Green June in July

Cotinus nitidaI saw this flying fairly low and slow, and waited a while to see if it would land. Waiting may be the essence of natural history observation. As it flew, my thought process was thus: too small for a cicada, too wide for a wasp. Once it landed, Japanese Beetle came to mind; but although similar, this is larger, and lacks the grooved elytra and the tufty bristles of that pest. This turned out to be the Green June Beetle (Cotinus nitida). Another foot soldier in the empire of beetles, the true earthlings (the rest of us just live here, wantonly slaughtering everything that moves). The Latin nitida means shiny, bright, handsome. Cotinus nitidaSeveral days later, I found another in a different borough.

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5 Responses to “Green June in July”


  1. 1 Peggy Herron July 19, 2014 at 9:28 am

    When do Monarch butterflies eat milkweed, what part of the plant do they eat and what month do they eat it ? I have been unable to find this info .
    I have been unable to find this info.

    • 2 mthew July 20, 2014 at 7:44 am

      Thanks, Elizabeth, for getting here before me. Peggy, eggs are laid on the plants from early spring to late spring and beyond as Monarchs make their way north, so it depends where you are. Successive generations munch away through summer — here are some from a September a few years back http://matthewwills.com/2010/09/16/monarchs/. As you probably know, this is a devastating year for Monarchs. A record low over-wintered in Mexico; destruction of their food crops through field to field plowing, leaving no room for the scrubby edges so favored by milkweed, and and human chemical warfare against insects and plants are to blame. I have so far seen only one adult Monarch this year.

      • 3 Peggy Herron July 21, 2014 at 10:20 am

        The milkweed was in my neighbors front yard and he wanted me to pull it out as it looked weedy! I refused to remove it and shared all the monarch info you gave me . Now there is much excitement someone has started to eat the milkweeds leaves. He told nevyesterday the plant is staying ! Thanks for your help.

  2. 4 elwnyc July 20, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Hi Peggy, it’s the monarch butterfly caterpillars that eat the milkweed (the leaves, I think). The adult monarchs live on the nectar of lots of different flowers. Here’s a link to a site that has lots of information about monarch butterflies:

    http://www.monarch-butterfly.com/monarch-butterflies-facts.html

  3. 5 Nature on the Edge July 20, 2014 at 5:40 am

    Some beetles have it all, shiny, bright, handsome… lovely speciman.


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