Patience Rewarded

Back in mid-January I spotted this insect eggmass on the trunk of a small sweetgum beside the trail behind the house.

Since I walk that trail nearly every day, I have kept a pretty constant eye on this little mystery mass, waiting to see what might emerge. When I was out of town all last week I fretted that the creatures within might hatch out while I was gone.

Luckily for me, they waited until I returned.

I have absolutely no idea what species they are. All I can tell so far is that they are true bugs and they are pretty darn cute. I'll try to post an ID when and if I figure out what they are -- and if any of you can tell me, I would appreciate the help!


Ginger said...

Wow, that's absolutely fascinating! Wish I could tell you what they are. I'll come back to check if anyone else knows.

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

Alien life form #742.257

Watchmania said...

Amazing photos! Unfortunately I can't help you to identify them because I haven't the slightest clue what they could be.

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

Bottom of the page?


swamp4me said...

Bloggy, it could very well be one of the assassin bugs -- but as to which one exactly...still don't know. I have looked on a few US sites for similar species. Identifying an insect by its first instar can be tricky.

Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Close close observation reveals a couple of them just emerging from the eggs. They're yellow-orange, and are situated in the lower left quarter of the frame.

They appear to be first-instar wheel bugs (Arilus cristatus).

Here's a link.

swamp4me said...

I believe you may be correct, thingfish! We have no shortage of wheelbugs around here so it is a very good possibility.

And yes, when they first emerged they were orange and slowly developed the red and black coloration as they hardened.

I checked back on them today. Some are still clustered around the now empty eggmass, but there are fewer than there were yesterday.

SquirrleyMojo said...

Fantastic--"fire ants"?

I know that's not correct & that thingfish named them correctly, but is that what children might call them???

swamp4me said...

Haha..."fire fannies" might be an even better name for them - at least while they are in the first instar - but I guess more polite children could very well call them "fire ants"

Wayne said...

What a great post and comments. I've seen the little fire-fannies running around and had made absolutely no correlation with wheelbugs. I have a long and productive relationship with wheelbugs and would like as many of them around as possible. Thanks to you all.