Time to Get Outside

Top Photo: Banded sphinx moth caterpillar. A banded sphinx moth caterpillar is an impressive sight. The one shown here is munching away on wing-leaved primrose-willow in our wetlands. Banded sphinx moth caterpillars are variable and may be nearly all green, much like its relatives the tobacco hornworm and tomato hornworm, mostly green with black, red and yellow markings or like the one pictured, which is marked with red, black, and yellow. Regardless, they all have the white diagonal stripes characteristicRead more

What you might see

Top Photo: “New” frogs huddled together on floating log. All are bullfrogs recently morphed from tadpoles. Some still have tails. Here are photos of things you might see on our outdoor loop through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind. Each fall there’s a flurry of Cape May warbler activity in the trees on the north side of the wetlands, whichever trees are infested with insects. This year, it’s the mimosas. The insect? Mimosa web worms. Grasshoppers become more evidentRead more

Two Hoppers and Two Flies

Top photo: American bird grasshopper. Insects are with us throughout the year whether as eggs, pupa, or in some species, adults. But it’s spring and summer when we start seeing them in numbers. Many of the adults that you’re seeing now have spent the cooler months safely tucked away and are just emerging as adults after an entire season below ground, embedded in wood, or in eggs cases attached to last year’s plant growth. American bird grasshoppers (top photo) overwinterRead more

A Butterfly, a Flycatcher, and an Intro to Trig

By all accounts this has been a slow year for Monarchs. I’ve seen five flying over the Museum’s airspace this fall on their way south to Mexico. The numbers of Monarchs seen here are never great, but five is particularly disapointing. It may be wishful thinking to say that the weather has not been conducive to a good Monarch flight here in the Piedmont. I hope that’s all it is. While photogrpahing the Monarch above, two phoebes were calling fromRead more

Handsome Katydids and Pretty Spiders

It’s well known that late summer to early fall is the time of year when there are more insects about than perhaps at any other time of year. If you’ve been walking around outdoors lately you may have noticed many more grasshoppers than earlier in the season. Many of the grasshoppers and katydids that were hatched out this past spring and early summer have now grown into adults and are happily munching away at the grasses and tree leaves aroundRead more

A Hitchhiker, a Dainty Visitor from the South, and Built like a Tank

Little did they know that while out for a fine, fall stroll the other day, Exec. Assistant, Leslie Pepple and Dev. Associate, Alicia Heacock would pick up a hitchhiker. After briefly talking to them as they passed through the Cafe Plaza here at the Museum I noticed a large insect clinging to Leslie as she turned to walk away. Chinese Mantids are not native to North America but they are certainly well established here. They were brought in to thisRead more