1. Kengi says

    That’s what the orange looks like after the orioles have worked it over. You can see beak-shaped holes.

  2. Ice Swimmer says

    Kengi’s wasp has a nifty pattern on the wings.

    I thought at first that there are two wasps in rq’s picture. I don’t remember to have seen that kind of wasp here, but then again biodiversity is usually lower closer to poles.

  3. w00dview says

    I think the first photo might be a fly, not a wasp. The sponge like mouthparts, absence of obvious antenna and tiny white stabilisers behind the wing make me pretty certain it is a member of Diptera, not Hymenoptera. Gorgeous photos regardless of my pedantry, though!

  4. Kengi says


    Thanks for the tips on identification! I’m pretty useless when it comes to insects. I certainly couldn’t find any wasps with those markings. I’ll now turn my search to flies.

  5. rq says

    Yes, I’m with w00dview, the Kengi wasp might actually be a fly masquerading as a wasp. Incredible shot, though, everything is glistening.

    Ice Swimmer
    I’m not that much further from the pole than you (okay fine), but if you look close enough, you can find all kinds of little beasties everywhere. Since I’ve discovered my phone camera capabilities, I’ve been on a voyage of (re)discovery just in the backyard -- there’s so much more hiding out everywhere than I had thought!

  6. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @6

    True, I might see more if I just stopped and paid more attention. I was arrogant in my statement.

  7. w00dview says


    Your very welcome, happy to be of some use! Wasp mimicry is pretty common among flies. One family, the hoverflies are pretty much masters at it. Summer is actually my favourite time of year simply because of the sheer amount of insects that start to become active. Lying in a meadow surrounded by the chirps of grasshoppers is my idea of bliss!

  8. Kengi says


    After living most of my life in Chicago, I’m amazed at the diversity of everything, including insects, now that I’m out in the sticks. What’s even more interesting is the variation from year to year. I’m trying to slowly replace boring/harmful lawn grass with Midwest prairie plants. Hopefully I’ll get even more insect diversity.

    We seem to have a lot of sand-colored grasshoppers around here despite the generally green nature of the area. Seems like a poor camouflage decision. Of course there are a lot of lakes around, and the soil is very sandy, so at one time there was a lot of sand…

  9. w00dview says


    Yes, if you can, definitely plant some native plants in your garden! You will be surprised by how many beasties you will attract and many pollinating insects need all the help they can get at the moment. When I had a house in Bristol I deliberately let “weeds” take over the garden and we got a mini jungle over the summer! Appropriate for this blog entry, one of the most memorable things I observed during that time was a wasp (it was one of the social wasps, or yellowjackets as they are called in the states) hovering outside a spider’s web, delicately cutting the strands of silk attaching the prey to the web and stealing the spider’s food! It came back multiple times until all was gone, the spider huddled up in a corner of its web not daring to tackle such an aggressive creature as a wasp. And that is why I love insects, they can be incredibly rewarding to observe if you take a few minutes to look into their world!

    As for your grasshoppers, it does indeed seem to be the case that they were adapted to a habitat that might not be so common nowadays. But if grass is in seed they can still blend in on the seed heads rather expertly which might explain how they are still hanging on.

  10. blf says

    Whilst the sand-coloured grasshoppers might represent a change in environmental factors, I have my doubts. First, grasshoppers don’t (as far as I know) live all that long, so I would expect evolutionary changes such as “better” colorization to occur fairly rapidly. (E.g., the moths in Manchester.)

    Second, countershading and similar camouflage techniques. Also, perhaps, third, do the predators distinguish between “green” and “sand”? And, maybe, forth, mimicry or similar: Sand is not tasty, so look like sand…

  11. Kengi says

    The “native only” seed mix was a little too expensive for me, so I went with a “grand diversity” mix. which is mostly native to my area.

    I now have a section growing the prairie plants instead of lawn. The rest I leave to grow wild. There are already coreopsis and cone flowers coming back in, and we had some white flowers a few weeks back, but my neighbor (who studies ecology in college) told me they were invasive, so we pulled them (which is easy in the sandy soil). They came up with some purple flowers that were native (which I’ve also forgotten the name of).

    By next year I should have plenty of things for pollinators. But that first section was a lot of work getting rid of the lawn and seeding the prairie plants. I’ll probably have to come up with an easier way to continue with the project next year.

  12. Kengi says

    I have spotted some green grasshoppers, but they are far less common than the sand-colored. We also have a fair number of green bush crickets.

    w00dview has a good point about the tan grass seed. There’s a lot of it around for a fair bit of the year as well as tan reeds in the wetlands. It’s just they are so darn striking when sitting on a big green leaf!

  13. Kengi says

    “Sand is not tasty, so look like sand…”

    Huh. Interesting idea. The countershading stuff is also fascinating. I’ll have to read more. Yeah. Real science is complicated. Much easier coming up with “just-so” explanations and not thinking about it more. Thanks for the input.

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