Sunday, June 28, 2015

A White Moth

I chanced upon this moth on the wall. It is about 2 cm in length, and because it's daytime it maybe is sleeping. Its feet are firmly anchored on the wall though. I tried to pry it away from the wall, but it didn't budge. I also tried to scare it so it gets defensive and might open its wings, however it didn't allow me to see its wonderfully colored body.

I love how it mimicked those 2 black eyes, which are only decoys for their predator as if it is very big.

 That is the full stance of this white moth, which didn't give me the privilege to see the red body. Most insects are said to be poisonous when they have very bright colors, and some butterflies mimic the red color to give a wrong impression to predators.

That is the color of its whole body, bright red. The hind wings even have those dramatic black dots, which complete the design to look big. Unfortunately, this one succumbed to its death, and the ants are their to get a share of it as their food. I wonder if this is the mate of the other one above which is still alive.

I've posted this in a lepidoptera group in FB and an authority identified it as Red Costate Tiger Moth, Aloa lactinea (Erebidae: Arctiinae).

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dry Season Tolerants or Tortured Plants

Our long dry season this year is extending beyond the month we are accustomed of experiencing.  In the past years since i remember, May is the start of our rainy season, a much awaited event as it pacifies the very hot environment; thirsty plants, cracking soils and impatient humans. With the very famous climate change and its accompanying famous actor El Nino, our temperature is now 36°C with a Heat Index of 40.2C. For temperate country dwellers you might not be able to relate to these conditions, so i will tell you it is definitely terrible, most specially because we have a high Relative Humidity. It is hellish to walk outside even at 8:00 in the morning. Heat doesn't dissipate at night much because of the cement jungle we have in the city. Use of airconditioning units is a must, but unfortunate of unfortunates, mine is out of order so i am just using electric fans. 

 Sansevieria trifasciata

Despite the above conditions plus the unavailable water for the plants, i still saw a few blooms. They bloom no matter what. This is not a distress situation to perpetuate the species, but it is their real time of blooming. They just suffer in the number of flowers per spike or the length of their bloom life. The above sansevieria never fails to produce the sweet scent at night, permeating through our windows. It however opens only for one night per spike, other spikes will bloom some other nights.

Dendrobium stuartiana

This Dendrobium normally has a lot of flowers in a long spike, producing also a very lovely sweet scent in the morning. This spike however was not able to lengthen much and only 1 bloom appeared. It stays for a few days though. 

 Dendrobium hybrid 

 Cosmos bipinnatum

Cosmos is very common, a lot of them blooming in the rainy season. This one only grows this dry season beneath the hoya plants, so it received some water drips from the hoyas. 

This Justicia is also under the hoya plants, so it can share with them some shade, gets some water drips and some cold.

This is my sisters plants, her house has water more available than ours, so she can water them luxuriously. It rewarded her with a lot of spikes.

 Hippeastrum roseum
It flowers only after a long dry season and a little water will induce it to bloom. Artificial watering was able to produce these flowers. 

This is an acclimatized gaillardia, has been with us for four years from the US. It is a bit dwindling for lack of water, but it still can produce a few blooms despite the lack. It is my favorite for photography, it always looks lovely in photos.

 Tagetes erecta 
This yellow marigold also tries hard to live in a very harsh environment. It however is very short  and has very few sickly leaves. Mealy bugs also infested it so much because they too need to eat. 

 a Vanda hybrid
This Vanda plant shows water dehydration in all its parts. Yet it still produce a few flowers despite the very sick and thirsty appearance. A single fruit fly in turn is feeding on the blooms surface.

 Ixora coccincinensis
This Ixora is one of the most drought tolerant plants. I produced lots of umbels no matter what. It can use a little water for nice growth, now its leaves are all yellowed but it will successfully survive this ordeal. It has been tortured like this yearly and always come out well.

 Heliconia rostrata

The same condition describes this Heliconia. The dry season is the culmination of its life cycle, producing a lot of those beautifully colored bracts. Then eventually they will dry and the rhizomes will start growing another plants when the rainy season starts. 

If i didn not consolidate these colors in single flower photos here, it is not easy to conclude that our dry season also brings out some pretty blooms. Looking at the totality of our garden, it just looks chaotic, weary, wanting and dead. Summing them up provides a very positive view, as if nothing bad is happening in the big picture. Can you relate to how our garden now looks like, with all of these blooms in isolated areas? I hope you do.

Post Script: This draft is made 2 weeks ago, but have been busy in between. Last weekend we already have the rains and rainy season just started. Our plants and land are already happy at the time of this writing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Reminiscences of Past Mays-June

I am a bit curious how biological presence change in our area for the past years. This ensued because we have a very long and hot dry season this year, it is already June and rain is not yet heard when to first visit. This morning the temperature forecast for Metro Manila will be 39C with feeling intensity of 40.2C. Oh My God, can you imagine a feeling of 40.2C! That is already the temperature when kids get convulsions and lost their minds! Our farmlands are cracking dry, crops impossibly will survive. They just all dry and will later be fed as stover for livestock. There are also incidences of heat stroke and a few already died. Everyone is yelling for rain, yet no typhoons are already seen in the horizon. Typhoons are our wish now for they always bring rains.

So i searched my files for May 2012 or 3 years ago, if there really are big differences in terms of plants and flying wildlife.

The orioles are still heard chirping in some mornings, but i haven't seen them anymore. I guess they also hide in deep thickets or to areas with better vegetation for safety from heat. The above photo was taken at noon on a coconut leaf just as tall as the house. This month i haven't seen any of them.

 That red Clerodendrum is still flowering as usual, but the butterfly is nowhere to be seen. I guess the host plants for the larvae already dried from the extreme drought and heat.

 The small butterfly on a pea leaf is not around anymore too. Even that pea plant has long been gone and dried. Not even the goats were able to partake of the legumes.

Another butterfly on a green pea leaves is nowhere to find too.  I think it is a comma butterfly. 

In the past years, that Duranta erecta sustain the lives of butterflies and other insects, as they withstood heat and a bit tolerant of drought. However, this month it is also showing extreme stress and the leaves are closing and falling. Flowers are absent and no insects will be fed this time.

Ixora javanica above shows lush leaves and flowers. It is one plant whose roots are deep to get some water in deeper lengths. This month only a few flowers are seen and the leaves are turning yellow. Only some spiders are seen when i scrutinize the under leaves.

Three years is enough to compare the changes in vegetation and insect presence in our area. Climate change has proven its toll on our biological diversity. So the Intensity Feeling by humans as forecasted by the weather bureau is not really felt by humans alone, other live inhabitants feel it as well, and the resulting pictures are very revealing. As to how high the temperatures will get and how long our droughts will become for the years to come is already scary! If just 3 years can already show the evidences, we really must be scared in decades to come. OMG what do we do???!!!

P.S. This post was drafted in May, it is now June and there are already a couple of afternoon rains in the metropolis. However, in the province it is still very dry. The Weather Bureau has not yet declared that the Rainy Season has started. They need more continuous daily rains to officially declare it. And we badly need the rains too!