe he is the artist among them, and his style is abstract!

Camera Critters Meme

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Blooms before Christmas 2012

There is no month in our area when you cannot see any flower at all. Even at the height of the dry season, some perennials still produce some bright colors, even if just a few. The colors now are fading off before the dry season begins, but we still have a lot. I just posted a few here (as it is almost about midnight already, yaaaawn!).

Red Salvia - i just realized that they have eyes, just see them in this photo!

Crossandra infundibuliformis

Crinum lily - blooms only during the rainy season

Coleus blumei

remnants of white Petunia

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Elegant Insect Skirts

This thing mesmerize me! These organisms wear white skirts, flamboyantly swaying with the wind, very elegant. They are in groups at the underside of a gourd leaf, or sometimes on the stem. It is a bit disconcerting, but attractive to me. There are feathery parts arising on them. I searched using feathery insects or cottony insect larvae, but can't find the same. I used other descriptions using white to describe the very obvious characteristics, but led to nowhere too. There are some whiteflies, coccinelid larvae, lacewing larvae, i searched for life cycles, but to no avail. I hope this will come in contact with an entomologist who will lead me to its descriptions and or importance.

 These are some groups of this insect at the underside of a luffa or gourd. You can't really see what they are, as if they are just feathery remnants of something. I am actually hoping that these are either coccinelids or lacewing larvae, predators of mealybugs and scale insects. But that is just my hope.

 Close observations showed that one individual has a lot of those feathers arising from its body except the thorax and head. Normal conditions will not allow you to see their bodies. I blow some air to them, and the individual insects showed up. The feathers even detach from the body if I blow harder. Sometimes the insects are blown away too!

 Look at the photo above and below, showing the insect head, thorax and legs. It is completely white.

 The above insect remains, shed off the skirt when i strongly blow it, the feathers completely went off. Most of the feathers are attached to its behind, now looking fragile and helpless, i wonder if they will die when their skirt is gone!

This moth is always near them, associate with them. I blew it off, but after a few minutes the moth returned to the brood. It is really perplexing, now I am inclined to think that these might be some moth larvae undergoing some unusual instar shifts. Or probably the moth is getting some benefits from the remnants of the larvae. I have asked some entomologists via Facebook, but they seem not to be frequenting their sites. My patience is wearing thin. I cannot wait.

Hurray, i posted the photos in a Malaysian Gardening forum, and someone posted the same photos, calling it leafhoppers. I searched and yes, they are leafhoppers, therefore unwanted by crops and not predators of mealybugs. Now i can give instructions to my sister in the province to torch them to death. It will like an electric chair death penalty.

P.S. (4 March 2013) 
That adult is actually the mother of those leafhoppers! 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Variety Shows!

I will veer away for a while from Oxygen Generators! I've been posting spiders, larvae, butterflies and other insects. I might be forgetting the bigger animals we have around. I am sorry for adulterating the contents of my blogsite, but please bear with me, i miss our pets! Considering that a lot of my files always contain many shots about them, I am wondering why they just stayed there as files. So i will post them here as some intermission. Variety programs have intermissions, don't they? Even political speeches have some intermission sometimes, so here are my intermissions from Oxygen Generators posts.

Cats have wonderful sense of smell and hearing. They can discern the type of sound that we humans cannot even hear. That means they know the difference of an approaching cricket, or a scurrying mouse! And they smell differently too, which i think favors anything fishy. But i am sure, they don't share with us our abhorrence for their urine and litter, which is among the worst smell for me!

 If nothing is available to keep them warm, they warm themselves through a very close huddle.

 And they are very resourceful too! Who will think of a hot as a wonderful sleeping quarter!

 Aren't they sweet?

 he is male so a little dominant

 he is male too and looks wary of the more mature older generation sibling

 they have lots of expressions, can you guess what he saw to give this stare?

unassuming, he doesn't care at all, he is just in deep contemplation!

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