Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Assassin

Firstly, thanks to all who have visited the blog and posted, and to those who have visited silently and stealthily and left no sign. You all make me want make it as good as my skills allow!

At TAFE today, we were appalled to find an array of damage from sundry pests. In one case, the larvae of Sciarids (Fungus Gnats) had so infested the tomato crop of Margaret D. that all but four of the plants had to be sacrificed. The adults are also all over the leaves of our potatoes, but it's the maggots that do the damage.

But the good guys were there too. Like this assassin bug, above, family Reduviidae. Assassin bugs, as the name suggests, are predators, and eat caterpillers by sucking out their precious bodily juices. Isn't it stunningly gorgeous?

Meanwhile, my cornichon cucumbers are close to harvest! I'm hoping that I'll pick them next week. They need only be little, because I'm going to pickle them. See the latest on the website.

I've also updated my Recommended Books page, to include some new additions to my bookshelf:

Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
Resurrection in a Bucket by Margaret Simons
Fruit and Vegetable Gardening in Australia by Michael Pollock
A Primer of Ecological Genetics by Conner and Hartl

And there's a new section: Insect Gallery. My early xmas present was a Panasonic DMC-FZ7 Lumix with 12x optical zoom. I love it to pieces. And now that I can take better macros, this part of the site is liable to grow fast! One of my teachers at TAFE is Mark Latham (no, not the one who trashes Panasonic DMC-FZ7 Lumixes with 12x optical zoom) and apart from being a botanist, he's also an entomologist. (And I just know you're going to enjoy these pages, Mark!) He's a fabulous resource, not to mention someone whose insect-obsessive personality is deeply reassuring to someone like me.


Porgie said...

The "This page is blogged" link on your "Cornichons, Part VI" page is broken, Mo - nice pictures, though...

Woodie/Brian/Porgie, et al

Porgie said...

Okay - it does w*rk if you take off the trailing space (shows as %20 in the URL) - an easy fix!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .^^^There's what I meant^^^

Margaret said...

Thanks, Woody! I've fixed the glitch. Nice to see you. :)

Porgie said...

I've been here a number of times already - I just hadn't made a pest of myself until now...


Unknown said...

Hi Margaret,

Regarding your pic of the Crusader bug (Mictis profana.

It's curious that the 'cross' isn't coloured at all, and yet the distinct colourations on antennae tips and front legs are obvious.
If it was a nymph then one would expect to see two yellow dots on the carapace but these are missing as well.

I looked up the CSIRO manual, and it definitely states that Mictis profana should have the yellow cross marking.
I don't think it is Leptoglossus gonagra but it may be Amorbus alternatus.

If you're in on Friday we can check with Alex?

BTW - love your blog.

Margaret said...

G'day Miguel! Good to "see" you "here". :)

Interesting point about the alleged crusader bug. My pests and diseases teacher might have given me a bum steer.

I'll be in on Friday, and if I can escape the fungi, it'd be good to check with Alex.

Take care, and see you then!