Friday, May 21, 2010

Armadillo Herd

A litter of young armadillos foraging in our yard late Wednesday afternoon.

Armadillos have a unique reproductive scheme. Only one egg is fertilized. That egg divides and the resulting two eggs also divide once. Hence, a normal armadillo litter is always identical quadruplets.

Adult armadillos are solitary. After leaving their nest burrow, litter mates remain together for a relatively brief time before going their separate ways.

For more information on the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), please see:
The Mammals of Texas


Monday, May 17, 2010

Flower Fly: Toxomerus marginatus

Flower Flies: Toxomerus marginatus

(Photo: Marvin Smith on 5/14/10)

Range: Common throughout most of the United States and southern Canada.

Size: Small -- 5-6 mm (around a quarter of an inch).

Food: Adults feed on nectar and pollen and are often found visiting flowers of herbaceous plants or shrubs. Larvae are voracious predators of aphids, thrips, small caterpillars.

Key Identification Characteristics: Thin abdomen with a continuous yellow band around the outside edge. On similar species, the yellow and brown stripes across the abdomen go all the way to the abdomen's edge. Abdomen tip is pointed in females and rounded in males. Large reddish brown eyes.

(Source: BugGuide)


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Garden 2010: Cabbage

Our cabbage is starting to think about forming a head.

(Photo: Marvin Smith on 5/12/10)


Friday, May 14, 2010

Garden 2010: Green Beans

The green beans in our garden are looking good, but I need to get them mulched.

(Photo: Marvin Smith on 5/12/10)


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

It's Strawberry Season!


 Jo picked our first strawberries of the season and weeded our two strawberry beds. Later, she baited the electric fence with peanut butter. I installed the cages around our tomatoes and removed the grass from around the electric fence posts. It's time for us to convince -- try to convince -- the deer that our garden is not a good place to browse.