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 on their legs so they’ll have to be listed as to family, not to species. I don’t have an image of a Tumbling Flower Beetle but you can see what they look like here.

The common name for the group (Tumbling Flower Beetle) comes from their habit of kicking or tumbling when molested. The family name (Mordellidae) is from Latin and means to bite. My poking and prodding at the beetles failed to incite either tumbling or biting.

Another beetle showed on up Queen Anne’s Lace towards the end of this period, a Delta Flower Scarab. This beetle has very long hind legs and there is a triangle-shaped marking on the pronotum reminiscent of the fourth letter of the Greek Alphabet (?-Delta).

Calico pennant

Odes (dragonflies and damselflies) continue to appear on the scene. Variable Dancer, Calico Pennant, Halloween Pennant, Banded Pennant, Slaty Skimmer, and the tiny Eastern Amberwing all made the First-of-the-Year list during the first half of June.

Banded pennant

Considering the number of flowers that are currently in bloom on the Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind Loop, one would expect to see many nectar-loving butterflies fluttering about. Indeed, there has been an increase in the numbers of some species. Cabbage White numbers have increased, and although I’ve only seen one, a Gray Hairstreak was seen nectaring on Butterflyweed on the 6th on June. A Banded Hairstreak was on Queen Anne’s Lace on the 14th of the month.

Eastern-tailed Blues are holding steady, while there has been a definite increase in the number of Great Spangled Fritillaries flying about (see Great Spangled Fritillary, Explore the Wild Journal, May 16-31, 2009). A fresh American Snout was seen on the 14th of June. At times American Ladies seemed to be everywhere during the first two weeks of June. I’ve also seen a few Common Buckeyes down low along the path on the Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind loop.

Silver-spotted Skippers were easily located during this period, and on June 14 a First-of-the-Year Common Checkered Skipper was seen in Catch the Wind.

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