Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wild Kingdom in my backyard

I have not mowed my back yard all summer. There, I said it. The neighbors can't really see it, except for the ones in the two-story duplex across the alley, but whatever. It's so tall now I actually can't mow it. The mower would just seize up. I'm going to have to get a scythe or something to whack it down.

Meanwhile, there are some fascinating things going on back there. I spied a small, but menacing mantis perched on my banister, surveying the grounds...

And some... frankly cartoonish yellow bugs attached to a vine subtly subjugating the porch.

They're seemingly useless animals, all rising and falling in unison at times. A soft breeze will cause them perk up, then relax, altogether, breathe in breathe out, toiling away on the vine,

I can't believe how surreal they look. I've identified them as Milkweed Aphids, or Oleander Aphids, Aphis nerii. I accidentally brushed up against some when I was looking for the dog, and some stuck to my pants. They were easily flicked off.

I recently bought a copy of Peterson's Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America, and was able to identify several edible plants growing in abundance back there, including the Sow Thistle and Lady's Thumb (aka Red Leg). I will not be eating them.

The mantis started giving me a dirty look. The females of this species have some extremely disturbing habits. Not that I think this little bug could hurt me, but I'm not sure how freaked out I would be if it suddenly jumped onto my face or something. I should probably back away slowly.

1 comment:

skmckinn said...

This last shot of the mantis is great. Proof that bugs ARE aliens.

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