Shedding, Basking, and Waiting

Top Photo: A green anole in mid-molt.

Air bubbles are visible under old, shedding skin of the green anole pictured here. Green anoles may shed as often as once a month, or as infrequently as once annually. They may eat their old shed skin.

A green anole may eat its shed skin.

At first glance, the dragonfly below looks to have three pairs of wings, even four pair. In fact, eastern amberwings have two pairs of wings. The illusion is cause by the translucence of the dragonfly’s wings, the sun shining through the insect’s amber colored wings and creating a shadow on the rock.

Eastern amberwings are one of the smallest skimmers (Libellulidae) in North America.

Eastern amberwing.

Great blue skimmers are the largest members of the skimmer family (LIbellulidae) of dragonflies in North America. They’re common and can be found at just about any body of water. They’re sometimes abundant.

Largest skimmer species, great blue skimmer.

Attractive, but also invasive, Japanese beetles can eat the leaves, flowers and fruit of your favorite plants at an alarming rate. And, there are some 300 plants on a Popillia japonica’s menu. Nothing’s safe.

To rid yourself of the ravenous creatures, you can catch and squish the beetles as they eat, but their escape tactics are noteworthy. If they see you coming they’ll let go of the plant they’re munching on and dead-weight drop to the ground, frustrating indeed. Still, I’ve captured and fed many of these coleopterans to my chickens over the years. Hold a collecting container (a small jar or plastic vile…) under the leaf the beetle’s on before you get too close. Then, when you move in, the beetle will drop right into your container.

Attractive, yet voracious Japanese beetle.

Finally, heat and humidity, with its accompanying thunderstorms and rain, brings out tree frogs to breed. Keep an eye on the vegetation along the path for a glimpse at one or two of the amphibians waiting for the rain.

Two green treefrogs wait for the rains in Catch the Wind.

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