Bug of the Week

Whirligig Beetle Redux

Whirligig Beetle photo

Howdy, BugFans, Here’s an updated BOTW from 10 years ago (more words). Whirligig beetles are referred to in Kaufman and Eaton’s Field Guide to Insects of North America as the “bumper cars of the beetle world.”  Looking like dark watermelon… Read More

Zebra Caddisfly

Another week, another zebra. The BugLady had fun chasing this dynamite little insect along the banks of the Milwaukee River at Waubedonia Park in mid-summer (it likes to perch on the undersides of leaves). She had never seen one before, but after a few false starts, she discovered that it’s a Zebra Caddisfly.

Zebra Caterpillar

Zebra Moth Caterpillar

The BugLady photographed these beautiful caterpillars on a cold and blustery day at the start of October, a day when nearby New England asters were topped by sluggish bumblebees (bumblebees are sometimes called, only half-jokingly, a “warm-blooded bees”). The caterpillars weren’t too active, either. They’re called Zebra Caterpillars (of course!),

Raspberry Crown Borer

Once again, the BugLady fell for an insect’s disguise. It sure looked like a sluggish yellowjacket sitting on a raspberry leaf, and it wasn’t until she took a picture of it that she noticed all of its hairs/scales. The Raspberry crown borer/Blackberry clearwing borer is a moth in the Clear-winged moth family Sesiidae.

Bugs in the News VII

buck moth photo

There’s a wild and wonderful world of bugs out there. Here are some interesting reports from around the globe.

Ailanthus Webworm Moth

Ailanthis Webworm Moth

It’s always a treat to find one of these jewel-like insects nectaring, usually on goldenrod. They are day-flying moths, though their tendency to sit with wings wrapped around their bodies makes them look like beetles, and their bright colors make them wasp-like in flight. Ailanthus webworm moths (Atteva aurea) (“aurea” means “golden”) are in the family Attevidae, the tropical ermine moths. And tropical they are, except for the AWM (Ailanthus webworm moth, not “angry white men”), which has shed some of its southern proclivities.

September Scenes

The leaves are starting to fall here in God’s Country, the birds are moving, and as of yesterday it’s officially autumn (Yikes!). But there are still some bugs out there – like wildflowers, some species of insects bloom in the spring, some in the summer, and others in the fall. The imperative to reproduce is strong as the days get shorter; most insects live for about a calendar year, mainly in their immature stages, with a short-but-productive adult stage. Most leave behind eggs or pupae or partly-grown offspring to weather the winter.

Adventures at Forest Beach

Forest Beach Migratory Preserve is a repurposed golf course north of Port Washington (WI), owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. It’s mainly grassland, with woods and some brushy areas, and it was designed to serve as a stopover/refueling “bed and breakfast” for migrating birds. Water hazards were turned into small ponds, more ponds were dug, and tall grass prairie plants were planted.

Psorophora Ciliata aka The Shaggy-Legged Gallinipper

Psorophora Ciliata aka The Shaggy-Legged Gallinipper photo

Remember the clouds of little floodplain mosquitoes in September of 2018?  Floodplain mosquitoes take advantage of pools left by seasonal rain, and August of 2018 was soggy (the BugLady collected more than seven inches of rain in her rain gauge that month). Populations of most dragonflies were in their fall decline, so no help from that quarter, and outdoor events in September involved lots of swatting. The BugLady guessed the genus, and an entomologist confirmed that her mosquito is “consistent in appearance with Psorophora ciliata.

The Fiery Skipper

Fiery Skipper side view on purple plant

The Fiery Skipper is one of a pair of distinctive skippers that was featured in a BOTW in 2013. It’s an uncommon migrant to Wisconsin, but the BugLady saw 11 Fiery Skippers decorating the vervain flowers at Waubedonia Park recently, and they seem to be having a good year statewide, so she decided they deserve a more complete biography.