June 4th, 2016

dandelion

Testing a new bug catcher

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This ichneumonoid wasp is the test subject for my use of the bugalien bug catcher. It's a clear plastic pac man that you clomp over the insect or spider you want to catch. So far it's only worked for me for relatively large and slow bugs.

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I like that it allows you to catch and release beneficial insects like this one without harming them. Although you could easily mishandle the clomper and maim a bug in the attempt to catch.
dandelion

Oh, oh oothecae!

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We wild-collected two Chinese mantis oothecae (egg masses--pronounced Oh oh thus see!) and kept them in a jar until they hatched.

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Once they hatched we let the tiny predators out in the yard, focusing on plants damaged by grazing herbivores. This pathetic maple sapling has been reduced to mush by winter moth caterpillars and aphids. Go to work, babies!

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There's something so endearing about these minuscule murderers.

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Go forth little one! We'll collect your ootheca if you survive to make any.
dandelion

Cutler Park Boardwalk

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I think Zari appreciates me as a naturalist, but isn't too happy with me as a photographer. This is right as she noticed the ferns among the cattails.

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None of us present knew the identity of this wildflower. A little digging turned up "swamp cinquefoil," Comarum palustre, found in wetlands throughout the northern part of the northern hemisphere.

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I appreciate the reassuring messages on the boardwalk.

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I hadn't thought about it before, but I guess they must trim back the cattails that come up through the boardwalk.