A few days ago, suffering from cabin fever, I went down to the Sunnyside boardwalk to flip rocks and see what I could find. Pickings were meagre at first, but I struck pay dirt with a pinecone! Pinecones will now be part of my winter spider-hunting repertoire. Continue reading Field Journal: A Sunnyside pinecone
Well, after a seemingly eternal winter, flowers are blooming and birds are singing and everything is crawling with life. I’m looking forward to a summer of spider-watching. Most of the orb-weavers (Araneidae) have only just started hatching, but in the meanwhile there are plenty of other kinds of spiders out and about! Meet a few of them after the jump. Continue reading Spring Spiders
Tangled Bank #3: The circle of liiiiiiiiife
As July fades into August you can feel everything winding down, going into autumn mode. The milkweed and thistle plants have largely been pollinated and have started going to seed. Aphid populations have grown so dense that they are producing winged aphids (alates) that can leave the nest, so to speak; and ladybugs in all stages of life, as well as orb-weaving spiders, are still around to prey on them.
There are still some late-blooming monarch caterpillars, but fully grown monarch butterflies have been out and about for a while. Meanwhile, other species are even further along. The skeletonizing leaf beetles are nearing the end of their life cycle; most of them are pregnant now, getting ready to lay eggs that will hatch in the spring. The tussock moth caterpillars are just getting big. They’ll pupate over the winter and hatch next year.
I also found several insects that I have yet to identify! If anyone recognizes them, let me know. Continue reading Tangled Bank #3: The circle of liiiiiiiiife
Tangled Bank #2: My God, It’s Full of Weird Larvae
Since my last visit to the lakeside, there’s a whole new crop of increasingly bizarre insect babies to be found on milkweed, thistle, and goldenrod. Photos and explanations after the jump, brought to you by that weird person who stares at leaves.
Continue reading Tangled Bank #2: My God, It’s Full of Weird Larvae