Citrine Forktail and a Crowned Slug

gd_11_1cifoMuch to my surprise, and delight, there was a Citrine Forktail (several in fact) in the Wetlands on the first day of the month. The temperatures made it up into the mid 70s and the winds were calm, which is helpful for spotting these dainty little damselflies. Although the males have bright yellow markings on their abdomens (the thorax is mostly light green), they can disappear easily among the vegetation along the shore. I also saw a few of what appeared to be Familiar Bluets (Enallagma cicilei) the same day, but as I didn’t get a close enough look to ID them for certain, they’ll have to go down as “ukn bluet.”

There are still Autumn Meadowhawks to be seen (see Autumn Meadowhawks, Explore the Wild Journal, October 16-31, 2008).

Butterflies observed during the period were one or two Cloudless Sulphurs, several Eastern-tailed Blues and Pearl Crescents, an American Lady, several Common Buckeyes, and one Monarch.

gd_11-1crsl1It’s always exciting to find a critter that you’ve never seen before. While walking along the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop I noticed a small (about 1/2”) yellow-green object on the ground. A closer look revealed tiny spines or filaments on its sides and rear. At first I thought it was some kind of seed. Not exactly sure of what it was, and curious to find out, I put it in a vial to be examined later. When I next took a peek at it, the seed had moved and was stuck to the clear plastic sides of the vial. It wasn’t a seed. I later determined that it was a Crowned Slug (Isa textula), the larva of a small brown moth.

gd_11_1crsl2There are some 30 species of slug caterpillars in the east, and while small, most are rather colorful and interesting in behavior. As the name implies, slug caterpillars show a likeness to slugs, those slimy, but still neat, critters of gardens and damp sidewalks. Slug caterpillars move about like slugs. They don’t have prolegs like other caterpillars, but instead have suckers where the legs would be. These peculiar little caterpillars sort of slide along on the surface of the leaves on which they graze. You can see one in this photo  (the arrow is pointing at the head, which is concealed when the slug is viewed from above).

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