Posts Tagged 'insects'

Oak Wilt

Damn it! I really wanted to start on a positive note, but the bad news just keeps coming. Oak wilt has been discovered in Brooklyn. This is a lethal fungal infection of oaks and other species, its spores spread by beetles.

img_2116When I was in Green-Wood on Friday, I heard a chipper hard at work. As I got closer, I realized it was grinding up one of my favorite old Red Oaks! That’s about 7 feet of stump still to go. This is the tree whose globular fungal growths, which have nothing to do with the wilt as far as I’ve been able to tell, have piqued my curiosity before. The sixth image down here is what these mushrooms look like when fresh.

Here’s more about the disease.

Oaks are so damn important. Their relationship to a host of life forms, particularly insects and birds, puts them deep within a spreading web of ecological connections (Muir Webs). And we have a lot of oaks here in the city, on the street and in the parks and woodlands.

I mean, it’s a double-whammy: a killer orange fungus soon to be soiling the White House, and a nasty fungal pathogen going after some of our grandest trees.

Spiny Gall

gall2Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is a good gall-tree. One species of aphid, Hormaphis hamamelidis, forces the tree to make cone-shaped galls on the leaves. The young aphid grows up inside this, protected from its enemies. Another species of aphid, the Spiny Witch Hazel Gall maker, Hamamelistes spinosus, makes the tree make these hard, spiny galls that come off of the twigs.gall1Ken Chaya, who identified these for us, cut a couple of them in half. A spider had taken up residence in one. Another had the white filaments of a cocoon within.
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Have to admit missing most of the White-tailed-Deer-in-Harlem story, for I have no interest in television news ratings-fodder. In response, Jason Munshi-South had a good editorial in the Daily News on the need for a sane policy on urban wild animals.

Twilight of the Gods

mosquito

Variegated

Euptoieta claudiaA Variegated Fritillary (Euptoieta claudia) yesterday in the Buddleia pollinator-magnet at Green-Wood. First time I’ve seen this species here in NYC, although I’d seen one before in Arizona. They’re a southern species, uncommon here, but have been known to get up to Canada.

Tiger Beetle

Cicindela limbalisA Common Claybank Tiger Beetle (Cicindela limbalis). Also known as the Green-margined Tiger Beetle. Spotted by a owl-eyed friend on a lichen-anchored rock on Mt. Taurus up above Cold Spring, NY, on a recent hike. Tiger beetles, in addition to being stripy are fast-moving predators of other insects.

viewThis was the view from up there.

Monarch, Comma

Danaus plexippusSpotted two Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in Green-Wood today.Danaus plexippusLike perfect little kites of joy.Polygonia commaAlso saw some Cabbage Whites, Orange Sulphurs, and several skippers. Pretty good for a day with temps in the high 40s at sunrise. There was also this Comma (Polygonia comma).Polygonia commaSoaking up the sun.

After Barely A Summer Dies the Bee

SolidagoThis goldenrod was chock-a-stem with bumblebees, carpenter bees, and honeybees, moving slowly if at all on a cool day. You could pet them if you liked. XylocopaThis is the last hurrah for the bumbles and carpenter bees, except for already mated queens, who will soon find a place tucked away in leaf litter for the winter. Female honeybees will overwinter in the hive, keeping their queen warm. It’s curtains for all the males.xylocopaI’ve never noticed the white face mark of the male Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica).img_0410The great circle of life in action: a mantis munches away at a still-flailing bumblebee.


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