The Ten-lined June Beetle is a large (up to 3 cm) beetle that I associate with very warm summer nights. This beetle spends most of its life as an underground grub feeding on roots. In sandy soils they can be a pest on orchards, and here they can do some damage to strawberry patches. Adults are leaf feeders, although they seldom consume enough to become pests. The Latin name (Polyphylla decemlineata) Many-leaf ten-strip, refers to the peculiar antennae of the male. When stressed the male folds the separate "leaves" of the antennae together, as shown in this picture. When relaxed (he didn't get to the relaxed state during the photography session), they separate into a series of leaves, like the slats of a venetian blind. These structures are used to detect female pheromones. Larvae can take as long as four years to reach the adult form.
This introduced species of wasp is from the western US States. The galls are tiny, pin head sized round galls that form the house and shouldn't be confused with the other species of gall often found on Garry Oak (#24). On Vancouver Island it was first found in 1986, and it is assumed to have been introduced here.
Inside the gall, the larvae of the wasp is curled into a "C" shape, eventually reaching 1.5 mm long. The larvae lives inside the gall feeding on the interior of the gall wall.
The jumping gall wasp (Neuroterus saltatorius) completes two generations each year. The first generation is "gamic", consisting of both males and females, while the second generation is made up of only females. The first generation is started by the females emerging from underground and laying up to 150 eggs in the swelling buds of Garry Oak in the second half of March. Adults emerge from these galls in the first half of May. Some clumps of galls produce males and other females, but not both.
Females are darker, with more rounded abdomens than males.
After mating, a gamic female lays up to 70 eggs one at a time, on the underside of the leaf, preferring the most recently formed unhardened leaves at the end of the branches. In early June the "agamic" generation have hatched and tiny galls begin to form on the lower surface of the leaf and by mid-June many of these galls have matured into mustard seed-like galls, 1.0–1.5 mm in diameter.
The galls start to fall off the leaf in late June to mid July with a small number dropping off in August and September.
Once on the ground the curled larvae flexed and the flexible walls of the round gall move. The purpose of this movement is to work the gall into the soil to overwinter there. Often however, the gall jumps from this flexing motion, hence the name. On dry July days you can hear the noise of jumping galls as they move and land on the dry leaf litter. The "jumping period" can last for 8 weeks. The wasp pupates in the gall, underground and is fully adult inside the gall by October, but stays inside until spring.
Heavily infested trees can have a scorched appearance by mid summer, and it can cause leaf drop. An excellent extenion pamphlet on the life history of this species can be found by clicking here.
Running Crab Spider (Philodromus dispar) is a common crab spider found in trees and bushes at Leaning Oaks. It is a" sit-and-wait" predator and hunts by ambushing its prey. It does not build a web (what looks like a web in this photograph are actually reflections of its legs on a thermopane window ). Males are a shiny black or dark brown with a white edging, females are much more variable in both size and colour. As you can see the palps are large on this species (making it look like it is wearing boxing gloves). This male was photographed hunting at night on the sliding glass doors on the house, no doubt attracted to the insects lured by the lights inside the house. It is yet another introduced invertebrate from Europe.
This is another introduced Woodlouse from Europe, and a handsome one at that. Striped Woodlice (Philoscia muscorum) are named for the dark stripe that runs down the back of the animal. It's other common name the Fast Woodlouse is a reference to its ability to run more quickly than the other common woodlice. Native to Europe, it was been introduced into parts of North America, including Washington State and BC, and New Zealand.
This behemoth of a beetle buzzed past like a wee helicopter before landing on my chest. All three centimeters barely fit in the collecting jar that just happened to be in my pocket (and at the same time releasing another beetle that was going to be way harder to identify!) The larvae of Chalcophora angulicollis feed on the dead wood of coniferous trees, including Douglas-fir. They start when the tree has just died or dying and though they may not be killing the tree, they will lower the value of the timber.
When trying to find out any information that I could on this spectacular and heavy beetle I came across this great T-shirt with a beautiful illustration of the pine borer in flight. Nice eh ?
The taxonomy of this species has been in flux with a similar one that occurs in the east (C. virginiensis) however it seems to have been reconciled using morphological characteristics and a distribution that has a big gap between them.
This bug is a "true bug" (order Hemiptera) and to make it even more straight forward, it is in the family "Miridae", the Plant Bugs. Stenotus binotatus was introduced from Europe in the late 1800's. The first North American records are from Massachusetts and they have spread across the continent since then. They can be a serious pest on wheat and other cereal crops, causing them to collapse. It produces an enzyme which will degrade the gluten and the dough produced from this wheat has a sticky characteristic. (Every, D., J.A. Farell and M. Stufkens 1992).
The older the individual, the darker the colour will be. Looking at the photographs of this grass bug on Bug guide I'd say this was a younger one. It was about 5-6 mm long and came in to a sheet that we had a light focused on for attracting moths. It was so small that there was no way we could see the beautiful colours until the photograph was taken!
Every, D., J.A. Farrell and M.W. Stufkens. 1992. Bug damage in New Zealand wheat grain: the role of various heteropterous insects. NZ J of Hort and Crop Sci. 50. 305-312.
Ladona julia is not common at Leaning Oaks and my suspicion is that this fellow is a visitor from a larger or boggier piece of water somewhere nearby. The English name comes from the two distinct stripes on the thorax -stripes of a corporal. These are more distinct in younger ones. And of course the "chalk -fronted" refers to the pruinosity on the abdomen. Pruinosity in dragonflies is a waxy deposit - like what you get on Italian prune plums.
I learned this as Libellula julia, but some DNA sequencing (Kambhampati and Charlton 2002) determined that this skimmer was indeed a separate genera within the Libellulidae family.
You will see these chunky dragonflies sunning themselves on sticks facing the sun (like the photo), perching on vegetation over the water or flat on the ground when away from the water. This tendency to land on the ground distinguishes from the other big skimmers found in BC which seem to rarely do that.
Two biologists on a beautiful property armed with cameras, smart phones and a marginal knowledge of websites took up the challenge of documenting one species a day on that property. Join along! Posts and photographs by Leah Ramsay and David Fraser (unless otherwise stated; started January 1, 2014.