Insects Update

A couple of American Snouts. Um, yes, that’s their rather descriptive common name. Libytheana carinenta is a lot more common south and west — I’ve seen them before in Texas. Their larval food plant is hackberry. There were three mature hackberries above this understory. What an illustration of the relationship between plant and animal! I first thought this tiny beetle was a lady bug of some kind. But some searching of the usual suspects came up with nothing similar. I started to look closer: those antenna are too long for a lady beetle. With some help from a couple people on iNaturalist, we narrowed this down to Scirtes orbiculatus, one of the marsh beetle (a family I wasn’t even aware of). It doesn’t seem to have a common name. There were at least two on common milkweed.Speaking of milkweed, I caught a glimpse of my first Monarch caterpillar of the year in the same patch. As I was trying to focus:A European Paper Wasp flew in and took the caterpillar down. Yikes! That’s a lot of meat… and so much for milkweed’s toxic latex protection. These wasps will eat the adult butterflies, too. Speaking of eating, this aphid better watch out. Asian Lady Beetle larva in proximity…! Eastern Amberwing dragonflies are out and about. Fairly common, our smallest dragonfly.

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