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.
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.
(The answers are now posted.)
What's happening on the rush milkweed this week?
No caterpillars yet, but we do have a butterfly.
Recognize this little guy? He has antennae with hooks at the tips and oddly folded wings, so he is a skipper.
Any idea what he may be doing? Let's look from another angle.
This is a flower bud, so he isn't feeding. I don't know if you can tell, but he's positioned so his back is to the sun.
I caught him on several other plants in the same orientation. If it had been a cool morning, I might have suspected he was warming up. However, the temperature is currently in the high 80s Fahrenheit.
It turns out male skippers have dark patches on their wings called androconial scales that release pheromones to attract females. This male is perching and displaying.
This photograph doesn't show it well. You can see the bands on the wings better by scrolling down to the skipper section in this butterfly wing anatomy article.
I also wonder if the teal green color on the thorax might be of significance.
Skipper larvae feed on grass. In our neighborhood more and more of the grass lawns are being replaced with artificial turf, which is good in the desert because it requires less water, but unfortunate for skippers.
As promised, I've been keeping an eye on the rush milkweed to see what is happening.
No caterpillars yet, but we've had more of these:
Monarch butterflies are still laying eggs.
Each flower bud cluster now has at least one egg.
With temperatures ranging from 99 degrees Fahrenheit to the 30s, we'll see how many hatch.