Sunday, September 28, 2008

Asters, Beetles, and Fungus

AsterThe asters in Michele's garden have changed a lot in the past week. The central disk flowers have opened up completely and in the process have changed from yellow to a more purple hue. Compare the photo here to the one in my post from last week.

I also noticed in one aster plant there were several yellow/greenish beetles crawling around the blossoms. Dianne's Google skills revealed that they were spotted cucumber beetles. As explained in the information at this U Conn site, the beetles feed on pollen and go for certain types of plants. It also says that when a beetle finds a good food source, it emits a pheromone to call other beetles to the feast. That explains why I saw several of them on one pot of asters. The photo below shows one of the beetles walking on an aster blossom. It was originally near the center of the flower, but started moving away when my flashes kicked in. Sorry guy!

Spotted Cucumber Beetle

Bird's Nest FungusMichele discovered a bird's nest fungus this week and set it aside for me -- I never would have seen it otherwise. She explained that the members of the order Nidulariales have cup shaped "nests" and they have their spores in little structures that resemble eggs. You can see that structure in the top down view shown at right. When raindrops hit the nest the eggs are dispersed from the nest to spread the spores. It is a neat structure. I should carry a ruler in my photo bag. Each of the nest structures is smaller than a dime. The photo below is a side view that gives a better feel for the cup like structure of the nest.

Bird's Nest Fungus

3 comments:

michele said...

Nice pictures. Thanks to Dianne for finding info on the yellow beetles. I see them frequently this time of year and love their color. They look great on the purple asters.

Josh said...

Color is brilliant!

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