Monday, August 16, 2010

Beaded Lacewing..Delicate pollen grazer

      I rarely find these delicate little insects some know as Beaded Lacewings (Genus Lomamyia) and when I do they are usually in the large fragrant blooms of the Jimson Weed (a Datura) after a hot summer day.  Grazers of pollen they are and perhaps pollinators as well.  

I have watched the blooms for a summer specimen for several weeks and found this, my first of the year, just last night.  Last year during a horrific drought they actually seemed more common

The biology of these small insects actually belies their delicate grace as pollen fairy-like grazers.  From Dr. James Adams of Dalton State College, I was provided the some cool info.  He said " Berothid have a very unusual larval stage, in which the larvae are predaceous termite and ant nests.  The first instar is highly mobile, either crawling into nests or latching onto potential hosts for a ride.  Once inside the brood chambers, successive engorge themselves on the brood and are barely capable of any movement.  They pupate in place and escape the nest upon eclosion."

  I have never seen this but would sure like to see one just before it pupates. 

  At least in the case of termites, for the purposes of man, it must be considered  a beneficial insect, I suppose.  Regardless, finding one of these on a late balmy summer eve, with the heavy scent of Datura rising to meet you,  is one of those  
magical moments in the night that perhaps inspired so many Eighteenth and Nineteenth century naturalists, never mind the poets who wrote of fairies and other fair garden fantasies things so many years ago.  Truth of the matter is these beings still exist but sadly the distractions of this century has put them back into mythical gardens and lost memories.  Especially so for today's youth.

Thanks to Roy, James, Barbara and Kevin that added to this blog. Four photos from Utley, Texas taken Aug. 15,  2010 on the 

Brush Freeman

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