A Common or Reddish-Brown Stag Beetle (Lucanus capreolus) male who didn’t make it. Found on the sidewalk next to Prospect Park. This specimen is about an inch long. Inhabitants of parks, suburbs, and hardwood forests, they’re mostly nocturnal. They feed on sap; those pincer-like mandibles are used to battle other males for territory. Dudes.
A wonderful manifestation of the wild city at night, sadly stomped by someone who probably didn’t notice. Or perhaps did: an exterminationist attitude runs strongly among some of the benighted, especially when it comes to “bugs.”
Or Eastern Daddy Longlegs (Leiobunum vittatum). Your annual reminder: these are not spiders, don’t have fangs, don’t bite, and are not venomous. Some can spritz you with a stinking defensive spray, though.
Published May 20, 2016
Tags: Prospect Park, trees
One of the American Chestnuts (Castanea dentata) planted in Prospect Park a dozen years ago has succumbed to the pathogenic fungus Cryphonectria parasitica, the dreaded Chestnut Blight. This is in stark contrast to the tree right next to it, which is long with leaf now. But the death was inevitable: these were non-resistant trees. There are, however, some newly planted resistant hybrids nearby.
More about these trees.
More pictures of the spiny husks and fruits.
The alates, or reproductives, of a termite colony, swarming in advance of flight. These “hatch-outs” fill the air with these four-winged, weakly fluttering critters. Keep your mouth closed…
The alates are one of three castes in a termite colony, the others being workers and soldiers. But they’re not ants (Hymenoptera), they’re in the same order as roaches (Blattodea). Mated alates will lose their wings after these nuptial flights and become queen and king of a new colony. Of course, nobody living in a wooden home likes termites, but in the woods they are a vital component.
Such events can attract a mixed flock of birds scrambling to gobbled up the termites. These can be spectacular, with birds normally found much high up in the canopy at eye-level or below.