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.
Found 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.A late-blooming Prickly Pear (Opuntia), one of my favorite local flowers. A 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.Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) also at JBWR.Our 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. I 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.
I 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. They 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!