Things to Look for While Strolling the Outdoor Loop at the Museum of Life and Science

Yellow-bellied sliders are frequently seen out basking in the sun in our wetlands. Occasionally, and typically in spring and early summer, a snapping turtle partakes in the catching of rays. There are Colorado potato beetles and there are false potato beetles. Both eat plants in the nightshade (solanaceae) family, a group of plants of which both potato and tomato belong. This family includes many other species of plants including horsenettle or Carolina nettle (Solanum carolinense). We have much Carolina nettleRead more

Panthea Returns

I saw a caterpillar last week (there are many caterpillars moving about at this time of year) that I hadn’t seen here at the Museum in two years time. At first, I was stumped, couldn’t figure out just what this caterpillar was. I searched through Caterpillars of Eastern North America several times, looking at every one of the 593 photographs of caterpillars in the book each time, and still came up empty.     Recalling that caterpillars of some species can beRead more

Tussock Moth Caterpillar and a Tiny Wasp

I recently posted about a rustic sphinx moth caterpillar which had attached to it’s body dozens of tiny pupae of a parasitic wasp called a brachonid wasp. These tiny wasps (anywhere from 2 mm to 15 mm) lay their eggs into the bodies of caterpillars. The larvae eat the caterpillar from within and pupate inside tiny white cocoons on the outside of the caterpillar’s body, hanging there like so many banderillas on the back of a bull in the arena, it’s painful and will eventuallyRead more

A Common Thread

Each fall it seems that spiders appear from nowhere, crawling along the ground, stretching out their sticky webs across our favorite hiking trails, and even entering our living spaces. The truth is, they’re with us the entire summer, we simply may not notice them because they, along with their webs (if they construct them), are much smaller and less obvious than in fall. Above and below you will see some of those spiders, all of which were found along theRead more