“Pain In The Neck”

by ESP on August 17, 2014

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“How you doin?”

Bare with me as I take a quick jog down nerd boulevard to examine one of the stranger activities performed by the damselfly.

Damselfly Schematic

Before mating damselflies spend a considerable amount of time ‘checking each other out’ through close physical contact.

The selection of a suitable mate comes down to (as I have learned) the mesothoracic plates on the anterior surface of the females mesothorax, and how well the male bits (cerci) fit with these plates.

Here is a close up of the male’s abdominal fiddly bits,

ebriumFemaleThoraxthat interface with the top of the female’s thorax:

 http://www.enallagma.com/cerci/damselflyMating.html

 DSC07046I found these two with their lock and key mechanism fully engaged in my stock tank. It is believed this interlocking system allows each sex to assess the species identity and suitability as a mate.  Coupled together in this fashion they can fly perfectly in tandem.

Here is a video of the entire life cycle of these beneficial mosquito-eating insects:

Talking of stock tanks.

I use this one to catch rainwater from one of my gutters for hand watering purposes.

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I flip it over when it is nearly drained and invariable perform an impromptu, non-adjudicated

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after encountering the scurrying beasties that are always lurking underneath it.

I have recently got into the habit of jumping back when I flip it,

green_snakejust to be on the safe side.

This time under the tank my mystery prize was…

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Two huge writhing mounds of Greenhouse Millipedes,

Oxidus gracilis

 

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I know they are nothing like the African Giant Black Millipede Bear, and yes, feel free!

Moving Along:

As the Texas heat rises to August temperatures,

DSC07075 copythis artemesia ‘Silver King’ snow drift helps to cool things down.

As does the silvery-‘blue ice’ cypress…(must not focus on the grape vine…

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must not focus on the grape vine…

Grape Vine

Grape Vine2…argh!)

…oh who am I kidding? It is just hot.

The blooms on this Pride of Barbados adequately sum up August in Austin.

DSC07073I have quite a few of these around the Patch but this particular plant, in the least favorable of soils in my Hell-Strip, is by far the most vibrant.

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Moy Grande Hibiscus also packs some summer heat.

Still, as far as summers go, this one has been relatively lenient, feeling shorter than usual with our late rains.

DSC07041Plants are still full with no additional watering to date (apart from plants in containers) but more miraculously…I haven’t tied a single iced-turban this year, not one!

As for future winter attire?

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After attending the Hill Country Weavers knitting and loom Camp she has it covered.

Happy 7th young assassin.

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Finally:

A few before and after renderings of a design I recently generated for a Georgetown residence:

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front

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pool

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Stay Tuned For:

“Wail of a Weekend

 

hqdefaultAll material © 2014 for eastsidepatch. Unauthorized
intergalactic reproduction strictly prohibited, and
punishable by late (and extremely unpleasant)
14th century planet Earth techniques.

 

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