Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday Field Notes-- Drink Me...

Did you drink?  If you did, you'll have shrunk down small enough to see the 6mm spider whose world is a Bachelor Button... Thomisus labefactus, Azuchigumo.

All I had to do was return the community center keys this morning.  But I took the camera along.  I know what happened the last time I forgot to take it.  

 Well, no sooner was I down the stairs than I noticed somebody clinging to the side of the neighbor's house.

Looked her up when I got home--ah.  One of the Nymphalidae.  Neope goschkevitschii, split off at some point from the very similar-looking N. niphonica.  What an awfully long handle for such a small butterfly--clearly named for whoever figured out this should be a separate species.  Must be nice to be immortalized in a butterfly name...;-)
Acer palmatum, dissectum cultivar

 Another neighbor's lovely momiji (maple) tree has put out its helicopters.

Did you play with these when you were a kid, too?

Pieris rapae, The Small (Cabbage) White

 It started to rain a bit, so I tried to hurry along.  Just run up to the temple, drop off the keys, and go home.

'Cept,  I spotted a lovely little Monshirouchou resting quietly on a small daisy...

 She let me get quite close to take her portrait:

Monshirouchou,  Pieridae family

 ...ok, the camera is getting sprinkled on.  I figure I'd better hurry before I get caught in full-on rain with no umbrella (the weather report said cloudy!).  I walked quickly...

Veronica persica-- Ooinunofuguri, Persian (or Winter) Speedwell
 ...for ten steps.  Oh, look!  Ooinunofuguri--my favorite little blue flowers.  The first flowers I noticed after coming to Japan.  I'd never seen them before (although according to Wiki
it's spread to the US from Europe and  Asia), at least, not in the field I played in as a child.  It was blooming there with wild strawberries, in amongst the Equisetum and other field grasses, attended by tiny (unidentified) hover flies...

Harmonia axyridis... Tentoumushi has emerged
 Just as you turn in to walk back to the temple, there is a wall of dense growth (part of the mountain) on the left-- I remembered seeing lots of ladybugs there the other day when I'd come to pick up the keys.  

Ooh--there's one! 

Sanagi!  A ladybug emerging from the Pupa...
 ...Another one!  This one is just starting to emerge from the pupa.  They're all along here--every other leaf has a ladybug at some stage in the process of trasformation from the larval to adult stage.

My steps slow to Bug Time...

happy birthday:-))
 ...I stood and watched as this one shrugged off the larval skin.  She's still pale yellow (why do we call Ladybugs that, and consequently think of them all as female?).  She won't darken and get her spots for a while, and until then she's vulnerable to predation.

My feet aren't making much forward progress as I check every leaf, like a crime scene investigator running the grid...

In the order Phantasmodea...Baculum irregulariterdentum
 ...a Walking Stick!  A young one, judging from the color (I am, by the way, milimeter by milimeter, approaching the back door where the monk and his wife live--I'm to put the keys on top of the mailbox)...

Difficult to photograph from this angle-- she *glows* in the light

 He stands out against the foliage--or, rather possibly She.  Most species of Phasmatodea are parthogenic, that is, the female can lay eggs without needing to mate.  In that case, all young are female and are clones of the mother.  Some species are bisexual and retain the ability to mate, depending on the presence of males. 

A ten-spot... or twenty-spot?
 My slow pace is rewarded with another type of ladybug (unable to identify with my bug book--will get on Google later)...

Macroscytus japonensis

...and a lovely shiny, black member of the order of Coleoptera.  In other words, a sweet little Beetle (*not* a bug!), and of whom the Creator is said to be inordinately fond, seeing as how there are over 350,000 species in four suborders... and those are just the ones we know about:-)) His name is Tsuchikomemushi in Japanese.  I wonder whether it was he who ate that hole in the leaf... 

Punica granatum
 I really did get the keys dropped off this morning;-)  When I turned to go home, I noticed that the pomegranate tree, whose fruit  I found burst open last fall, has flowered.  Since I've never seen pomegranate flowers before, I stop to take a picture.  The flowers look delicate, but are waxy to the touch.

I take a little detour, down some stone steps--maybe not the best idea since it's threatening rain again, but...

Ookabafusujidorobachi... Orancistrocerus drewseni

A noise stops me in my tracks.  Oh.  You there.  Hi--I won't hurt you, if you won't sting me. K?  May I take your portrait this fine morning, sir?
Yes, certainly:-)

Thank you, kindly.  I didn't know there were Mud Daubers in Japan. A very great pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir.

Likewise, I'm sure.

Kurourihamushi... Aulacophora nigripennis
Order:  Coleoptera

 Someone has surely dumped the contents of Alice's Drink Me bottle into my coffee this morning.

Curiouser and curiouser. 

The bugs have gotten bigger--it's so much easier to see them all.  Or I've gotten smaller?  I hardly move a step before noticing something else...

The worm that flies in the night...
...somebody's larval stage crawls around the Bachelor Button buds...

Centaurea cyanus

 I love Bachelor's Button (also called Cornflower, though that's actually a different plant), but I realize I've never looked closely at the buds before.

They strike me as Jacobean-- like the stylized buds that are part of fabric patterns called Jacobean.  I imagine buds and flowers like this curling over James I's cushions... 
At this level the unnoticed becomes exotic. 

Drink me... and a dandelion can be your home, too.   (Eysarcoris annamita... Order: Hemiptera, a True Bug.)


  1. Cool photos! You were obviously very observant this Friday. I want to get out and take pictures of the various mushrooms and other fungi that have popped up after all of the rain. Perhaps, tomorrow!

  2. Gorgeous! All of them, but I'm especially in love with Neope goschkevitschii, (?) the butterfly with the brown spots on her wings. They're simply breathtaking.

  3. Such beautiful photos, and such a lovely story to go along with it! Especially so, as it seems the undergrowth is teeming with life even after the rain...

  4. Cary-- Ooh! Mushrooms and fungus--would *love* to see photos of those! With all the rain you've had, you must have a zillion of them in your yard about now, too...

    Alice-- Thanks! I loved that butterfly, too--wish I could have seen it up a little closer, but she was up near the roof of the house next door:-( Camera zoom was the only way to make her out at all--I was just glad the photo came out clear enough to ID her! I loved that mad monochrome-brown pattern, too... (you could quilt that, right?;-))

    Josephine-- every time I move close to take a photo, I suddenly see something else (or several something else's!) nearby. Things I probably would never have noticed otherwise. It's a palpably humbling experience, actually. (And...glad you enjoyed the photos! Thanks!)

  5. One of the best field notes YET! Positively poetic.

  6. Wow--thanks! Just read this line in Diversity of Life:

    "The humble and ignored are in fact often the real star species."

    Even though I'm mostly writing to my mom and dad with the field notes, I do also cherish the hope that my notes, in some small way, encourage others to look about them.