Friday, June 20, 2008

Spit and Cranky Baby

The night my camera battery died I was able to take a couple of pics. The spit -froth- on the plant stem is really a bug nest. Baby bugs, not sure of the species, grow up in there, emerge, then carry on. Below the froth is another bug being "milked" for its honeydew by an ant. The ants are sometimes referred to as farmer ants. They caress the bug, like they do aphids, the bug releases a drop of honeydew, and the ant runs off with it. there's actually another type of ant that farms mushrooms. They grow them in underground areas, tend to them, and harvest them when they're ready. Cool. Below is a shot of a couple of wild irises. Saw a load more of them after the battery died.
I am an honorary Halifax Kinette. One of the things I like to do for them is answer phones at the local cable studio once a month when they have their TV Bingo. so last night I took Cranky Baby with me to learn the ropes. she got behind the board to see how the numbers pop out of the machine.
Then she wanted to see what it was like behind the camera. Very cool.

While I'm thinking about it, check out Lisa's Carnival of MS bloggers (link to the right) and Charles' podcast (from Wednesday, especially, as that's the one I'm on).

I will be back over the weekend as there's a lot going on to tell you about. Tonight I'm off to host an appreciation dinner for volunteers and participants of a local Special Olympics organization. And tomorrow is the Wookie's birthday! There will be presents....



Denver Refashionista said...

Love your pics. I can't wait to hear what you have been up to.

Nervus Rex said...

Those milking ants are fascinating! I hadn't heard of them before!

The spit bugs, yes, unfortunately, we have a lot of them here. I'm not fond of them...

Shauna said...

If you have roses in your garden, or nasturtiums, check the stem for aphids. the ants milking those guys are more abundant.


ferret said...

Good day to you, Shauna of the Green Lands!
The spit is actually a nest of slugs and snails; the snail nest dries clean on your fingers; not so for the slug-slime; ... By the way, the slime acts as a mild biocide for protection of the brood... yuk!

For the love of appreciating another's pictures(my camera's broken & at the shop...),

Shauna said...

I looked up the spit bugs today and found a couple of different types of frog hoppers and leaf hoppers. The nymphs (the baby bugs) actually make the nests of froth as protection. I dug one out of the froth to show the Wookie.
Sebastien, are not the slug ones closer to the bottom of the plant, near where the stalk enters the earth? I find those more in my garden than in the taller grasses where I find the frog hoppers.

Speaking of slugs, last year we went to Cape Breton for a mini vacation. At Marble Mountain we discovered a whole field of snails. It was still quite cold (long weekend in May) but the number of them was astounding. Perhaps it's the high calcium content of the earth there? Any thoughts, Sebastien?