Sunday, March 8, 2009

Teeny Critters

We'll start with this one, because the rest get a little better each time. I didn't see this one right away, and the tiny aphid I almost missed completely. The larger insect looking downward is a lacewing, I am pretty sure of that. It is smaller than most other lacewings I've seen, but they must grow from a smaller size to what I would term 'normal' size. Anyhow this one is about a third of 'normal' for green lacewings. They are helpful insects to have around as they tend to eat garden pests such as aphids. Lower middle of the picture you can make out the rear end of a lone aphid, probably about to become lunch.

I did my best to follow this tiny mite. Spider mite? The bright red made it easy to spot, even though it would barely cover the period at the end of this sentance, but would also fit inside the hole in the number8.

I don't know if it was trying to hide from me, but it was motionless as I first approached. Once I started trying to take pictures it started moving to the underside of the leaves and branches. With such a small range of focus, it took several attempts to get anything near decent. These are very tight crops of larger pictures to give you an indication of just how tiny this thing is.

I really don't know what type of fly this is, but it is very tiny. The middle part of the flower is maybe as big around a pencil eraser. The fly could easily fit inside a straw. Maybe someone with a little more background in bugwatching can help.

Here is the crab spider from the desert marigold picture a few posts ago. I cropped it tight in case it is too difficult to make out on the other post. This little guy could possibly stretch those long forelegs across my thumbnail.

Here is a good example of why lacewings and lady bugs are so helpful. One aphid isn't going to damage a healthy plant too terribly much. Take a large family of hungry aphids and allow them to raise their young and the plant isn't going to survive without some intervention. I thought these were flowers at first glance.

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