Posts Tagged 'insects'

Painted Skimmer

Libellula semifasciataLibellula semifasciata.

VLB Adult

Pyrrhalta viburni In less than a decade, the invasive Viburnum Leaf Beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni) has spread throughout most of New York State. They devour the leaves of viburnum species, key understory plants of our woodlands; a couple years infestation can kill the plant. I’ve seen the damage they do in Prospect Park, skeletonizing every leaf on a bush. In Brooklyn Bridge Park they’re trying to control things by hand.

But this was the first time I’ve run across one of the adult beetles. Yesterday in Prospect Park.

Everywhere You Look

HisteridaeFound in the salad spinner after washing some organic lettuce. A Histeridae family beetle, also known as hisser or clown beetles, even though they don’t wear much makeup. They eat the larvae of flies.OpuntiaA late-blooming Prickly Pear (Opuntia), one of my favorite local flowers. Speyeria cybeleA very beat-up Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele), a new species for me. They’re rare in the city; this was at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and seemed to be flying pretty well, considering.Malaclemys terrapinDiamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) also at JBWR.Malaclemys terrapinOur only brackish water turtle. Only the females come to land, to lay their eggs. This one was heading back to the bay, so presumably she had spent the night digging a nest. Considering most of the JBWR nests are plundered by Raccoons (introduced by the highway), best wishes to her. MutillidaeI thought at first this was a large, fast-moving ant, but it’s actually a Red Velvet Ant of the Mutillidae family. Pardon the common name, these are actually wasps and are supposed to have a fierce sting, leading to their alternate name of, head’s up, people, “Cow Killer.” (This is why we have a telephoto lens.) Females are wingless; the winged males look a little more waspy. The larvae are ectoparasites on other wasps, including Cicada Killer Wasps.

Some Recent Sightings

Hirundo rusticaBarn Swallow (Hirundo rustica): this is a Brooklyn bird, but this is a cosmopolitan species; Eurasian specimens, which I saw most days recently in the UK, have generally longer tails and brighter colors.leafcutterThe clean work of a leaf-cutter bee on Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), one of their favorite plants. If you’re a gardener, you should be proud to be hosting these bees, who line their nests with plant fragments. MegachilidaeHere’s one of these Megachilidae family bees on that pollinator-magnet Milkweed (Asclepias). Note that hairy underside of the abdomen: they gather pollen here. OrthopteraA young (early instar) grasshopper, and a much more ragged edge of leaf-munching. The short antennae are a quick distinguishing mark from their Orthoptera cousins, the katydids.katydidThese antenna are more than twice the length of this katydid’s body. Sterna hirundoA Common Tern (Sterna hirundo), a NYC harbor nester, fishing from the pier.

Lace Bugs

Corythuca arcuataI noticed these tiny, delicate-looking bugs underneath the leaves of a couple of oaks in Brooklyn Bridge Park. They’re new to me, members of the Tingidae family, the lace bugs. Kudos to the Horticulturist for the ID. lacebug2They feed on the leaves, producing the splotching seen here. Location and the look of them suggest they are Corythuca arcuata, the Oak Lace Bug. Damage is mostly aesthetic: this Rutgers Cooperative Extension page details other sign (eggs, excreta, earlier life stages) all of which were amply visible on these trees.

Five intensive years of doing this blog, and there is still so much to discover!

Butterfly Dependence

A short walk on the High Line yesterday morning:Vanessa atalantaThere were several Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta); this one was all over the Purple Coneflower (Echinacea).Papilio glaucusTiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus). Danaus plexippusNot as close to the camera: my first Monarch of the year. On Blazing Star (Liatris spicata).

Lessons

Harmonia axyridis
1. It’s hard to focus an iPhone in the wind with one hand.
2. Looks like I need a manicure. Although I’ve have never had one, so I probably won’t ever get one.
3. Never believe anybody when they say the city is a sterile wasteland with nothing but pigeons and a surplus of rats. Just down the block from a Kestrel nest in the valley of the industrial-wasteland bordering the Superfund site of the Gowanus, I find a Multicolored Asian Lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) on something growing out of the crack between sidewalk and building.


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