Barklice 2021

Looking for the Ectopsocus from 2020

Martha O'Kennon

Last Fall I studied the actions of a new (to me) kind of Barklouse - Ectopsocus meridionalis. They appeared from somewhere in about August and seemed perfectly adapted to eating the thickish lichens on the lower parts of the shop siding, especially on the North side. They are parthenogenetic, meaning a female can reproduce by laying eggs without contact with a male. One female was especially active and by the end of the fall she had laid many eggs, especially on panel 8 of the North siding. You might want to go back to the full 2020 page and read everything about her family from last year. You will be sent back here. Here are the eggs she left on the left side of North panel 8 in November 26, 2020, and next the eggs as they were on March 17, 2021. You can see that the top level of eggs seemed either to have not made it through the winter or had already hatched by November. But the lower level were still inside their sacs, reddish-purple, in March. On March 25, suddenly that lower level of purple eggs were empty except for one still to hatch. I believe that by then they had really hatched. But I couldn't make out any nymphs. That was the last time I saw these eggs. The next day, March 26, it had rained overnight and all over the North Wall the substantial number of reddish-purple eggs were all gone.

Panel 8 wasn't the only place the Ectopsocids had seeded with many eggs. Here is the "trefoil" on panel 10. A few days before this picture was taken, a large amount of the thick protective coating had begun to crumble off of the eggs. Picture 2 shows the panoply of eggs on panel 9. The next day, all these eggs had disappeared.

On March 26 and 27, I did manage to find a few purplish-red "things" on the lowel part of some of the panels. I'm sorry I didn't write down the names of the panels. They bear little resemblance to the originals that we watched as they developed last summer/fall. Pictures 1 and 2 are from March 26. Picture 3 is on the bottom of panel 8.

This morning, March 30, I finally found the place where the "Trefoil" of purplish-red E. meridionalis eggs used to be, and to my relief and surprise found what looks like a few eggs left. Picture 1 shows what the Trefoil looked like on March 21. Picture 2 shows the first sight. Picture 3 shows it taken closer, still on March 30, almost straight up (but not quite). This means that there is still a chance that a couple of the eggs from Fall 2020 are still alive!

Around the corner, on the north end of the East Wall, some more interesting sights. It does seem as if some eggs were laid in the Fall and are near hatching. Doesn't it? At the top almost center, you can see a couple of eggs without protective coating at their tips. Pictures 1 and 2 are from March 31 and April 1, and show some probable Barklouse eggs on the fourth panel from the North on the East Wall.. The third picture is from April 1 and shows a scene on panel 3 from the northern end of the East Wall.

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copyright Martha O'Kennon 2021