Wayne's Trivia Notes #25
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Wayne's Trivia Note #554 (24 January 2019)

My latest ant: Big heads & powerful jaws of major workers (soldiers) come in handy when your job is to defend the nest entrance against invading ants. Some species have "Supermajors" with really big heads! Compared with tiny minor workers, I have noticed major workers are a little clumsy walking over rough terrain. Imagine doing daily tasks if we had enormous heads & tiny bodies. In the above image, the head of major worker is the size of entire body of minor worker!

Wayne's Trivia Note #555 (31 January 2019)

Honeypot ant exhibit at Oakland Zoo: The amber globs are swollen abdomens (gasters) of special ants called repletes. They are filled with a nutritious, honeylike fluid and serve as living food storage units. During times of drought & famine, the workers simply go down tunnels deep in the nest and receive food from the repletes by regurgitation (trophallaxis). This is sort of like going down stairs to a snack bar in your office complex only the food is not regurgitated! The ant species in photo (Not Close-Up Inset) was labeled Myrmecocystus mimicus, a fairly common ant in southern California.

Wayne's Trivia Note #556 (1 February 2019)

Ant obsession: I never dreamed at this time in my life I would be trying to identify ants in suckers from Pismo Beach, CA!

Wayne's Trivia Note #557 (7 February 2019)

I have been photographing wildflowers in southern California for more than 50 years. With all the rain, this spring may be another phenomenal display in our local desert areas. I must say that the most remarkable display of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) was in spring 2008 on post burn hills above Lake Hodges Dam west of Escondido.

Wayne's Trivia Note #558 (10 February 2019)

Sea Heart (Entada gigas): A special gift for Valentine's Day. Sea heart seeds are produced in huge pods on a high-climbing liana in the New World tropics. More About Sea Hearts

Wayne's Trivia Note #559 (12 February 2019)

The most remarkable display of lupines (Lupinus benthamii) that I have ever seen was in April 1983 in Kern County along Hwy 223 (National Purple Heart Trail) northeast of Arvin, California.

Wayne's Trivia Note #560 (15 February 2019)

Telephoto view of 11,503 ft. Mt San Gorgonio looking north from summit of Owens Peak.

Wayne's Trivia Note #561 (16 February 2019)

Speaking of the archaic, ecologically unsound border wall, here is a rare, seldom seen, native wildflower that occurs on the CA-Mex border.

Wayne's Trivia Note #562 (4 March 2019)

Ant identification can be a real challenge because they are so small. In my latest ant discovery from Coyote Creek, Anza-Borrego Desert, you must count the number of teeth per jaw (mandible) for a positive ID!

Wayne's Trivia Note #563 (6 March 2019)

No 2018 CA or FED tax refunds for me. It is clear why my financial planner resides in beautiful Nevada!

Wayne's Trivia Note #564 (10 March 2019)

A lethal plant bacteria (Xylella fastidiosa) is killing oleander shrubs along freeways & throughout S. CA. The bacteria multiply & clog vital water conducting tissue (xylem). They are spread by several species of leafhoppers in the family Cicadellidae called "sharpshooters." The bacteria penetrate xylem tissue via the piercing mouthparts of these small insects. Related strains of this bacteria attack grapes (Pierce's Disease), olives in Italy, and other orchard trees, including peach, plum, almonds & citrus. Many ornamentals are also infected.

Wayne's Trivia Note #565 (14 March 2019)

14 March 2018: I am retracting my Monarch image. All the thousands of migrating butterflies over my home in Twin Oaks Valley are Painted Ladies. Two have stopped for a nectar break at the flowering lantana in front of my house.
More Images Of Painted Ladies

The Official Wayne's Word Butterfly & Moth Page  
Painted Lady In Coyote Creek February 2019  
Painted Lady In Santa Barbara October 2018

Wayne's Trivia Note #566 (17 March 2019)

View of Palomar College looking west from summit of Owens Peak. I have never seen so many California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) on Owens Peak.

Roadside trail at summit of Owens Peak.

Wayne's Trivia Note #567 (18 March 2019)

Today 18 March 2019 10:00 AM: Beautiful slope & valley behind Owens Peak that developers haven't destroyed yet. I have never seen it this green. It looks like the photo was taken in another state. Actually, a lot of the Twin Oaks Valley area once looked like this.