Last night Va called from upstairs wanting me to dispatch a bug. Instead of the more usual bug-dispatching apparatus, I brought my camera. The bug was perched on the bathroom mirror. From this we can assume two things: it is somewhat vain, and it is probably a female 😉
Actually, it is a female. I consulted my field guides and guessed that it might be an Ophion, a type of Ichneumon Wasp. I was close. I posted it on Bugguide, and had an id in half an hour from a retired entymologist who did his post doctoral work studying Ichneumonidae. He identified it as a female Netelia spp. It’s in the same family as the Ophion, so I’m not too embarrassed about my id attempt. Especially since Netelia are absent from all my field guides. Gotta love Bugguide!
After I captured the Netelia in a ziplock bag, I popped it in the fridge to let it chill out overnight. I wanted to try a more careful photograph today. I got it out after supper, put it on a white sheet of paper in the downstairs bathroom with the vanity lights on. They are super bright. Then I set up the tripod and took a couple of shots. This one turned out the best:
I don’t think this one came out as well as the hurried shot last night. The bug quickly revived and flew up to the mirror again (more vanity!). I captured her and released her in the backyard, where she will probably become a parasite to some poor caterpillar. Hopefully… to a tent caterpillar.
Today after lunch I launched a huge compile job which generally takes 15 or 20 minutes to finish. I figured that was as good a time as any to try to walk off my lunch, so I grabbed my hat and camera and took a lap around the block. I came across some St. John’s Wort:
The “perforatum” part of its name comes from the fact that its leaves are perforated. The perforations are actually tiny oil-filled glands. When a leaf is held up to the light these glands are translucent. That’s usually how I confirm my id, even when I’m already 100% positive. I just think it’s neat to look at the perforations.
Another new bloom was this one:
These flowers are still pretty new. They look better as they “ripen” a bit more, having a creamy outer corolla, and an orange inner portion. They do look a bit like an egg in a skillet. I don’t know where the butter part of the name comes from, but to me, the egg part is pretty obvious. I’ll take more shots of these as they mature. They really do look more impressive when they get a bit further along.