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.
The BugLady is feeling a little cranky. It’s snowing as she’s writing this – 3” to 5” are expected, and the temperatures predicted for the next week mean that the snow’s not going anywhere soon, so the newly-returned robins, cranes and killdeer will be very unhappy – and she’s leading her first woodcock and frog walk in three weeks. To take our minds off of the snow, here are a few insects about which the information is sparse, though they are undoubtedly worthy.
Ever since the BugLady started her “Bugs in the News” sub-series, alert BugFans have been sending links to articles they’ve come across. Thanks, BugFans! Alas, to view a few of these, you have to wade through some ad content.
Today, the BugLady explores three different epiblemas; the Goldenrod Gall Moth, Bidens Borer, and the Epiblema Boxcana. Epiblemas are micromoths, which is a handy but unscientific grouping that has members across several families (and it’s a genus name that is shared with an Australian orchid called “babe-in-a-cradle”).
There are about 11,000 species of moths in North America, and many of them fit the birders’ all-purpose acronym for sparrows and other small, songbirds – “LBJ” – for “Little Brown Job.” The moths in today’s collection are anything but anonymous in appearance, though apparently, they aren’t good enough or bad enough or charismatic enough to have been studied much, so life history details are scanty.
The goldenrods in the BugLady’s field are exuberant, with new, brilliant yellow flowers opening daily. Goldenrod blooms late, produces a bonanza of pollen (there’s not much nectar there), and is the embodiment of the insect enthusiast’s credo—“Looking for insects? Check the flowers.”
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!
If the first rule of looking for insects is “check the flowers,” then wild geraniums(Geranium maculatum) are the flower to watch right now. Insects perceive UV light differently than we do, and the transparent veins that lead them across the petals to the payload at the center of the flower (they’re called “nectar guides”) are far more conspicuous to them.
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.