Garden Fauna

The garden hosts an array of creatures, some seemingly primitive, some rather magical. Which is which? The beholder gets to choose.

First up, this well-camouflaged mantis was actually upside down when we met.

Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina). September 4, 2017

When I checked on him a few minutes later he had climbed up and was walking along the top back of a bench on the front porch.

Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)

Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)

Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)

Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina)

This 40-second video gives you some idea of how the mantis stealthily moved along, wary that I was watching him.

Each year I stumble across one of these spiders and am eternally grateful I did not stumble into the web. This yellow garden spider (also known as writing spider) was camped out in the center of the meditation circle on August 9, 2017. A few days later she was gone.

Argiope aurantia (Yellow Garden Spider). August 9, 2017

Argiope aurantia (Yellow Garden Spider). August 9, 2017

Argiope aurantia (Yellow Garden Spider). August 9, 2017

The garden has hosted lots of bees this summer and they have been drawn to this plant all summer, Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky.’

A pair of bees enjoy Salvia uliginosa ‘Blue Sky’. August 9, 2017

Bees are also partial to Echinacea (Purple Coneflower).

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower). July 1, 2017

Not that I can identify them but my home state of North Carolina has more than 500 native bee species. Turn up the sound for this video of bees and coneflower and you also will hear a few of the garden’s birds in the background.

I included a 3-second video of this bee mainly to share the white swan coneflower, which really has been beautiful this season.

At the southern entrance to the garden a towering Rudbeckia laciniata (Green-Headed Coneflower) hosts a multitude of insects including this unknown Lepidoptera.

You may remember this guy from a few days ago. I misidentified it as Eastern Cicada Killer but it is Milesia virginiensis (Virginia Flower Fly). Just wanted to set the record straight.

Milesia virginiensis (Virginia Flower Fly).  September 2, 2017

Time to wrap this up. I will close with a tattered butterfly nectaring on zinnias. The zinnia foliage has become rather tattered and scarred, although fresh flowers continue to form. I think this is a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus).

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)

27 thoughts on “Garden Fauna

  1. Cathy

    Some strange, but all wonderful and amazing! Lovely photos and videos Susie. I haven’t seen anything unusual innoirbgarden this year, but will be looking out for the yellow garden spiders which show up best in autumn. I did see a very large grasshopper recently, that surprised me by taking a giant hop and then flying away!

    Reply
  2. automatic gardener

    It is great when you can capture these creatures on camera. Bugs would be interesting to study, if they weren’t so creepy. Actually, I am doing better with them as I realize most are not dangerous.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Hi Lisa, I don’t see many mantises either. This Carolina mantis can be dusty brown, gray, or green. I read these can adapt to their environment when, as nymphs, they may change color during molting (apparently they don’t change after adulthood).

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Christina. The Carolina mantis can be dusty brown, gray, or green. I read these can adapt to their environment when, as nymphs, they may change color during molting (apparently they don’t change after adulthood).

      Reply
  3. Kris P

    All are handsome creatures! Sadly, I haven’t seen a single praying mantis this year. I’ve lots of spiders, though – and ants, which appear to want to move inside. Ditto with the lizards.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      This was my first mantis this year Kris. We had a lot of trouble with ants invading the house early in spring but no problem lately. Lizards would probably test my open mindedness!

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I updated my iPhone last year and have enjoyed the cameras and the video feature. But it’s difficult to get interesting footage, so I need to work on learning to edit better.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Oh, poor little Monarchs. I read people buy these at garden centers to eat aphids in their gardens. Why am I ok with them eating aphids, but I feel differently about monarchs–oh well.

      Reply
  4. Frogend_dweller

    It would be lovely to see praying mantis here in the UK, because there is something endlessly fascinating about them. I like the green ‘socks’ on yours. (It seems a bit rebellious.) I enjoyed the videos. They’d be good to have as background entertainment in the house.

    Reply
  5. annjrippin

    The mantis is a weird looking thing, isn’t it? I did an embroidery of one a couple of years ago, though, and they are very easy to do as they have such distinctive shapes.

    Reply

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