Thistle Head Weevil

Another week, another alien beetle eating an alien thistle. The BugLady found this pair of weevils while she was chasing Thistle tortoise beetles (clearly, it’s a weevil that gets a lot of mileage out of its food plant). And, in the “Ain’t the Internet Grand” category, a Google search for “weevil on thistle” resulted in a quick ID.

Thistle Tortoise Beetle

The BugLady was wandering the trails at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve recently when she spied a lovely green Thistle Tortoise Beetle on Canada thistle. Tortoise beetles have made previous BOTW appearances in the form of the Mottled tortoise beetle in 2014 and the Horsemint tortoise beetle in 2016. After she saw an adult, the BugLady started looking for larvae on some of the scruffier-looking plants.

Lightning Beetle Again

OK – this is a love story of sorts. It’s an episode that originated in 2009, and it has already been rerun once and now rewritten again. But…..the BugLady just returned from southern Ohio, where she co-led a workshop about Bugs and Wonder (an unappreciated, sometimes suspect, and insufficiently-entertained state of mind) (and mostly we could say that about the bugs, too). We trawled the prairies and woods for bugs during the day, and at dusk and into the night, we hunted for fireflies.

Bugs without Bios XII

The BugLady is feeling a little cranky. It’s snowing as she’s writing this – 3” to 5” are expected, and the temperatures predicted for the next week mean that the snow’s not going anywhere soon, so the newly-returned robins, cranes and killdeer will be very unhappy – and she’s leading her first woodcock and frog walk in three weeks. To take our minds off of the snow, here are a few insects about which the information is sparse, though they are undoubtedly worthy.

Bugs in the News IV

Ever since the BugLady started her “Bugs in the News” sub-series, alert BugFans have been sending links to articles they’ve come across. Thanks, BugFans! Alas, to view a few of these, you have to wade through some ad content.

Bugs Without Bios XI

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

A Bundle of Beetles

SCHIZOTIS CERVICOLIS has no common name (for no earthly reason that the BugLady could discern, one site calls it the “Flaming-pillow beetle,” but she’s not dignifying that one). It’s a Fire-colored beetle, family Pyrochroidae (because many species in the family have red or orange body parts). Male pyrochroids often have fancy antennae. The BugLady photographed it as it bobbed up and down on a stem in a wetland on a breezy day in late spring. Like the coreopsis beetle above, it resides across northern half of North America.

Predaceous Diving Beetle revisited

The BugLady has been busy, so here’s an enhanced version of an episode that appeared in 2009. New facts, new pictures.

Beetles have been around for 225 million years, plus or minus, and more than a quarter of all species of living things that have been described are beetles. They outnumber vertebrate species 18 to 1 and there are 24,000 beetle species in North America alone.

Goldenrod Watch – Act II

The goldenrods in the BugLady’s field are exuberant, with new, brilliant yellow flowers opening daily. Goldenrod blooms late, produces a bonanza of pollen (there’s not much nectar there), and is the embodiment of the insect enthusiast’s credo—“Looking for insects? Check the flowers.”

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.