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.

Summer Survey 2019

The BugLady hopes that you’ve been getting out on the trail and drinking in the lushness of the summer. Subjects of this summer’s survey include wasps, aphids, syrphids, and katydids.

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly

Gray Hairstreaks are the most widely distributed American hairstreak, and they spill over into Canada, Central America, and the northern edge of South America. They’ve been seen in more than half of Wisconsin counties. Why “hairstreak?” These small butterflies have one or two slim (hair-like) tails on the lower “corner” of each hindwing.

Northern Metalmark Butterfly

Northern Metalmarks are subtly beautiful, with patterns of silver/metal/rust on dark wings. NMs like open/dappled stream edges and meadows near woodlands with shale, limestone or serpentine rock barrens or outcroppings close by. Their historical range is believed to have been much larger. Multiple factors have led to their decline, and it’s mostly a familiar chorus.

Silver-spotted Skipper

This wonderful caterpillar dropped down onto the railing the other day while the BugLady was eating breakfast on the porch. The Silver-spotted skipper was mentioned briefly ten years ago in a general BOTW about skippers, in which the BugLady confessed, not for the last time, that she is Skipper Challenged (Brock and Kaufman, in the Field Guide to Butterflies of North America, say that “Beginners are often driven to despair by the skippers because there are so many of them and because they are so subtle, so challenging to identify. Experienced butterfly watchers may love the skippers for exactly the same reasons.”). It deserves an episode of its own.

More Scenes of Summer

OK – it’s September, but the bug season isn’t over yet. Outside of wetlands, if there’s anything better than a walk on the prairie, surrounded by Big Bluestem grass, with big Common Green Darners and Black Saddlebags dragonflies overhead, the BugLady hasn’t found it yet. Here is another batch of summer images, mostly from prairies.

European Skipper Butterfly

The BugLady has trouble wrapping her head around the idea of a non-native butterfly, especially one that’s considered a pest. What could be more benign than a butterfly? But, there’s the non-native Cabbage White butterfly (there’s even an alien orchid that’s considered invasive in some areas – read this for more about that). Of course, when butterflies are listed as a pest species, it’s because of the dining habits of their caterpillars. This week, the BugLady takes a look at the European Skipper Butterfly.

Bugs in the News – The Videos

In past years, the BugLady has taken off during the month of May or June to refresh her sadly depleted “BOTW Future” file with new images of emerging insects, and she plans to do that. BUT – she’s also in the process of moving out of a house that she’s lived in for 40 years (rule of thumb – if you haven’t seen it/thought about it/used it for 10 years or so, you probably don’t need it). St. Vinnies’ is thrilled. The BugLady is thrilled that she’ll go forward with about 1/3 of her present worldly possessions.

Monarch Butterfly

It’s hard for us to wrap our minds around how populations of an organism that occurs by the millions (like the horseshoe crab, of recent BOTW fame) could be threatened. And yet.

Least Skipper Butterfly

The BugLady is inching through her skipper butterfly pictures, staring at the ones she’s simply labeled “skipper” and trying to attach names to them. Early results suggest that she does not know the secret handshake yet.