Tuesday, September 24, 2013

snail braille

Fall is in the air in South Carolina.  The weather has been amazing - 75 degrees, breezy, and sunny every day, with low humidity.  Since the humidity has dropped and the mosquitoes haven't been quite as bad, I've been able to spend a little more time outside.  One thing that I love to do is watch the local hummingbirds.  We have male and female ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris), but I mainly see females.  Like the males, they are incredibly territorial.

This pair of females battled at the feeder for over 20 minutes before they reached an uneasy truce.

We've got acorns now, still that lovely green color that they have for a while before they darken.

Our Canada Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is putting out - dare I say adorable? - little cones.  I like the 'big cones', but these smaller ones are so nice.

In Indiana, my summer garden would be going into dormancy now, but things are just gearing up here.  Our American Beautyberry bush (Callicarpa americana) is developing clumps of deep purple berries on each stem...

...and the camellia bushes are budding out for November's bloom.

These waxy-leafed 'mystery bushes' are putting out some kind of...fruit?!?

Our berry bushes have lost their yellow and white flowers, and the fruit is starting to darken.

They'll be a lovely red in about a month.

We've lost our shasta daisies, but the butterfly bushes and gigantic lantana patch are going strong.

Even though it's been quite dry, the moss is sending up stalks.

Lots of insect activity, of course.  A Xanthotype urticaria, or false crocus geometer, hung out by our front door for days before settling on a nearby bush.  The funny names that moths have! 

This brown moth that I was unable to identify, but that I think is in the geometridae family, stayed around for quite a while too.

I've been seeing a lot of snails, maybe because of the cooler weather.  This one has a braille-like shell and a grey body...

...while this one's body was tan, and the shell was smooth.

I really admired his leopard spots. 

Speaking of leopard, I also found a leopard slug (Limax maximus) among the leaves.

One really amazing thing about leopard slugs is the way they breathe.  They have a single "blow hole" on their right side that opens and closes as they take in and releases air.

Their mating habits are worth mentioning, too.  After a courtship that mainly consists of grooming, they seek out a high place, like a tree, and suspend themselves from it on a thick string of mucus.  Both the male and the female will lay eggs.  There's an interesting video here if you want to see it firsthand!

I've been seeing a lot of these pebbled-colored crickets, hiding in curled leaves.

You know that we have a lot of spiders here, but I was lucky enough to see a daring jumping spider (Phidippus audax) actual hunt down his prey:  an unlucky moth.  He was on it in an instant.  They're great hunters, you know, and don't use a web to catch prey.

This one has a beautiful orange abdomen.  He kept a close eye on me as he edged away with his meal.

I'll be out and about all week, so hopefully I'll see more.

Have a great week!

No comments:

Post a Comment