Thursday, May 22, 2008

Termite Swarm (Isoptera Rhinotermitidae)
May 21, 2008

Syrphid flies were visiting the blooming Ninebark today, but not as many flies or bees were around as I would have expected. A Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) and an Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas) were also at the Ninebark, in addition to my first Sachem (Atalopedes campestris) of the year. Another first for 2008 was a male Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon) – but this was in the woods, not at the ninebark. Overall, butterflies were pretty scarce today, especially compared to late April. I flushed a single Goatweed Leafwing (Anaea andria).

I was still seeing a few Calligraphy Beetles (Calligrapha spiraeae), but they were harder to find today. Possibly because the blooms partially covered the leaves the beetles were on.

A Leaf-footed Bug (Leptoglossus clypealis) reminded me that I neglected to mention my first of the year. I had a leaf-footed bug on April 30th in St. Louis County.

During lunch, I noticed a small insect fly a few feet in front of me and idly wondered what it was. When a second one flew past, something finally penetrated my brain – all 4 wings were the same. When I looked around, I noticed quite a few in the air on the other side of the parking lot. I was hoping to find the termite swarm on the ground and lucked out – they were in mulch right at the edge of the parking lot.

Although I've had spittlebug adults, I found my first nymphs of the year today.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Black-sided Pygmy Grasshopper (Tettigidea lateralis)
May 18, 2008, Johnson County

We found a caterpillar (Erebidae Catocala sp.) crawling on the sidewalk near the campground shower house at 5:30 am. A Bronzed Cutworm (Noctuidae Nephelodes minians) was crossing a park road late morning. I moved both of them into the grass nearby.

I found the Black-sided Pygmy grasshopper (Orthoptera Tetrigidae Tettigidea lateralis) in a savanna. On the same savanna trail, we also saw a Bird-dropping Moth (Antaeotricha schlageri) and Long-necked Seed Bug (Heteroptera Lygaeidae Myodocha serripes).

Quite a few Eastern Forktails (Ischnura verticalis) were in tall vegetation bordering a large lake. A Skimming Bluet (Enallagma geminatum) was found along a trail in a savanna restoration area.

Tortricid Moth (Ancylis divisana)
May 17, 2008, Johnson County

Still seeing lots of Goatweed Leafwings. I also saw a black form female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus).

New species for 2008 included a stinkbug (Parabrochymena arborea), 2 Pistol Casebearers (Lepidoptera Coleophoridae Coleophora sp.) and a tortricid moth (Ancylis divisana).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Red-banded Hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops)
May 16, 2008

While packing the car for a weekend trip to photograph insects, a Red-banded Hairstreak briefly landed in the driveway. No photos of it, but here's a look at one from September 19, 2007 (also in our yard).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis)
May 4, 2008

Two highlights of the day – a Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis) flying amazingly fast and a millipede (Narceus sp.) being harassed by a pair of flies. The millipede kept changing direction, rolling over, and thrashing around but never managed to shake them in approximately 10 minutes I watched them until the millipede disappeared in the surrounding vegetation.

Toadbug (Gelastocoris oculatus)
May 3, 2008

First toadbug of the year seen along Hinkson Creek in Boone County.

Blue Corporal (Libellula deplanata)
May 1, 2008

Two new species of dragonflies for the day: a Blue Corporal and a teneral (just emerged) clubtail.

Cow Path Tiger Beetle (Cicindela purpurea)
April 29, 2008

It warmed up during the day, but someone told me that they had to scrape frost off their windshield when they headed for work this morning! I saw significantly fewer butterflies today than on April 23 when I saw about 50 Falcate Orangetips and 25 Goatweed Leafwings. Today I didn't see any Goatweed Leafwings and fewer than 6 Falcate Orangetips.

The best sighting of the day was a Cow Path Tiger Beetle – the first one I've ever seen. It was absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get as close as I'd have liked.

Chickweed Geometer (Haemotopis grataria)
April 26, 2008

No photos taken today, but saw Chickweed Geometers (Haemotopis grataria) for the first time this year. Also my first syrphid fly (Diptera Syrphidae).

Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas)
April 24, 2008

First Eastern Tailed-Blue (Everes comyntas) of the year seen on gravel during a bike ride. Also saw a Celery Looper Moth (Noctuidae Anagrapha falcifera) in the grass, but it was easily spooked and I couldn't get close enough for photos.

Ninebark Calligrapha Beetles (Chrysomelidae Calligrapha spiraeae)
April 23, 2008

First sighting of whirlygig beetles (Heteroptera Gyrinidae). Today also marked my first 2008 observations of Ninebark Calligrapha Beetles (Chrysomelidae Calligrapha spiraeae) on, well what else?, Ninebark (Rosaceae Physocarpus sp.)

I searched the same tent caterpillar web as on the 21st and today found a mating pair of Anchor Stink Bugs (Stiretrus anchorago). I am assuming the largest one was the female. Really cool bugs – the male green and white, the female orange and black. After the male left, the female ate a caterpillar; she caught one inside of the nest which apparently was a little too close to the outside layer of webbing. A small piece of the caterpillar had been pulled outside of the web by the stink bug and she was busy sucking out all of the body fluids. A few of the caterpillars were wandering on the outside of the web, when they would touch the stink bug's legs, the stink bug would pivot with its beak inside of the caterpillar it was feeding on to get away from the other caterpillars.

Anchor Stink Bug (Stiretrus anchorago)
April 21, 2008

Really upset to be without my flash (which is on the east coast being repaired) today when I saw an anchor stink bug for the first time. I found it crawling on an Eastern Tent Caterpillar web and flushed it. Later in the afternoon, I checked the same web and it was back – this time eating a caterpillar.

Tons of Goatweed Leafwings (Anaea andria) and Falcate Orangetips (Anthocharis midea) flying around Cole County today.