Posts Tagged 'invert'


Here’s a Megachilidae family leaf-cutter bee. Even if you’ve never seen one, you may very well have seen their sign.These solitary nesting bees gather pollen on the underside of their abdomens, unlike bumblebee and honey bees who pack it around their hind legs. They are fabulous pollinators and generally quite uninterested in you. They’re too busy working to care much for us.

As their name suggests, they chew out rather roundish pieces of leaves. Here’s a willow oak (Quercus phellos) I passed recently on a sidewalk in my neighborhood. (Hmm, but what’s that uneven cut on the other side?)I’ve never actually seen the cutting itself. Something to look forward to. (You know, when you pay attention to the wild you will never stop being amazed, never lose the excitement of novelty.) I’ve only seen a bee with a piece of leaf once or twice, and only photographed it once, a few years ago.

The females line their nests with these leaf pieces. Shall we theorize that some species of plants are better for counteracting parasites? Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is a pretty reliable plant for these circular cuts.

Gardeners and tree shepards, rejoice that you have these cut leaves! Check out this site for some notes on how to encourage these amazing animals, how to set up solitary bee “hotels,” and video of a leaf cutter building out her brood cell.


Trump’s looters and polluters (and western militia extremists) are now attempting to roll back the Endangered Species Act. No end to the abominations of these fuckers.

Ebony Jewelwing

Flying moth-like on broad dark wings, their abdomens metallic green or blue, depending on the light, Calopteryx maculata are probably the most recognizable of our damselflies.Males are pictured above. These and the females below were spotted around the Cross River in the Ward Pound Ridge Reserve in Westchester County. I’ve not seen them in NYC*.The females have distinctive white pseugostigmas.

*They have been documented on Staten Island. In the 2009 state odonate survey, Staten Island (Richmond Co.) had 75 species of dragonflies and damselflies; Brooklyn (Kings Co.) had 23. I’ve tallied 24 species in Brooklyn.

Question Mark

Polygonia interrogationisThere are two comma or anglewing butterflies of the Polygonia genus we see regularly here in NYC. You can tell them apart when their wings are spread, but it’s subtle.Polygonia interrogationisBut they often perch upright. So the namesake comma mark on the hindwing is the tell-all. Of course, this is hard to see in the field!Polygonia interrogationisThe fabled question mark. You won’t be the first grammarian to say it looks more like a semi-colon.

This example is perched distantly on some Duckweed, in case you are wondering about the curious pebbly-look of the background.

Hopper, Cricket

IMG_4248Good sand-colored camouflage here.IMG_4256Here, not so much, but then crickets are usually tucked away someplace, heard much more often than seen. Grasshoppers and crickets (and katydids, etc.) are in the order Orthoptera, the “straight-winged.”


IMG_7811A duskywing, perhaps Horace’s (Erynnis horatius), the other option being Juvenal’s (E. juvenalis). All very classical, no? The similar species overlap around here, with Juvenal’s the more northerly and Horace’s the more southerly.

Yellow Bear

Spilosoma virginicaYellow Bear caterpillar (Spilosoma virginica), sometimes known as the Yellow Wooly Bear. Compare with one I photographed last year: they come in a great range of colors. According to Wagner, the pale early instars are gregarious, the older instars wonder lonely as a cloud. (I may have hopped-up Wagner’s description a bit.)


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