Bugs Without Bios XI

This week, The BugLady introduces some insects that, while not totally unsung, still have a pretty low profile.

The 12 Bugs of Christmas

‘Tis the Season for the annual Twelve Bugs of Christmas – a baker’s dozen, actually, of oddities (and wonders) that the BugLady found during the year. Let Heaven and Nature sing!

Hobomok Skipper

The BugLady is already yearning for dragonflies and butterflies and other flying objects that are larger than the Asian ladybugs, Western conifer seed bugs, and the few rogue mosquitoes that are presently sheltering in her house.

The Hobomok Skipper (Poanes hobomok), a.k.a the Northern Golden Skipper, is a common, early-flying member of the Grass Skipper subfamily Hesperiinae, whose members perch with their wings folded together when nectaring but with their front wings open and their hind wings only partly so when resting.

Way Out on the Lonesome Prairie

Lately, The BugLady’s been thinking about prairies. She led a walk at Riveredge Nature Center’s excellent “Knee Deep in Prairies” celebration, and she spends a lot of quality time on the prairie because she loves its ever-changing palettes and patterns. By some estimates, the biomass of the insects on pre-settlement American prairies equaled that of the bison. Here are some pollinators and predators and plant feeders of the prairie – and the flowers they visit.

Slug Moths – A Tale in Two Parts

Slug moths belong in the family Limacodidae (“snail/slug form”); the larvae are called slug caterpillars, and the adults are called slug caterpillar moths. A number of species occur here in God’s Country, but they are a group that she associates with the South. The BugLady’s first experience with them involved driving a camp counselor to the ER in Florida after a related puss caterpillar, our most venomous caterpillar dropped out of a tree onto her.

Technicolor Thoughts

With a lower case “t,” technicolor refers to something that is vividly colorful. But long before the creation of color motion pictures, nature has been demonstrating the word’s meaning. Especially when it comes to bugs!

Tiger Swallowtail Brood I (Family Papilionidae)

The first brood of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails is sailing around the BugLady’s skyscapes. Brood I has it tough—they weather the winter and early spring as a chrysalis, hitched (stitched) to the base of a tree trunk, exposed to bitter cold by the lack of snow and chilled by long, cold, wet springs. Many die. And yet, here they are—looping through the air and instigating Brood II.

Bugs without Bios IX

Another celebration of insects that are not good enough nor bad enough nor beautiful enough nor bizarre enough to have fan clubs, or common names, or even much of a biography.

Green-spotted Fruitworm Moth (Family Noctuidae)

Green-spotted Fruitworm Moth adults, in the early days of spring, visit birch and maple sap drips for nourishment, and then switch to nectar from maple and willow flowers. They are considered pollinators. SGQs overwinter as pupae in minimalist cocoons in the soil, ready to go when the ground warms. Females lay eggs (100 to 300 of them) in trees as the leaves emerge; their caterpillars are on the job by the end of April and have disappeared by the end of June, tucked away under the soil until the following year.

Anglewings (Family Nymphalidae)

Anglewings are among the last butterflies abroad in fall and the first in spring. Adults spend the winter tucked into spaces called hibernacula—cracks and crevices in rock piles and tree bark or under eaves. Summer and winter adults have somewhat different coloration; the top surface of the hind wing is more uniformly dark in the summer butterflies,