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!),

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.

Luna Moth

The BugLady’s favorite insect is the Tiger Swallowtail (Mom likes me best), but in the crowded field for second place, the Luna Moth is pretty close to the top. Luna moths (Actias luna) are in the Giant Silkworm/Royal Moth family Saturnidae (of previous BOTW fame), whose family members have ringed eyespots reminiscent of Saturn.

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.

Maple Spanworm 2

Another week, another Maple Spanworm. This one, the Large Maple Spanworm (Prochoerodes lineola) is also in the family Geometridae. The BugLady didn’t have to play her usual game of Identification Roulette because, of the seven New World species in this primarily tropical genus, this is the only one that occurs in eastern North America.

Maple Spanworm

Isn’t this moth exquisite! It’s one of several moths in the family Geometridae that go by the same name – Maple Spanworm (more about that in a future episode). And it’s one of several “new bugs” that the BugLady saw for the first time this year.

Trogus Pennator

The BugLady was walking along the trail at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve recently when she saw a flashy, orange, inch-long wasp actively hunting for something in some white ash saplings. The wasp was flying from tree to tree, searching among the leaves. This week, we’re taking a look at the Trogus Pennator.

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.