Bugs in the News III

The BugLady is busy writing about shagbark hickory (for the Friends of the Cedarburg Bog) and Short-eared Owls (for the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory), so here are some items about insects, some of which were sent to her by alert BugFans.

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.

A Surprising Porch Bug (Family Nymphalidae)

Northern Pearly-eyes are generally described as shade loving butterflies of forest glades and edges, not found on flowers in sunny meadows. They “may be active early a.m. or late p.m. when they court,” and several sources said that they may come to light at night.

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.

The 13 Bugs of Christmas

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is an English carol that was probably borrowed from the French and that was originally an acapella chant/call-and-response/children’s memory game. It first appeared in writing in 1780, and there were (and still are) many variations of it, though the words were more-or-less standardized when an official melody was finally written for it in 1909.

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,

Viceroy Butterfly Revisited (Family Nymphalidae)

Viceroy butterflies enjoy shrubby and open fields and wet meadows throughout the U.S. They’re less common in the Great Plains, north into Canada and south into central Mexico.

Small, Blue Butterflies (Family Lycaenidae)

Three small, blue “look-alike” butterflies—the Spring Azure and the Summer Azure, often referred to as the Spring Spring Azure and the Summer Spring Azure, and the Eastern Tailed Blue. The Spring Azures have long been considered to be one large and gloriously diverse species made up of several sub-species. Now they’re thought by many to be a number of full species. Ten or eleven species of Blues/Azures occur in Wisconsin.

Cherish the (Butterfly) Ladies (Family Nymphalidae)

The American Lady a year-round resident of the southern U.S. (south into South America and even the Galapagos), its summer wanderings bring it here to God’s country. Like the Painted Lady, it likes sunny, open spaces, and like the Painted Lady, it is an early migrant from the south that re-establishes populations in the North and East annually (it was recorded in Wisconsin in the first week of May this year). Unlike the Painted Lady, its caterpillars are tied to a smaller list of host plants, including the everlastings and pussytoes, and a few other species.