On Sunday evening, I was taking a stroll around my Raleigh neighborhood, enjoying the entomological sounds (Katydids! Crickets!) and sights (Fireflies!) of summer.
Along the walk, I noticed an occasional wood roach or two cross my path on the sidewalk. And then I rounded the corner. Oh boy, there were a lot of big roaches milling about. My eyes instinctively followed a few scurrying across the pavement towards a nearby white oak tree. Up the scaly bark, they climbed to an oozing wound on the tree’s trunk — and then my eyes beheld THIS:
When I told Dr. Eleanor about my observations, she came up with a pretty good analogy: “Ooozing tree sap is like the equivalent of a K&W Cafeteria for insects!” Indeed! By my count, I saw 2 kinds of roaches, at least 3 kinds of sap beetles (from the family Nitidulidae, including the orange and black Glischrochilus spp.), weevils, and a few carpenter ants. I’m sure I would have seen more if I poked and spotlighted with my headlamp a little more.
Summer is a fantastic time for soaking in the natural history we observe in our backyards and neighborhoods.
What cool natural history phenomenon has caught your attention lately? Please share in the Comments of this post, via Twitter or on our Facebook page. We want to see your pictures and videos!