"Birth, life, and death--each took place on the hidden side of a leaf." --Toni Morrison**
It was like Wild Kingdom out on my front porch today. I missed my Moonflower opening (sneaky little bugger!), but when I went outside to admire it, I found a whole host of other critters. I was mainly focused on these beetles, which, after a lot of research, I am pretty confident are Steelblue Ladybeetles (Halmus chalybeus). While I was watching this one motor around, it actually stopped and picked an aphid off my Moonflower. Like any good gardener, I cheered. I didn't manage to get that on camera, but, trust me, it happened (both the aphid eating and the cheering).
Not very exciting in this light, but below, you can see the subtle metallic hues that make these look like little jewels. Or fancy helmets. I like to imagine Darth Vader running around in one of these when he wants to feel fancy.
These guys are so shiny my face is actually reflected in this one's shell! It's hard to get it big enough and clear enough to see here, but, again, trust me, it's there! I was worried that the ants might try to run off the ladybugs, but this stand-off seemed to end peacefully.
After I saw all the big ladybugs, I started noticing a few of these guys on the undersides of the leaves. I'm pretty sure they are baby ladybugs. Yay, babies! Now, go kill some aphids!
He's doing a pretty good job of blending, and since he was on a leaf above my head I would have missed him entirely, but I happened to look up and saw something that didn't look quite right.
What the...? When did my Moonflower sprout antennae?
Stealth fail, Mr. Grasshopper, stealth fail.
**All of this "invisible" activity happening right outside my own front door reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, which I discovered thanks to a fellow blogger, the late Dewey.