Monthly Archives: June 2013

Plant-Insect Interaction: Syrphid fly feeding on grass pollen

True grasses (Poaceae) are typically wind-pollinated plants. From their tall flower heads they cast pollen containing male gametes into the breeze. Some of the pollen may land on the female parts of flowers, resulting in fertilization. Although insects aren’t necessary … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Mountain laurel

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia, Ericaceae) can be found in and around the Appalachian Mountains from Maine through the southeast. This shrub or small tree features thick, leathery, whorled leaves that are evergreen even in relatively cool climates. It’s perhaps best known … Continue reading

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Mourning Dove feeding squabs

I first noticed a pair of Mourning Doves (Columbiformes: Columbidae: Zenaida macroura) nesting above the front door of my friend’s shop eight days ago. Four days ago I caught my first glimpse of one of the newly-hatched squabs. Just today … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Winged aphids

Aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae) can often be seen in large groups feeding on plants. These tiny, soft-bodied insects spend most of their time crowded together, getting plump off of the juices of their particular hosts. Some species are serious crop pests, … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Lace bug

Lace bugs (Hemiptera: Tingidae) are some of the tiniest, most delicate creatures I observe on a regular basis. Only a few millimeters in length, the individual shown here was dwarfed by the whorls of my thumb. Although small some of … Continue reading

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Mourning Dove and squab

The other day I wrote about a pair of Mourning Doves (Columbiformes: Columbidae: Zenaida macroura) that had built a nest above the front door of a friend’s shop. They had been taking turns incubating their eggs, seeming completely unbothered by all the people … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Silky beach pea

Silky beach pea (Lathyrus littoralis, Fabaceae) can be found exclusively on coastal dunes along the Pacific Ocean from British Columbia through northern California. Although growing to only 18-24″ in height, this perennial stands out thanks to its fuzzy foliage and striking bicolored flowers. These … Continue reading

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