A New Caterpillar for the Photo Achives

Top Photo: Hummingbird moth caterpillar on viburnum. Just last week (8/19) I posted I was keeping an eye out for caterpillars of the hummingbird moth (Hemaris thysbe). I had spotted a moth the previous week laying eggs on a viburnum and wanted to get a photo of the caterpillar. I mentioned my observation to Richard Stickney of the Butterfly House crew and sure enough, he found one on the very viburnum I indicated (8/28). When seeing the caterpillar I wasRead more

New and Old Things Emerging

Top Photo: Tiny yellow flower of Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber. The fruit of the Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber is about an inch long. They look more like tiny watermelons but have the taste of a cucumber with a lemony tang. These vines grow in many locations throughout our campus, wherever they’re not supposed to grow. I intended to plant this vegetable in my own personal garden at home this year but was sidetracked by other matters. I’ll make sure toRead more

Tangled Webs

As the seasons move toward autumn, fall webworms are becoming more visible in the local trees and shrubs. They seem to be everywhere. They’re in many different species of tree including redbud, elm, mulberry, ash, and maple to name a few. They don’t seem particular about what type of tree leaf they eat. One resource has them listed as consuming the leaves of 400 species of woody plant (trees and shrubs). The small moth larvae’s silken webs cover the leaves asRead more

The March of the Soldier Flies

The water level in the Wetlands was low. The shoreline reached out a dozen feet or more from where it had been most of the spring, creating mud flats where there was once water. As I walked past the viewing area on the north side of the Wetlands, I noticed the mud sparkling in the sunlight. The mud appeared to be alive. There was something, many things, moving on the surface making the mud itself seem to crawl. I took severalRead more

What’s the Difference?

Top Photo: Sawfly larva or caterpillar? I received an email, with a blurry photo attached, stating that the emailer had taken the photo in Explore the Wild. The subjects in the photo looked to be caterpillars, but may have been sawflies, I couldn’t tell. I had to go look for myself. The email said that the caterpillars, or whatever they were, were on a birch tree on the north side of the Wetlands. There are three birches on the north side ofRead more

The Creeper

While sitting quietly by the bird feeders I noticed a small brownish bird fly down from the heights of one of the tall trees that surround the feeder area. The bird perched woodpecker-style near the base of another tree and immediately began creeping up the trunk in a spiral, winding its way up the tree as it climbed. I see these birds every fall and winter here at the Museum, but getting a clear, sharp photo of one has beenRead more

My, how they’ve grown!

A recent post to this Journal featured two caterpillars, one of those was the larva of a Cloudless Sulphur butterfly on Partridge Pea in Catch the Wind. On August 2, I noticed one of these large yellow sulphurs lay at least one egg on the plant. Fives days later I saw one, then two, caterpillars munching away on the plant’s flowers. It’s now August 15, and the caterpillars have grown considerably. They will probably crawl off to pupate within aRead more

What’s eating the Hibiscus?

We have one hibiscus growing in Explore the Wild (ETW). You may have seen it. When it blooms the flowers are very large, about 6-8 inches across, and are pink or magenta in color. If you’ve walked by the vending area in ETW during the last few weeks you would have noticed the flowers (the plant has since gone by, it’s no longer blooming). But this is not about the flowers, this is about the leaves and what’s eating them.Read more