What’s Happening in the Wild

Above, during a downpour, northern rough-winged swallows take a break from swirling, diving and capturing airborne insects over the wetlands. If, while visiting the museum you park at the parking deck, stop and have a look at the flowers blooming along the path leading to the deck, you may see some interesting insects, including several species of butterfly. Over the past week I’ve been seeing dogbane beetles on their namesake plant along the path of the outdoor loop through ExploreRead more

Hot Summer Sights

Even though it’s blistering hot outside, it’s still worth the trip outdoors to see what’s going on. Here’s proof. Some dragonflies.             A trio of butterflies.         A fly.       And turtle news.           Parting shot.    Read more

September Leps in Various Forms and Conditions

Two Moths The caterpillar in the above photo probably just crawled down out of an oak tree and is in search of a safe place to pupate which, reportedly, may take two or more years. (?) If you’ve never heard of a sphinx moth, you’ve probably seen one. The tobacco hornworm is a sphinx moth caterpillar. The moth in the photo below is a Pandora’s sphinx moth (Eumotpha pandoras), all grown up. The caterpillars of the Pandora’s sphinx eat pepper vine,Read more

Blooms and Butterflies.

Photos of a handful of flowers and leps which can currently be seen as you stroll the Museum’s grounds. And one beetle that typically doesn’t show up till mid-April. Go out and see what you can find!Read more

Treefrogs Arrive!!

It’s that time of year again when we start to see newly morphed treefrogs on the vegetation surrounding the Wetlands. Yesterday (6/22/11), I was out walking the “Wild” with a group of Summer Campers. The sharp-eyed campers spotted the treefrogs pictured here on the branches of the now blooming Buttonbush which grows along the south side of the Wetlands. Gray treefrogs can be green, gray, or even brown in color, depending upon what it is that they’re resting on at theRead more

Tiger Swallowtails and Others

It has been widely reported over the last week or so that Eastern Tiger Swallowtails are being seen in large numbers throughout our area (the Carolinas). Listservs such as Carolina Leps have had posts which speak of “an explosion of Tiger Swallowtails” and subject lines like “Tigers!” and “Day of the Tiger.”  It’s no different here at the Museum. Tiger swallowtails are back! Tiger swallowtail numbers peak in April/May and again in late July/August here in the Piedmont, although they canRead more

Flowers, Butterflies, Odes, Birds, Snappers, and the Fox

Dame’s Rocket and Blackberry are in bloom. Butterflies find the early blooming blackberries rather tempting. More species of dragonflies and damselflies have been emerging recently. A first-of-the-season Carolina Saddlebags (Tramea carolina) was seen on 29 April as was a new species for the Museum, a Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps). I had thought that I spied one of these Common Baskettail (Epitheca cynosura) relatives last year, but couldn’t be certain. The sighting on the 29th confirmed it. On April 23, I witnessed the matingRead more

Tumbling Beetles, Odes, and other June Insects

For the past few weeks Tumbling Flower Beetles (Mordellidae) have been rummaging through the flowers of Queen Anne’s Lace. Members of this family are small, humpbacked beetles with pointed abdomens that project out beyond the insect’s elytra. The tumblers that I’ve seen all appear uniformly black in color. Species identification can be a head-scratcher and is often dependent upon the number of “ridges” on the hind legs of these beetles. I didn’t get close enough to see the ridges onRead more

Butterflies, Dragons, Tent Dwellers, a Forester, and a Tiger

Fragile Forktails continue to emerge from the Wetlands (see Fragile Forktail, Explore the Wild Journal, March 16-31, 2009), although I’m now seeing females as well as males. Among the other odes observed during the first half of April were Common Green Darner, Swamp Darner, Common Baskettail, and Common Whitetail. Butterflies seen this period were Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Cabbage White, Orange Sulphur, Olive Hairstreak (4/9), Eastern Tailed-blue (4/3), Mourning Cloak (4/3), Silver-spotted Skipper (4/9), and Juvenal’s Duskywing. Now bivouacked on atRead more