Greetings, BugFans, The BugLady had fun in a rabbit hole recently. OK, it was a cold, gray day, threatening snow/rain, and the light from the monitor was brighter than the light from outside, but it’s a rabbit hole she had …
This summer, the BugLady got a “what is this?” email from BugFan Debra that contained a picture of this beautiful black wasp with white spats that she took in northern Wisconsin (thanks, Debra!). The posture was reminiscent of our local Giant Ichneumon wasps, but there are only four species in that genus, and this wasn’t any of them. So, the BugLady suggested that Debra send the picture to the entomology department at UW-Madison, where almost-BugFan PJ identified it. He noted that its “dapper black & white appearance is pretty distinctive” and ID’d it as Xorides stigmapterus.
Forest Beach Migratory Preserve is a repurposed golf course north of Port Washington (WI), owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. It’s mainly grassland, with woods and some brushy areas, and it was designed to serve as a stopover/refueling “bed and breakfast” for migrating birds. Water hazards were turned into small ponds, more ponds were dug, and tall grass prairie plants were planted.
The BugLady hopes that you’ve been getting out on the trail and drinking in the lushness of the summer. Subjects of this summer’s survey include wasps, aphids, syrphids, and katydids.
Thyreodon atricolor (no common name), one of the BugLady’s “Nemesis Bugs,” is a big, beautiful wasp that flies tantalizingly through dappled, woody edges, preceded by those fabulous, yellow antennae. It seldom stops, and when it does, it often perches in the shade.
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.
The BugLady is spending as much time as she can in the field (and the rest of it editing pictures) because, you know, the Summer Solstice has passed, and a little wave of warblers moved through her yard the other day, and winter is coming. Many of these beauties have already starred in their own BOTW. In a nutshell – there’s a whole lot of romance in the air.
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.
\Someday, the BugLady will write a book about trying to pry information about this wasp from the ether (once she figured out that it isn’t a Sphex or a Podalonia); it will be subtitled (with apologies to Judith Viorst) “Google has a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” (and possibly sub-sub-titled “Net Neutrality and Entomological Research? Really??”). Anyway – different pulpit.
This week, The BugLady introduces some insects that, while not totally unsung, still have a pretty low profile.