Posts Tagged 'insects'

Butterflies

Meadow Fritillary (Boloria bellona). I just found a second hand copy of Butterflies Through Binoculars: A Field Guide to Butterflies in the Boston-New York-Washington Region by Jeffery Glassberg and used it to identify this one. The fritillaries can be rather similar to each other.Here, for instance, is a Varigated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia), which on second thought isn’t all that similar at all…

I was pleased to see that Glassberg’s book had many photographs taken in Westchester Co., NY, where both the first and third butterflies pictured today were spotted.This one is a little harder to pin down. In our parts, the Satyrodes genus includes the Eyed Brown and Appalachian Brown. The differences are subtle, but I think this is the Appalachian Brown (S. appalachia). Took this photo with a flash because of the darkness of the woods.

Both of the Meadow and the Brown were firsts for me. It’s always a thrill to discover something you’ve never seen before.

Flyday

Three-spot Horse Fly (Tabanus trimaculatu). I kid you not.It’s the females who bite; I think this one’s a male. He has his father’s eyes, right?

Vespa Crabro

The last two summers, I saw solitary examples of a very large, yellow-abdomened wasp in Green-Wood. They moved constantly, never staying still long enough to be photographed. Last summer I identified them as European Hornets, Vespa Crabro; the species has been in North American since at least 1840.This summer, I finally found one hanging around. They will take larger prey, but this one caught and dispatched a Honey Bee (Apis mellifera; another Eurasian species). Worth opening up this image for a larger view if you have the stomach for it.They use their powerful jaws to chew up wood to make paper nests, rather like our Bald-faced Hornets. That means this bee got chomped up pretty quickly in those choppers.  The wasp is hanging by its hind two legs as it maneuvers the bee around with its other four legs. It was quick work.These Vespa live in nests of up to a thousand workers. I’ve only ever seen one at a time, but then, they generally hunt at night (which is unusual for wasps). Although big and scary looking — you wouldn’t want to be the bee here — they are “gentle giants” and are only aggressive in defending their nests.

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Everything but the sheet: Donald J. Trump is an avowed Nazi-symphathizer.

Red Meadowhawks

Obelisking meadowhawk of the Sympetrum genus. This abdomen-up position minimizes the amount of heat hitting the body.The Sympetrum are difficult to distinguish out-of-hand in the field. This could be the White-faced, Cherry-faced, or Ruby-Faced.This male was the only specimen seen at NYBG. The females are even harder to distinguish, but they all know the drill: the sex parts are all unique for the individual species. This dragon made many sorties and perched in multiple spots within a very short compass, but he always faced the pond.Another, this time on Staten Island. Note that segment 2 of the abdomen doesn’t seem as keel-like as the one in the first three pictures. Also the only example seen at this location. They seem to like the perch and foray style, unlike, say, the gliders, which are constantly on patrol in the air.

Ode to the Odonates

An immature female Eastern Forktail (Ischnura verticalis). Several members of of the Ischunura genus have immature females with orange on them, but telltale here: segments 1-3 are mostly orange, and that there’s no orange on segment 9. She will lose this color as she ages: the standard female form is an olive green, although there’s also a male-like female with pale green-blue details. An Orange Bluet male (Enallagma signatum). Notably about .5″ longer than the Forktail. (The duckweed here, especially in first pic, is host to a small insect that I don’t know.) Back to the inch-long specimens. This is a Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita) male. Species is distinctive in both sexes for the broken “shoulder stripe.”Slaty Skimmer (Libellula incesta) male. (About 2″ long.) If you’re just joining us: a quick way to tell damselflies from dragonflies is that dragonflies rest with their wings spread, damselflies with their wings closed above their abdomen. (Cavet: spread-winged damselflies; always an outlier somewhere.) The Slaty is a new species for me. Only took one picture because I wasn’t paying all that much attention: thought it might be an Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis) male in different light. The Pondhawk — smaller, powdery blue, different eye color — also has notable white appendages, down there at the end of his abdomen, the parts he uses to clasp the female in the mating grip.

Hemaris thysbe

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth.I love watching these creatures at work. They are almost constantly in motion, never landing on flowers like bees and butterflies, and moving quickly between different flowers. I’m surprised these phone pictures came out so well. Although the moth is throwing its own shadow over its legs, there are bits where you can see that the legs are white, which nails down the species identification.

Unlike most moths, these are diurnal. There were a few working the bumblebee heaven of Monarda behind the Visitor Center at Great Swamp NWR. By a nice coincidence, at least two hummingbirds were dipping into a feeder on the other side of the center.

Great Golden Digger

Busy as a wasp. A Great Golden Digger Wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus).She builds a nearly vertical burrow with cells off of a central tunnel, each stockpiled with paralyzed grasshoppers and katydids for her young.


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