Stuff in my yard, part 1: Critters (invertebrates)
“My Town Monday” is the brainchild of Travis Erwin at One Word, One Rung, One Day. The goal is to introduce your blog readers to what’s special about your town. Because I usually blog on Wednesdays, I do a "My Town Wednesday" instead. My next several "My Town Wednesday" posts will feature the plants and animals that frequent my yard.
Semitropical New Orleans is a bug’s idea of paradise.
Arid Southern California is not. Since we moved here, I have not seen a single cockroach. No caterpillars infest my tomato plants, and no aphids mar the beauty of my roses.
Still, many insects and other invertebrates make a good living here. Here are some that live in my yard. I will identify those I can. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong and to identify others.
We have many flowers and fruits trees, so honey bees (Apis mellifera) are welcome guests. I do not know the name of the wildflower this one is visiting.
Other members of the Hymenoptera live and breed in our yard. This nest of paper wasps (Polistes sp., perhaps Polistes fuscatus) is shown on 14 May (top) and on 10 June (bottom). The builders sleep on the outside of the nest at night and add new cells during the day.
I suspect these mud structures may be abandoned nests of different species of mud dauber wasps.
Brown garden snails (Helix aspersa) are our yard’s greatest pests. They love to eat tender young flowers, leaves, and plant stalks. They are not native to California, but were introduced here in the 1850s as food. (Yech!) Above, from top to bottom, are a snail on a wall out of its shell; a snail on a wall in its shell; snails enjoying their usual daytime activity, huddling together in a shady place; and snails clustered together for the night on a pile of nyger seeds under the finch feeder.
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- Stuff in my yard, part 2: Critters (vertebrates)