Skip to main content

Some cool bugs

Well, what bugs AREN'T cool, when you get right down to it? A number of us met this morning at Cedar Bog, a magical place that I have written about many times before. Our purpose was to have a bit of fun, and perhaps make some photos, before meeting about an upcoming conference.

I managed to click off the shutter at some interesting insects on a few occasions, and a smattering of pictorial highlights follow...

The grass-pink orchids, Calopogon tuberosus, were plentiful and at peak bloom. This orange sulphur, Colias eurytheme, was busy flitting from flower to flower in an attempt to extract nectar.

Looking right down the barrel of an American snout, Libytheana carinenta. The small butterflies seem to be cyclical in numbers from year to year, but are being widely reported in large numbers this year.

Snouts often perch with wings folded, and they look every bit the dead leaf. Occasionally one will flex its wings and pose, though, as this one did.

I'm always watching the foliage for caterpillars, and such vigilance pays off from time to time. As our group passed through a thicket along the boardwalk, I was pleased to glance up and spot this fawn sphinx, Sphinx kalmiae. It had been putting the serious hurt on some green ash foliage, but apparently froze in position when it detected our crowd passing by. Note its little blackish doglike tail - a characteristic of many sphinx moth caterpillars.

This is the working end of the caterpillar. It has stripped one side of this ash leaflet bare, and had largely defoliated many of the leaves higher in the tree. If all goes well for this caterpillar, it will morph into a large and gorgeous sphinx moth, and will repay the plant-denuding transgressions of the larva by pollinating other plants.

A seepage dancer, Argia bipunctulata, stares bullets at your blogger. Lucky for me that I'm not gnat-sized. These tiny damselflies are ferocious predators, just on a wee scale. They're so small that it is really easy to miss them as they patrol low in the sedges.

Seepage dancers are one of the rarer Odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) found in Ohio, and are listed as threatened. This species is quite the specialist, requiring open fens with cold, clean groundwater-fed rills flowing through the meadows..

It behooves the miniature seepage dancers to keep a low profile. Their much larger brethren, such as this widow skimmer, Libella luctuosa, have no qualms about capturing and eating others in their family. This stunning male widow skimmer looks fresh as can be, wings shimmering and untattered, and colors vibrant. But it looks as if it has already mated. Much of the pruinosity (chalky-white coating) that covers its abdomen has already been worn away. Oftentimes the loss of the pruinose coating is due to the female's legs rubbing the male's abdomen as she clutches him during mating.

Always lots of interesting observations to be made at Cedar Bog.


Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Snowy owl photography tactics - and things NOT to do

A gorgeous juvenile female snowy owl briefly catches your narrator with its piercing gaze. It's doing its Linda Blair/Exorcist trick - twisting its head 180 degrees to look straight behind. Owls have 14 neck vertebrae - double our number - which allows them such flexibility.

These visitors from the high arctic have irrupted big time into Ohio and adjacent regions, with new birds coming to light nearly every day. Probably 80 or so have thus far been reported in the state, and some of them have stuck around favored spots and become local celebrities.

I went to visit one of these birds this morning - the animal above, which was found last Friday by Doug Overacker and Julie Karlson at C.J. Brown Reservoir near Springfield. In the four days since its discovery, many people have visited as is nearly always the case when one of these white wonders appears near a large population center or is otherwise very accessible.

And as is always the case, people want to photograph the owls. And th…