The Cicada and the Spider

Top Photo: Cicada caught in orb weaver’s web. It’s fall, and orb weavers are becoming more and more conspicuous on trails and paths, around gardens, back porches and decks. The other morning while I walked the outdoor loop here at the museum, I noticed a cicada struggling mightily about twenty feet above the path near the entrance to the boardwalk. It had gotten itself caught in the web of an orb weaver. Sticky stuff, those webs. The cicada was flappingRead more

August Has Gone By

August is over and we’re sliding into fall. Here’s a small sampling of sights I witnessed this past month above and beyond what I’ve previously posted. At the top and below are pictures of Bembix wasps. The various, rather gentle, non-aggressive wasp species in the Bembix genus burrow into sand to house and feed their young. They feed the larvae flies. They’re often called sand wasps. The picture above is of a Bembix wasp standing at the entrance to itsRead more

Summertime Sightings

Top Photo: Gray hairstreak. With the summer just about gone (for me, fall starts around mid August), I thought I’d give you a pictorial update on some of what’s being seen on our 84 acre campus here at the Museum. Last month I mentioned that there were again woolly aphids enjoying the sap of one of our alders in the Wetlands in Explore the Wild. The colonies are growing considerably and many bees and wasps are visiting the sight, includingRead more

Some close encounters

I’ve been seeing more cicadas on the paths during the past week, some alive, some expired. Not as close as the cicada, but close enough… The “tail” on the butterfly above is usually longer than it appears in the photo. This butterfly may have narrowly escaped being eaten, the predator getting only a portion of the “tail” not the butterfly itself. The tail is actually an extension of the wings like the tails on a swallowtail butterfly. It won’t beRead more

Cicada Killer at Large

I heard an Annual Cicada calling from somewhere in the trees around my house about two weeks ago. I saw one this past Sunday (6/24). I’ve yet to hear or see one at the Museum. On Tuesday June 26, I saw the first of the season Cicada Killer in front of the Butterfly House here at the Museum. If you’re thinking that this cicada killer is a bit early since the object of the wasp’s attention, cicadas, are not evenRead more

Buprestid Beetles appear, Cicada Killer Stakes Claim

I found a metallic woodboring beetle on the paved path in Explore the Wild. It was one of the large metallic woodborers, Chalcophora virginiensis (pictured at right). Its larvae bore into pines. One reference calls this beetle the Large Flat-headed Pine Heartwood Borer (the thoracic section of the larva or grub is flattened). I think it’s much easier to say Virginia Pine Borer, so that’s what I call it. Adult beetles have a bullet-shaped body, as do the other beetlesRead more