Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gulf Fritillaries

Two gulf fritillaries mating. And a third trying to get in on the action.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ladybug Pupae

 I rarely see even one. But this cheeseweed behind Elmwood Cafe has many ladybug pupae.  Three on one leaf!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Just Published!

 Book to help kids 5-12 years old dicover nature. Fun for teens and adults, too!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Next Event

I'll be at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show in March.

I am planning to do papercrafts with kids, display live specimens and show a movie. I'll be busy! Hope you can attend!

Photo is a Gulf Fritillary on passion vine.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pollinator Posse at the Hayward Public Library.

The Hayward Library invited Tora to give a talk. It was yesterday afternoon. She invited several people along with their displays. Below, two girls are observing Andy's butterfly displays.
About forty people came to hear Tora talk about the Pollinator Posse. Mostly it was kids and parents, but adults without kids attended also.
Erica and Dani had wonderful displays of huge insects and arthropods. They had millipedes, walking sticks, trantulas, etc.

The Hayward Public Library has a seed exchange. I didn't know libraries did that sort of thing.

Friday, December 5, 2014


Ladybugs are gathering again at the UC Botanical Garden. They do this every fall, and then they disappear. I don't know whether they move on or whether they hide in the duff, but the aggregations only last for a few days, so enjoy them while you can. 

Ladybug have bright colors, which is called warning coloration. Have you ever picked up a beetle and gotten yukky stuff on your fingers? They exude a toxic substance from between their leg joints. Birds usually only eat them once; they remember those bright colors and find something else to eat. 

Ladybugs eat aphids and other soft-bodied insects as both immatures and adults. Sometimes they eat a little pollen or nectar, but they are not a threat to any plant. This particular ladybug, Hippodamia convergens, occurs across the US and into Canada and Mexico. In California, it has a complicated migration pattern, which is described here at this website:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Female Pipevine Swallowtail

I released a Pipevine Swallowtail today. Seems a little late in the season. I would have expected this individual to overwinter as a chrysalis. But no, she emerged. Since they overwinter as chrysalides, she has to lay eggs, and they have to hatch and grow, and pupate, before it get really wintery. I hope they make it!

 I know she is a female because of the brown and black wings. Males have a turquoise sheen on parts of their wings. Her colors are more understated, but lovely.