Monday, November 26, 2018

Oxygen Generator Exemption

I am doing something not according to the Title of this blog. I have been doing this for quite sometime now. Whenever i think of posting in Nature Notes by Michelle on Mondays, i can't think of other things but oxygen generators exemptions. I looked for plants, but i cannot see unusual ones in my files. So to put things easier and faster i do this. And i am forgiving myself for doing so, as i want to post these finds just to let them be together in a single post.

Whenever i go out on weekend mornings to look for butterflies, i always see a lot of other things aside from my main purpose. Plants, insects, spiders, and other things unusual to my usual sightings are photographed and remain scattered in my files. They will just find some value if i share them with you. I know some of you are arachnophobes, or afraid for spiders, please just close this. I don't want you to be scared.

This is Nephila pilipes syn. N. maculata; Giant orb weaver

 We have lots of this spider in and around our property in the province. When i do not go home on 2 consecutive weekends, even my hoya garden is inhabited by this. It is difficult to pass by its web because it is too sticky and difficult to remove your body. The threads also have bigger strands.

Look  at the smiling face of the old man on the top of its head! It even has some straggly beard strands. This is in my hoya garden.

 This is the same individual as the close-up shot of the first photo.

 And this is the lower part of its web one morning, still complete with jew.

Another individual i saw under the trees in a secondary forest. The face already looks like a scathed old man, with some lacerations as if it had been to a recent fight. It has a more pointed nose and expressions a bit scary than the previous one.

 even the design on that band at the mid thorax looks different than the first one.

 The web of the 2nd individual in the forest is more or less 2 meters on its oblong length

it is up there at the above center of its web

 You can almost see its size in comparison to that tree at the left. Its web in the forest is bigger than that in the hoya garden, maybe because there are lesser prey that happen to pass through it in the forest. They need to big a bigger net trap. This is the farthest distance i can take for the web to be still visible, a little farther and it is not anymore distinctly seen as a spider web.

That in the hoya garden has to be relocated to the nearby area. I let it attach to a long pole together with some parts of the sticky web, then let it drop on some plants in the relocation site. I don't know how long before it can finish weaving its full web again. I hope it manages that soonest, as if a big storm just hit it. At least i am not the human that kills entities like them! 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

November Blooms

I am maybe biased to flowers that cater to butterflies. That is my disclaimer because most of the plants you will see in this post are nectar plants, loved by butterflies, which in turn i love too!

 Asystasia intrusa can be invasive, but i always have them for, of course you know what! But if isolated in numbers in plates like the above, they can be beautiful too.

 Pentas lanceolata are favored by the Scarlet Mormon. They favor those in umbels because they will not leave the area for another flower, just insert their proboscis in the next flower within the umbel. Butterflies know energy conservation too.

another Pentas lanceolata color form, favored by the tigers

 This hippeastrum is the only species that bloom more than once a year. In fact this is its 4th bloom. When under the net protection it produced 6 flowers in one scape. 

 This is my first time to see the flowers of Curcuma longa or turmeric.  Actually, above are the bracts, the flowers already gone. Those almost rotten debris at the axils of the bracts are the decomposing flowers.

top view of the Curcuma longa bracts

 This is only a leaf, but it is as lovely as a bloom. It is one of the colorful caladiums. 

Hoya pubicalyx 'Black Dragon' syn. Hoya pubicorolla

 My Garden Bloggers Blooms post is not complete without the hoyas. They are the special flowers in my garden with their own enclosure and get more attention from me and my sister at home. I just go home on weekends and i only do some jobs and taking their pictures. I confess my bias is fully with them together with butterflies!

 Hoya alwitriana starting to open. This is one of the very few hoyas that blooms in the morning, most of them opens in the late afternoon.

 Hoya pubicalyx

 Hoya odorata

Hoya bifunda ssp. integra

Hoya nakarensis

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Wild Finds Again

If there are longer weekends just like the last 4 day-weekend i am very glad as i can roam the wild areas longer than usual. Last time the All Souls'Day followed by All Saints' Day is adjacent to the normal weekend, so i have at least 2 mornings for my wildlife escapades.

The wildlife i am referring to here is not the usual wildlife most of you refer to. Mine are  just areas untended for cultivation, fallowed or abandoned areas, with mixed tropical weeds and grasses, sometimes a few bushes and trees and sometimes these are even under coconut trees.

 Here are a few of the unusual takes that interest my lens. For me these are already wildlife.

 A group of 1st instar butterfly larvae of most probably Catopsilla pomona. There are 2 leaflets fully occupied like this. The leaf is golden shower, Cassia fistula.

A day after most of the larvae are gone, some went to other leaflets, and the rest maybe eaten by birds.

 These are the leaves on the 3rd day, the undersides leaf skin are fully devoured by the caterpillars, producing a lacey, artsy leaves. 

 Another leaflet left by the larvae, they transfered to a different leaflet, but their numbers are lesser.

 This wooly insect might be the nymp of a planthopper, but i did not see its main body.

