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.
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.
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.
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.
This week, The BugLady introduces some insects that, while not totally unsung, still have a pretty low profile.
‘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!
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.
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.
Slug moths belong in the family Limacodidae (“snail/slug form”); the larvae are called slug caterpillars, and the adults are called slug caterpillar moths. A number of species occur here in God’s Country, but they are a group that she associates with the South. The BugLady’s first experience with them involved driving a camp counselor to the ER in Florida after a related puss caterpillar, our most venomous caterpillar dropped out of a tree onto her.
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!