Insects from last summer

As mentioned yesterday, I found a few interesting photos of insects and spiders from last summer, and I want to share them with you now. I'll put the "cutest" ones first, saving the "creepiest" for later in the post.

It pays to keep a camera close by when in the garden, or even on the deck, as this little guy was on the table. I've never noticed this insect anywhere in my garden before (or since), so it was right place, right time for this one.


I think it's an immature assassin bug, and I really like it's earthy coloring.

It seems very purposeful too, as it makes its way to wherever it feels like it needs to be.

This one looks a little more menacing, and I remember that it was pretty shy:

It kept moving away from me as I maneuvered the camera into position.  I think it's another species of assassin bug, but it's hard to tell without seeing the mouth "tube" that's typical of assassin bugs. Incidentally, it's on a nicotiana flower, and I'm pretty sure I didn't have any nicotiana come back this year, which is surprising. The evening fragrance of these white tubular blooms is so sweet, and attracted some cool moths. I thought I saw some nicotiana plants earlier in the year in the annual/wildflower bed, but maybe they were eaten, or didn't survive the heatwave.

Next up, this tiny spider with the really interesting body shape. Here it is from the front:

And this is what it looks like from the back:

The shape of that abdomen is really unique! I'm not even sure how to describe it. Good thing I have photos.

Next up: a damselfly (similar to a dragonfly). This one looks like it just emerged from the water, where it has been living in its nymph (immature) form:

I remember thinking at first that this was just an empty skin, but then I realized it was a just-molted adult.

I don't think this is the exact same insect, or even if it's the same species, but I seem to see these blue ones around the stream quite a bit in late summer:

So what's the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly? From what I've read, dragonflies keep their wings outspread while resting, while damselflies hold their wings folded above their bodies. I never knew that!

Here's a harvesterman or "daddy longlegs" that's infested with mites:

I don't know if the mites are harming it or not, but many of these Opiliones (they're not spiders) I see have these mites, so I hope it's not life-threatening for them.

Finally, we have ants. And a large caterpillar. Actually, it's ants scavenging the carcass of a large caterpillar:

I'm not sure if the ants actually killed it, or if it died and then the ants discovered it.

In either case, it's not one of the most pretty sights I've seen. It is fascinating though, as are all of these photos to me. I've said it before, but I'm just amazed at the variety of tiny wildlife that can be found in my yard.

(Remember, all of the photos on this page were taken in my garden last summer, before I started this blog.)

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