Life's Little Moments

By dbifulco

Life on the Sunflowers

Having given so much thought recently to how I can do my part to preserve species, I decided yesterday to see how much biodiversity I could find on my sunflowers in the garden.  If you read yesterday's journal, you'll know that the sunflowers came from bird food that was "planted" by chipmunks.  Sunflowers, I've learned over the years, are hosts to a wide number of chewing and sucking insects, along with the to-be-expected pollinators.

I found quite an interesting assortment of things today, on the sunflowers and in the garden.  And while some might have been more photogenic, I decided on this species because it's not one I see very often.  It's common name is Northern Flatid Leafhopper (Flatormenis proxima) and it is found widely throughout the eastern US.  That said, I don't often see them in my garden.  Which isn't to say they aren't here, but more that they tend to blend in rather well.  They are sucking insects that feed on the sap of a large number of plants, apparently including sunflowers.  Females also insert their eggs into the living tissue of their host plants.  

By the way, interesting factoid - there are over 20,000 species of leafhopper (family Cicadellidae) that have been identified worldwide and entomologists believe there are many more that have yet to be discovered.  

Nice chat with my parents this morning - they are surviving the current heat wave in the Portland, OR area, but were headed to the coast today.  Seemed like a pretty smart move to me!  Spent the rest of the day doing a little work and a lot of goofing off in the garden.  Hummingbird numbers are high now, so I was constantly being buzzed as they chased each other around the garden.  A very nice way to spend the day.

If you'd like to see 4 other photos from my little macro safari today, you can see them starting HERE on Flickr  (Robber fly, netwing beetle, tiny spider and tinier black swallowtail caterpillar.)

Thanks for the thoughtful comments on my post yesterday.  Although Hubs and I don't have children, I still worry about what kind of world we are leaving to future generations.  Will some of the wondrous creatures I get to enjoy be nothing more than a footnote in history?  Will things like tigers and rhinos and elephants only exist in zoos?  Will future generations look back on this one and ask "what were they thinking?"  Just some of the things I ponder.


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