Since our multi-state trip ending last weekend, we've been hanging around the house here in St Charles. Officially we're working on some home-improvement projects, mostly in the kitchen reglazing the windows and tearing apart and repainting the sills. Today was a hot, sticky day, so we mostly relaxed - I took a walk in a local park, with Melinda reading and resting up for her "nurses night out" tonight.
With no astronomy to speak of here, I've converted to sort of a nature observer here in Illinois. Last year, the highlight of the summer was the discovery of the weirder than weird two-spot treehopper, shown at left here. Once seen, they appear quite common, though only on a few plants. Interestingly, I didn't see any this year our first 10 days here until just yesterday, with a few more today, so perhaps their life cycle just has them reaching adulthood now. But what I have seen is shown at right, and if anything, matches the treehopper for weirdness! A little smaller than the treehoppers, these guys have what looks like cotton fuzz coming out of their rear ends! I ended up sending some pictures to "Bug Man" Carl Olson back at the University of Arizona and he was similarly confused, forwarding it on to a friend. The answer is that it is a nymph stage of Acanalonia conica, a planthopper. I'm seeing changes over time, and will likely blog about it later, but wanted to let you know we're not just sitting watching TV! And interestingly, once spotted here in St Charles, I also saw them on my friend Beth's spinach plant in Minneapolis!
I've blogged many times about him, but the camp aggressively tried to trap him, and a body was spotted years ago, but this Bruce is still very much active!
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