the return of the phenological grasshoppers

Around mid-September last year, I wrote about the phenological grasshoppers that come to our front porch to lay eggs each year. Now, as mentioned yesterday, I’ve been doing quite a bit of work on the front porch — replacing some of the deck boards that were looking rather ragged, etc… So, late yesterday afternoon, having finished with the carpentry, I began loading the old boards on a wheelbarrel to take to our scrap lumber pile. Being fairly observant, I noticed two Pinetree Spurthroated Grasshoppers (Melanoplus punctulatus) busily engaged at ovipositing in nail holes in one of the boards which I was about to move. Of course, I wasn’t about to disrupt their work, so I got out my cameras and did a bit of shooting. As you may recall from last year’s post, I’ve been photographing and recording the date of the annual appearance of this species since September 2004. September 19th is about the latest that I’ve seen them laying eggs on the porch. Fortunately for the grasshoppers, there are enough somewhat older boards remaining on the porch to ensure that they’ll have plenty of places to lay eggs next year.

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7 Responses to “the return of the phenological grasshoppers”

  1. Wren Says:

    Incredible picture, Bev. And what an experience.

  2. celeste Says:

    Hi Bev! You are SO GOOD at bug photos! You know how to find them and get them to pose…I would so buy a book of your bug pix! It’s been fun watching the cats catch grasshoppers, they try to clap them between their paws. It seems the grasshoppers haven’t gotten as big this year, they seem stunted. It’s been a cool summer here.

  3. robin andrea Says:

    There is something so intimate about this photograph. It captures something that’s not meant to be secretive, but is not often seen. That moment. Beautiful.

  4. bev Says:

    Wren – It’s always so neat to find these grasshoppers on the porch. I watch for them each year now and it’s one of those reassuring things that all is right with this little part of the world.

    celeste – Thanks! And thanks so much for the comment about a book of bug pix. It’s something I’ve actually been contemplating for awhile. Maybe it will happen this winter as I seem to be getting caught up on other work around here. Interesting observation about the size of the grasshoppers there. Just based on my own observations around the farm, I’d say that there’s probably a strong link between weather and insect development and populations.

    robin – Yes, that’s the feel that I get from the photo, and also that I often experience when photographing insects. It’s a little like being a witness to events in a secret world – not so much one that is concealed, but that is so miniature that it is almost invisible to we giants.

  5. Marnie Says:

    Aha, this may explain the grasshopper I saw on my porch this morning …

  6. Larry Ayers Says:

    “Being fairly observant…” A rather self-abnegating staement, I must say, Bev! Your powers of observance have inspired me to improve mine.

  7. bev Says:

    Marnie – I wouldn’t be at all surprised!

    Larry – Thanks. I always enjoy hearing that someone is looking at nature a little more closely. (-:

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