Journal for June 6, 2010

This post is mostly insects: my overwintering moths are starting to hatch; I’ve seen some interesting odd bugs in various places around the farm; and some wonderful moths have been coming to my lights at night.

First – a few butterflies

This is an Arctic Skipper – an early summer butterfly that I see infrequently in the wetland.

This is a group of butterflies – probably all males – getting salts from some very smelly scat.  Red-spotted Purples, Viceroys, and Silvery Checkerspots.

Red-spotted Purples have just started coming out in the last week or so.  They bask and sip salts on the driveway.

A closely related butterfly – the White Admiral – flies at about the same time, and they often hybridize.  The White Admiral is below, in the photo, with a Red-spotted Purple above.

A Midland Clubtail dragonfly eating a butterfly – the first time I’ve observed that.

This is – I think – a Wooly Alder Aphid.  The cotton-candy-like fluff is the back of a tiny aphid – you can see the aphid’s legs sticking out at the bottom.

I found many of them on the leaves and stems of the alders in our wetland.  It’s so odd to watch these little fluffs walking around – usually they don’t look like they have any legs.

A Bee-like Flower Scarab beetle

Virginia Creeper Sphinx moth – I got the pupa from Ian last winter, and it finally hatched

These are Mourning Cloak caterpillars.  There were dozens of them at the top of a small aspen in the wetland.   They had nearly defoliated the top branches.

The eggs that I got from the Modest Sphinx moth have hatched.  They’re typical sphinx moth caterpillars – with a pointed horn at the rear end of their body.  They’re happily eating aspen leaves.

And now some flowers…

I’ve found two Penstemons blooming in the planted prairies.  Large Flowered Beard-tongue is one that I planted intentionally.

Here’s a closeup of the flowers.

This one is Slender Beard-tongue.  It’s found around here, but I’ve never seen it growing, and didn’t think I had planted it.  It must have been a volunteer seed in some of the other seeds I bought.

This is Western Prairie – lots of Indian Paintbrush and other early summer flowers.  Red Clover is blooming too – not a native but it lingers in these old agricultural fields.

And here are the moths that have been coming to my lights at night.  I’ve identified most of them, but there are a few left unidentified.  There’s also one non-moth that I haven’t figured out.

Here’s the one that’s not a moth.  I think it might be a Wood Cockroach (Parcoblatta sp.)

A Three-spotted Fillip

An unknown moth

Delicate Cycnia

Unknown moth

Banded Tussock Moth – I’ve raised the caterpillar of this one but the adult hasn’t emerged, so I hadn’t seen an adult until now.

Pale Beauty

Unknown moth

Dark-spotted Palthis


Modest Sphinx

Isabella Tiger Moth – the caterpillars are known as Wooly Bears

Crocus Geometer – there are two species that are very much alike and I can’t tell which this is

Unknown moth