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Given all that is going on in the world these days, you might not have noticed an article about insect populations undergoing "death by a thousand cuts." (Scientific article in PNASAP article carried by various outlets). Essentially, the authors have gathered 12 studies written by 56 scientists around the world showing that insect numbers are in decline.

What to do? Go out and see some insects, of course.

Even though it has been relatively cold, plus dry to the extreme, we still have bees in the desert marigold flowers.

The pollen baskets on her back legs are packed with pollen, which she is carrying from flower to flower. What bits of pollen that dribble off will pollinate the next flower she visits.

This week the honey bees prefer the fairy dusters and the rosemary plants, both of which are flowering as well. The fairy duster flower is unusual -- a puffy cluster of anthers.

The bottom line is that one way to help pollinators is to plant a diversity of flowers, especially native ones.

Do you plan to plant flowers this year?

How did you do with the photo matching quiz from last week?

A. Cicada

matches the cicada nymph exoskeleton on the tree, G.

Cicada nymphs spend one or more years underground before they emerge as adults.

This queen butterfly, B, matches it's caterpillar, H.

They both resemble monarchs, which also feed on milkweeds. Monarchs and viceroys are also close mimics.

 

The insect above, C, Is a honeybee, which build honeycomb below, L.

The ladybug D, emerges from a ladybug pupa like the one below, I.

 

Finally, F, is a genista moth, which was probably the hardest to identify. It's caterpillar is K, below. They feed on a very specific host plant, Texas mountain laurel.

Hope you had fun with this challenging game.

In the past I've posted an end of the year list of my favorite photographs. This year let's mix it up with a matching quiz. Can you match the adult insect with its immature stage or something associated with it? If you want to, leave your results in the comments. Bonus points for correct identifications. Note: Not all letters have been used. All the photos are from 2020.

Adult Insects:

A. She's a big-eyed beauty on a stick.

B. This mimic may fool you because it resembles another popular insect.

C. Often seen visiting flowers.

D. Flies away to the mountains in the summer.

K. The hardest of all, although the answer is here in the blog.

Now match the adults with their life stages or products.

F.  Has a very specific host plant.

G. Sitting on a tree trunk.

H. Hungry, hungry.

I. What life stage is this?

L. Not an insect, but produced by insects.

Have fun!

(The answers are now posted.)