Another celebration of insects that are not good enough nor bad enough nor beautiful enough nor bizarre enough to have fan clubs, or common names, or even much of a biography.
Green-spotted Fruitworm Moth adults, in the early days of spring, visit birch and maple sap drips for nourishment, and then switch to nectar from maple and willow flowers. They are considered pollinators. SGQs overwinter as pupae in minimalist cocoons in the soil, ready to go when the ground warms. Females lay eggs (100 to 300 of them) in trees as the leaves emerge; their caterpillars are on the job by the end of April and have disappeared by the end of June, tucked away under the soil until the following year.
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 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.
It’s National Moth Week! Right now (July 23rd – 31st)! Moths are diverse, successful, showy, drab, cryptic, abundant, huge (a few have wingspreads close to 12”), micro, tasty, toxic objects of our admiration, confusion, superstition, and reverence.
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.
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.
Sphinx moth caterpillars are frequently associated with one, or a small group of host plants, for which they are often named (tobacco and tomato hornworms, big poplar, wild cherry, huckleberry, catalpa sphinx, etc.). Some are pests of agricultural or horticultural plantings, and they may have different names than their adults (when it grows up, a tomato hornworm becomes a Five-lined sphinx).
The fourth Annual chorus of “The Twelve Bugs of Christmas,” the BugLady offers a Bakers’ Dozen of Bug Portraits that were taken this year but are unlikely to appear in future BOTWs because their stories have been told in past BOTWs (hence, the links, for BugFans who want to know “The Rest of the Story”).
There are 13 species of Datana moths in North America; some are associated with specific host plants like nut trees, sumacs, or azaleas, but the Yellow Necked Datana Moth is more of a generalist feeder. Its menu includes basswood, apple, oak, birch, willow, elm, blueberry, and others.