Assassins await

[I’m in Yellowstone, looking for wolves, and on Sunday when I usually send you a post I will be in a Wifi-free zone, so I’ve pulled out a blog I composed earlier this year and stock-piled. If I see wolves, you will of course hear all about it in the fullness of time.]

It was a dreary cold gray day on the last day of May, even the birds had slept in, so I looked more closely at the understory. The alder bushes were garlanded with iridescent alder beetles:

and on a lower leaf, an orderly matrix of tiny cylinders

with a halo of spikes like the crowns on miniature Statues of Liberty:

The spider that is eyeing them is either curious or hungry, but she is not the mother of these eggs. They are the eggs of an assassin bug, and this (a hundred feet away down by the brook) is roughly what they will grow up to be: a Pale Green Assassin Bug, Zelus luridus *, lurking on the flower spike of a False Hellebore.

Their front legs are coated with a sticky substance that helps them trap their prey.

He was lying in wait for an unwary mosquito or blackfly, or even this 3/8″ Band-winged Crane Fly, Epiphragma fasciapenne, sitting on a neighboring leaf:

Its intricate wings are too small to catch the eye in the field, but that’s why I take photos.

I watched the eggs for several weeks, and nothing seemed to change. Here they are three months later. It looks to me as though some have hatched, such as the ones at top right, but is hard to be certain.

*The eggs may be from a different species of assassin bug, I can’t be that precise.

One thought on “Assassins await”

  1. ‘Looking for wolves is a blog I’m looking forward to. You must have a guide. Very interesting, to learn about insects. Crane flies are beneficial in the garden.


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