On this date 27

So here we are, halfway through the year, and I haven’t missed a deadline yet. I deserve a raise…

sculptured resin bee Megachile sculpturalis
Going through the folders to see what I should post, I found this little guy, included not so much (at all) because it’s a great photo, but because it made me pause and look carefully, not having seen anything of the like since this photo was taken. I popped into BugGuide.net and searched under “bumblebee mimic,” because I was sure it wasn’t a bumblebee or carpenter bee – the coloration is suspect, the head and eyes are wrong, and the antennae wrong. My searches turned up nothing, so I eventually uploaded this and another view. Full credit to BugGuide, because the answer came back before I had even logged out, literally within two minutes – this is the wonderfully named sculptured resin bee, Megachile sculpturalis. You even gotta love that scientific name – I get this mental image of a young creole superhero, Mega-Chile…

This was from 2007, by the way, and right down at the same Jordan Lake where I’ve been several times this past month. if you click on the Info tab on that linked page, you’ll find that they’re an introduced species from east Asia, first recorded in North Carolina only 12 years previously (but not by me.) We’ll leap forward a mere year now.

nest and eggs of ground skink Scincella lateralis
I’d been visiting The Girlfriend before I’d moved in with her, poking around in the yard when I uncovered this nest of eggs, later determined to be those of a ground skink (Scincella lateralis.) Scale is hard to determine here, but if it helps, there are some snail shells in the image too – I’m estimating the eggs as about 6-7mm in length. Ground skinks are very secretive, often staying hidden and blending in well when they’re not, so I see them rarely, even though I know we have at least one in the yard right now (I mean, I can’t say right now, because see above, but you know, this season.) This was the beginning of a project, by the way, but we’ll go into that later.

Now we go to 2012.

unidentified black ant with unidentified red ant head clamped onto leg
While it’s not hard to find insects with missing legs or antennae or damaged chitin, occasionally you come across something more expressive, like this. This unidentified black ant has had some past encounter with a red ant species, and while the red ant was clearly the loser in that encounter, it still managed to score some points. I have to wonder how embarrassing this is for the black ant; do the others tease him about this? Is the wife mad? How does this affect handwriting?

And a last one from 2015.

spearmint patch with hidden details
Don’t feel bad – I had to look at this for a few moments to figure out why I’d saved it in the first place, and I knew what folder it had come from. We’d had such a great crop of spearmint growing at the old place that we we obligated to reproduce it in the new, but the soil had other ideas. For this year, we had a decent little patch, but it never reproduced itself well and the best we have are sporadic plants popping up here and there. Still, it was popular when it lasted, as you’ll know if you look hard.

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