February 15, 2022

Pin and thrum heteromorphy in Lycium exsertum

Some time ago @emaking introduced me to pin and thrum floral heteromorphy, in which either male or female flower parts in normally perfect flowers are alternately suppressed. Lycium exsertum and its cousin L. fremontii exhibit heterostyly; some of them are functionally dioecious. All flowers of an individual shrub are either:
1) Perfect - male and female parts well-developed
2) Pin flowers with short filaments, reduced anthers and a normal pistil producing functionally female flowers
3) Thrum flowers with short pistil length and anthers large and well-exserted resulting in functionally male flowers

I ran a short survey of the L. exsertum plants on my property, 33 plants, all in flower. Of those, 7 have perfect flowers, 12 have thrum flowers and 13 have pin flowers. Pin flowers were generally smaller than perfect and thrum flowers, both shorter and narrower. In addition there was one plant expressing poor development of both male and female parts, representing a fourth condition to add to the list above.

Posted on February 15, 2022 22:06 by stevejones stevejones | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 16, 2022

Fringed-cup gall adult

An adult emerged from one of the galls in this original observation. Good to see after rescuing the galls from a fungus that was spreading mycelia around the galls in their original container (I'm not good at this sort of thing). I'm resigned to euthanizing the thing if there is some place I can send the insect for further identification. Also curious how best to preserve it. Any advice would be appreciated.
@megachile @nancyasquith @calconey @jeffdc @ceiseman

Posted on January 16, 2022 01:08 by stevejones stevejones | 6 comments | Leave a comment

December 20, 2021

Who knew?

In all the years I've been staring into creosote bushes, I never noticed that the leaves have hairs until I noticed them in these photos. The angle of the lighting made them stand out, especially at the lower left. The hairs are appressed and covered with the waxy leaf coating for which the shrub is famous, but scratching lightly at the surface, or soaking leaves in alcohol, will reveal the hairs.

Posted on December 20, 2021 17:06 by stevejones stevejones | 1 comment | Leave a comment

December 10, 2021

Germinating rain

Much of Arizona had good rains yesterday, the first rainfall since October 5th at my location. We had 0.60" overnight, which ought to be enough to kick-start germination for spring wildflowers and grasses. Another season begins.

Posted on December 10, 2021 16:58 by stevejones stevejones | 5 comments | Leave a comment

November 07, 2021

Baileya multiradiata and Trigonorhinus fungus weevils

When collecting seeds of desert marigold (Baileya multiradiata for you latin fans) I more often than not run across fused clumps of seeds in the seedheads that have been partially eaten and abandoned leaving a chamber and frass behind. This week as I was gathering some I found larvae and later adult fungus weevils (Trigonorhinus) in those chambers. The best match looks to be Trigonorhinus griseus, but being out of my field I'm reluctant to call a species.

As noted the chambers are quite common. This morning I collected and dissected ten likely seedheads (well-dried and shedding old flowers), and found the following:

Larva 2
Pupa 0
Adult 5
Empty chamber 2
No chamber 1

Nine of the ten had chambers. Larvae and adults were alive and were returned to their hosts.

If you have access to plants with mature seedheads (see attached photos), I'd be interested in a count of ten looking for evidence of a chamber (some of the seeds firmly clumped). If you want to go further and open them looking for occupants all the better.

Posted on November 07, 2021 04:07 by stevejones stevejones | 3 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

October 21, 2021

New creosote bush project

In the process of searching for creosote bush galls I stumble upon many other creatures that utilize creosote bushes. It occurred to me to set up a companion project to the creosote bush galls project focusing on those miscellaneous creatures. Organisms Associated with Creosote Bushes is a place to put those observations. Spiders, grasshoppers, tree hoppers, caterpillars, beetles, ants, galls (except for the known species of Asphondylia gall) and other creatures can be included there. For obvious reasons this is a traditional project to which the observations are added manually (rather than automatically as with the creosote bush gall project). There is one required field, Type of Association with Plant; select the most appropriate response from the menu.

Posted on October 21, 2021 14:19 by stevejones stevejones | 5 comments | Leave a comment

October 01, 2021

Gall Week

With Gall Week beginning tomorrow, I scouted some of the local creosote bushes for galls. There were very few, but other things made up for it. Four caterpillars and a couple of spiders caught my eye. Kinda surprised me to see that many caterpillars living on creosote bush.

Posted on October 01, 2021 03:22 by stevejones stevejones | 6 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 27, 2021

Local grasses

Site reconnoiter for potential as tour site of native and non-native grasses; focus is on perennials but there are a couple of native annuals tossed in.

Posted on September 27, 2021 18:03 by stevejones stevejones | 9 observations | 1 comment | Leave a comment

September 05, 2021

Insect explosion

The numbers and types of insects have exploded locally, one result of the abundant and well-spaced rainfall this summer. Quite a contrast to last summer.

Posted on September 05, 2021 18:47 by stevejones stevejones | 12 observations | 3 comments | Leave a comment

May 03, 2021

Homebound

I had hoped to be a more active participant in the Greater Phoenix CNC, but had an incident Friday night - intraocular bleeding that left my left eye foggy. It's kept me off the road, though I've done some observations in the neighborhood. Hopefully the fog lifts enough for me to be more active in making or confirming IDs.

Posted on May 03, 2021 18:00 by stevejones stevejones | 9 comments | Leave a comment