A Break

Yesterday we got a break in the rain. We saw sunshine! So my rubber boots and I headed out to check our little piece of heaven, our woods and prairie.

The driveway still had water flowing over it!
In the woods a bright green cat was climbing the Post Oak!
Additionally I need a front head shot to get an identity. The Tawny and the Hackberry emperors look essentially the same. But one characteristic gave it away. The V on the front of its face. If less than a third it will be a Tawny. So more than half like this one was, makes them a Hackberry Emperor.
Find the animal!
Of course I have the advantage here. I got to see the wings flapping of the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). 🙂
When it is dry the jelly lichens just look like a black blob on the trees. However when they are wet, well they look a little less like a plain black blob. LOL.
Up close you can see the little bumps (isidia) and it is jelly-like similar to nostoc. Both have cyanobacteria which also is referred to as blue-green algae.
After a rain the lichens all show their true partners, the algae. The algae shines through the upper cortex (skin) when damp. The little round disks are called apothecia where it stores the spores!
My next stop was at a Green Milkweed (Asclepias viridis)! No Monarch eggs or cats today. 🙁
However the tiny community was busy The tiny thrips were thriving!

The Oleander Aphid (Aphis nerii) were hard at work.
A spider was nestled in with their cocoon.
The Polished Lady Beetle (Cycloneda munda) was sure to find the aphids as a dining delight!

And where the water was flowing into our pond, the mosquito larvae and centipede were taking advantage of their new habitat! If I had not stopped to take a close look at the mosquitoes I would not have noticed the other critter. Interesting how the centipede had a bubble on its head. And they used the plant as an anchor. Fascinating! I did not see them grab a mosquito larva. Certainly it was successful later. 🙂

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Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know


  1. I’m not sure what you mean about the size of the V on the emperor cat’s face. Do you mean 1/3 of the total length of what could be considered the head? Also the V is inverted, right?

    1. Yes, the invert V. And yes, that is the general idea, what you would consider the face. It can be a judgement call if hard to tell because some are not always clear cut. Back in 2012 I raised a bunch of cats to see if the color of the face and body was any indication on which species it was. Many of cats had various amounts of black faces, “antlers” and body colors of stripes (white to almost not visible stripes). My conclusion you could not tell from the color. Then somewhere I read about the V was a better reliable indicator. Also I tend to find the Tawnys later in the season when the leaves are getting tougher and older. I tend to find the Tawny cats more often in the fall. If you find a group of small emperor cats feeding together then you also know that they are Tawnys. Hackberrys go separate ways once they hatch. To be absolutely certain though… raise it. Hope this helps answer your question.

  2. You always take me into a fascinating world. I love the “find the animal” pix and I can never find it until you ID it.

  3. bubble head centipede – looked like a black spot on the bubble too – ws something else there I wonder?

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