A competition - know your neighbours

https://www.dropbox.com/s/1ykqh8ir5tkmi52/2.JPG
What is it?
What is it sitting on?
Is it male or female?
For extra credit: what are the stalks on its behind for?
Prizes will be awarded for the best answers
David
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David Hare-Scott wrote:

aphid.

not sure, very red sap.

not sure, likely female.

emitting defensive substances.
but i like thinking they are jets.

songbird
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wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphid http://insected.arizona.edu/gg/resource/external.html
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songbird wrote:

Correct. A rose aphid to be specific. There are many kinds of many colours.

A rose stem. Until I started macro photography I never knew roses had those red knobs on their stems. Now that I think about it if you run your fingertip over a rose stem, avoiding the thorns, it feels rough. I am thinking that roughness is due to these knobs which are not visible to the naked eye, not to my eye anyway. Does anybody know their purpose?

I surely cannot tell by looks! As it is winter here I would expect them to be in asexual reproduction mode and thus female. The white 'ghosts' are discarded exoskeletons from bugs that have outgrown their skin.

I think that is correct. Although there are many kinds of aphids I think they all have this in common. The honeydew is not from these stalks but from their behind.

Jet-powered aphids! Scary!

Bird has another doll to add to his collection.
I wonder if the poor response to this challenge indicates lack of knowledge or interest in bugs. I would think this is something gardeners ought to take an interest in.
David
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David Hare-Scott wrote: ...

yippee!

i think many people are on vacation.
songbird
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On 7/1/13 5:14 PM, David Hare-Scott wrote:

Songbird is correct: It is an aphid.
The stalks on its rear emit a fluid rich in sugars, which ants eat. Ants will actually stroke the stalks to cause an increase in the fluid. Ants will also defend aphids agains predators such as ladybugs. In some cases, ants have even been known to move aphids to locations more optimal for the aphid to feed.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean, see
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