What the Heck Is.

The “heck” we posted about yesterday is something that we noticed in the shower stall, our outside one, last summer.

Lots of places on the Vineyard have outside showers, which come in every style from plain to funky to if-you-have-to-ask-how-much-it-costs-you-cant-afford-it. My old friend Dan Prowten built one in the shape of a spiral — no curtain necessary. Ours is plain, with sidewalls of those premade stockade fence sections, but we do add a little something. Flower boxes. Morning glories, nasturtiums, scarlet runner beans, are nice to have in the shower. We give them strings to climb on, and watch their progress as summer moves along.

Last year we tried some moonflower vines. They’re some sort of datura, and have great flowers, which unfurl in a particularly nice manner.

The opening flowers are worth at least an “ooh” or two. At times they look almost squidly.

One day we noticed a truly odd critter, cruising the underside of the moonflower leaves. That’s who was making the holes in the leaves!

We had no idea what this fringy bit of bizarritude was, so we kept our eye on it. The thing seemed to have its old skins parked on its back. Or maybe it’s something else — one reference mentioned that the two backward-pointing spine units at the rear of the animal are called “fecal forks”. Hmmmm. We did not investigate to see if the spines were stingy.

One day we found that the creature had metamorphosed, had eclosed, and left its old skin behind. Yesterday’s photo was of the old skin, with its load of “whatever” still on top.

This is another angle on the “heck” that was posted yesterday. A husk on a husk.

And here is what was on the other side of the leaf, all shiny and new.

We’d seen these guys before, a few of them, on the potato plants. They never did much damage, so we’d ignored them. Some work with the bug books finally gave us an ID. It’s a tortoise beetle, the Clavate Tortoise Beetle – Plagiometriona clavata.

They’re kinda cute, and have nifty looking feet, too. There are quite a few species. Including some that are iridescent, and some that are gold. Shiny gold!

But this is no time for erudition. Let’s just admire them. Sometimes too many facts takes the wonder out of a thing.

6 responses to “What the Heck Is.

  1. I have seen a lovely bug called the goldsmith beetle that is kind of 24 karat looking but the size of a june bug. It might actually be worth some $ on the international exchange

  2. “Let’s just admire them. Sometimes too many facts takes the wonder out of a thing.” Thank you for sharing your curious and mirthful observations of nature with us, Tom. Not everyone feels glee when they see an unusual insect, and I must remind myself of this from time to time, but I surely feel that fascination and sometimes, a little revulsion, but I like that, too. That moonflower blossom is lovely. The species I have grown is white with the shade of a chartreusey yellow while its bloom is still tightly furled. The mauve hue of your’s here, is hauntingly other-worldly, and I am inspired by the premise of growing flowers within your outdoor shower. Hum, where else might I plant flowers?

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