Posts Tagged 'invertebrates'


BombusBombusThis large, handsome bumble bee was thoroughly probing the Hostas in Green-Wood. BombusNow, I find bumblebee identification difficult. There are four or five species that have yellow abdomen, and none of them are commonly seen here. I narrowed it down to Bombus pensylvanicus or B. borealis (but we are a bit south of its range) or B. fervidus.

The Xerces Society’s pdf “Bumble Bees of the Eastern U.S.“, for instance, assumes you have a specimen under a microscope. “Midleg basitarus with distal posterior corner sharply pointed” runs a typical line. I have a field guide… uh, somewhere, so that’s no help. Finally, I submitted one of these pictures to and the verdict was Bombus fervidus, Great Northern Bumble Bee.

Webworm Parent

Atteva aureaThe Ailanthus Webworm Moth (Atteva aurea) is distinctive. For one thing, it was working in daylight and most moths are nocturnal. Also, with its small wings tightly rolled, it doesn’t look like your typical moth; it’s one of the ermine moths. Its nominal host plant, Ailanthus (The Tree that Grows on Roofs), is originally from Asia, but this species is native to southern Florida and the Caribbean. There it originally fed (in its caterpillar stage) on Paradise Trees (Simarouba glauca). Somewhere along the way, it jumped to Ailanthus and spread north.

Spotted Cucumber Beetle

Diabrotica undecimpunctataDiabrotica undecimpunctata on Liatris.



Autumn Meadowhawk

Sympetrum vicinumAn immature or teneral male Sympetrum vicinum in Green-Wood. Sympetrum vicinumWhen mature, this small dragonfly will be a beautiful shade of red, and a representative of one of the few dragonfly species to be seen locally into October. The yellow-legs will stay this color: an alternate common name is Yellow-legged Meadowhawk. Sympetrum vicinumHaving recently emerged from its larval stage, probably in the nearby Valley Water, this young adult had to harden up its exoskeleton and wings before flying. It’s probably still getting used to flight, and was very nonchalant about my phone pointing at it.The teneral stage lasts about a week as the animal gets its mature coloring. Here’s what they look like mature.

Katydid Nights

Since Sunday night, a katydid has been stridulating out beyond the Back 40. It’s a Common True Katydid (Pterophylla camellifolia), the one that says its own name. Once upon a time, nearly a century ago, this species was presumed extirpated from NYC, but it has clearly returned. Katydid-katydidnt & etc.

The Horticulturist remembers childhood visits to her Grandmother’s Florida in summer, when the whole house would throb with the sounds of these insects. I’ve really only heard them locally. For there are, in fact, several species of katydids here in the city. You can hear them in individual street trees as well as massing in choral frenzies in the parks. They, and the crickets, are the insects of the night. These sultry nights of August are their time of the year. Walking down Union Street from Park Slope to Cobble Hill the other night after 11 pm, I heard the Greater Angle-wing (Microcentrum rhombifolium) repeatedly. This one makes making two different sounds in street trees: a ticking I liken to a safe tumbler spinning and a periodic lisping “tzip”.

Although they are night-singers, katydids can be seen during during the day, which is when all the previous katydid appearances in this blog have occurred:
In the Back 40.
On the inside of the front door.
In a local meadow.
In another state.


unknownlarvaSpotted on the t-shirt of one of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s gardeners. Clearly, a bug who knows its friends.

Speaking of friends, I will be doing a Bugs and Blooms tour tonight at 6:30 at Pier 1 BBP.


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