It's hollyhock season again.
Some plants just have flower buds.
Others are flowering.
Once again, having a certain kind of plant means having a certain kind of insect.
In this case, the insects are oblong-winged katydid nymphs.
Wow, those antennae are so long.
I checked, and I had found the same kind of katydid nymphs on May 1, 2013. They were also on hollyhocks.
I only have a few hollyhock plants in my yard, and I'm pretty sure none of my immediate neighbors have them. I wonder how the katydids even find them, let alone show up with such regularity.
I guess if you eat mainly hollyhocks, you're probably pretty great at finding them.
Did you identify the insects we found on common milkweed?
A. The beetles are red milkweed beetles, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus. They are a type of longhorned beetle.
The bright red and black adults are easy to spot. They make a squeaking sound if they are captured.
The larvae are not as easy to find. They feed on the roots of milkweed plants under the soil.
B. This is a Baltimore checkerspot butterfly. Do you see the orange tips on its antennae?
The caterpillars are orange and black as well.
The Baltimore checkerspot larvae do not feed on milkweeds. They eat other wildflowers, like hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus), and English plantain (Plantago lanceolata).
Have you ever seen these insects?
We have a lot of white threads around this week.
The threads are a type of silk.
Here's another patch of silk.
One patch of silk was made by the creature in the photograph above.
The other patch of silk was made by these creatures.
Can you tell which is which?
Why do you think the animals make silk? Do they both make it for the same reason(s)?