Aphids and Mole Crickets meet their Predators: Photos Tell All


Among the many insects nectaring the flowering plants to be observed along the 133-yard Pollinator Friendly Sparrow Field berm are several species that play an important part in the natural order to be found at the Sparrow Field.

For instance the Syrphid Fly, Pseudodoros clavatus, male on Dill in 8/15/2011 photo, when in the larvae stage this very small hover fly is an aggressive predator of the aphids found on our Milkweed. Those plants were specifically planted for the migrating Monarch and visiting Queen butterfly. Note the compound eyes of the Syrphid Fly meet at the top in the male — they do not touch in the female.

Another aggressive predator is the, “Mole Cricket Hunter, Larra bicolor, of the wasp tribe Larrini. It also was photographed nectaring the flowers of the “Dill” plants located in the “Black Swallowtail” plot. The female injects an egg into the ” Mole Cricket” which ultimately dispatches the mole Cricket.

Both of these insects serve as natural “Biological Pest Controls.”

I would invite you to visit the Sparrow Field and walk or ride the path adjacent to the berm. You presently will find numerous butterfly/Skippers nectaring, mating and flying. Likewise you will observe damselflies, dragonflies, bees, and wasp nectaring the flowers. In the morning, the sun is over your back and ideal for photography. Sit in your golf cart out of the sun. use a bean bag to drape over youR golf cart steering wheel to serve as a support for your camera. There were five “Palamedes Swallowtail” butterflies on one nectar source this morning, just 6-8 feet away from my camera lens. It doesn’t get much better than that. You can also shoot from your vehicle window as you sit in the comfort of your auto’s AC

The birds of course are out and about chasing the insects. Like the butterflies they provide visually appealing moments in time.

Entrance to the 3 1/4 acre Sparrow Field IS located at the intersection of North Bartram Rd and Pettigrew Drive.

I would be more than happy to meet you most any morning, except Sunday, at about 8:30-9:00 am to point out the nectar sources and host plants, as well as the butterflies, wasp, bees, etc found on the berm. Bring your camera and binoculars. Carol Warner volunteers each Wednesday and Saturday morning, taking care of the drip irrigation system, weeds, etc. Carol, likewise will be pleased give you the tour, should you wish.

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