 Another interesting wooly mealy bug, almost a centimeter in diameter. I am not sure if it really is a meally bug, as they are normally smaller than this. 

 This looks like a landscape of lichens, algae and mosses. A coconut trunk base is fully invaded by this growths. I looked for lichen moths, but i did not see any.

I often see this red fruits in our abandoned areas, or areas under coconuts. They fruit during this season. I  haven't seen birds eating them. The plant are short at around a foot tall. There are only a few leaves coming out of the ground with one or 2 bunches of fruits in a clump of green leaves. I searched, it is Tacca palmata (Dioscoreaceae).

Monday, October 29, 2018

Poses from a Hawkmoth

 I am Pergesa acteus, a hawkmoth feeding on Alocasia, Caladium, Colocasia and Dieffenbachia. I am Filipino so those are my host plants here. I heared my cousins in other Asian countries eat some other plants. Now i am obliged by this entity to pose for her camera. She used a lot of tricks to make me assume different poses. But in reality she is depriving me some sleep as it is daytime and i am supposedly deep asleep by now. I hope with my cooperation, in a little while she will let me be!

In a few more days i will assume to be a pupa, a transition for me to be an adult moth to fly, eat, mate and produce more hawkmoths.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Costus speciosus, any taker?

I have long been fascinated with this plant. It has been growing for quite a long time already at the vicinity of the property, under the mango trees. Nobody is tending it, in fact it even received lots of unreasonable unattention and stressful beatings through time. These are maybe unintentional because it is growing at a sight that is used for dumping the cut plants from the garden and prunnings from nearby trees. The latest was dumping the full canopy of a big tamarind tree, when it was topped off to shorten it. So this plant is a "now-you-see-it, now-you-don't" entity! This time, it is a "Now-you-see-it" plant. And I am putting it at the limelight.

Despite the tortures it got through life, it still continue living, still continue with its purpose, still providing something for attention. I guess it succeeded because i now removed some debris covering some of its parts, cut the already long stems to grow new suckers, took lots of its pictures, and even posted its biography in this blogpost. Not a joke, but i am laughing at my thoughts just now!

 the open white bloom is a center of attention be it sideways

 ....or direct in front

moreso because of the color contrast with the deep red receptacle it emanates from

now look at the full green leaves supporting it to its pedestal

 Don't you think it is even more attractive?

 more spiral leaves, so it is also commonly called spiral ginger

 and the brightly red bracts supporting the white flowers, sideview

 bracts- top view

Costus speciosus (synonym Heliocostus speciosus), spiral ginger, crepe ginger. 

The internet has lots of entries lately for this plant because some believe it is what they call the insulin plant, which aids in helping those with diabetes. I am not in the position to say whether this really is the real insulin plant as there are also insulin plants here in the country with different color forms. Moreover, i also don't know if the claim by insulin plant enthusiasts for diabetes is really true. I did not search for the scientific literatures on this matter, not for me to do that. 

But traditional knowledge in many countries in Asia, Southeast Asia and many literatures provide  different medicinal purposes of this plant. It is not only grown as medicinal plants but also as an ornamental. 

I looked at some sites selling this plant online, and the prices are not cheap by our organic plant standards here in the country. If only i can sell this, i can give them a lot and at lower prices, LOLs!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Nature Finds Again

I have the habit of composing my blog posts early morning Monday, fast and quick because i am just sneaking for sometime before i start my normal work. I first look at my latest pictures during that weekend and choose the nature or macro photos from there. I always have bias for either hoyas or butterflies, because they are the ones i have the addiction for. Today i am posting on Sunday night because i did not go home this weekend. The culprit is the very hot surroundings yesterday morning when i am about to go home to the province. The result is that i do not have fresh weekend photos, i did not see nor take any butterfly shots, and the hoyas are both untended and not photographed.

But never mind, i always have lots of photos from recent files. Hmmm i wish to find some shots for Nature Notes. When i am looking for butterflies my attention is always for them, but when only a few of them show up i have attention too for other entities including spiders. However, i seldom know their names.

 a common jumping spider, Salticidae species

A lichen spider guarding its egg sac, it is supposed to be outside with the lichens but probably gallivanting and was trapped inside the bathroom. So it just stayed there with its egg sac. It has been there for two weeks.  Pandercetes sp. (Sparassidae)

A spitting spider (Scytodea sp.) carrying an egg sac . I don't know if they get prey even while guarding their eggs. If only i have time to spare, i will watch them spitting on their prey.

 a colorful Opadometa species

This is a very common resident of my hoya flowers, a crab spider. Very seldom will a hoya umbel  be without it. They are hiding there to ambush bees and butterflies that visit the flowers.

 My first time to see this one, i think unique for a spider

 Nephila sp.

Neoscona theisi

The owner of this web is very small hiding at the back of the central  object, pretending they are big.

I still have lots of spider photos, but i can't seem to see most of them when there's the need. I am posting these to the Arachnophiles Group in FB to know their names. When ready i will put them here. Thanks much!