Jamaica Pond: Dashers and More

We attended the Landmark Orchestra performance at Pinebank Promontory Sunday evening. Quite a number of people came out. It didn’t take long, however, for my three-year-old nephew to get restless. So, off we went searching for bugs. Turns out he is excellent at spotting dragonflies.

Male blue dasher at rest
Male blue dasher

Blue dashers (Pachydiplax longipennis) are common dragonflies that can be found almost anywhere in the country. Dragonflies and Damselflies of Massachusetts says they are “apparently tolerant of polluted waters,” which makes them a good bet in the city.

Female blue dasher at rest
Female blue dasher

The abdomen of males is blue with a black tip while females come in yellow and black stripes. I can’t help but think of a bearded cat when looking at their faces.

Close-up of female dasher face
Face of female dasher

We ran into the large, black broad-necked root borer beetle only a few days ago. We saw one yet again, this time on its own, scrambling across the path. It set aside its hard shell to expose its wings every foot or so, but could not get airborne.

broad-necked root borer
broad-necked root borer

An Oriental beetle (Anomala orientalis) hung on the tip of a leaf, with a look that made me think it was engaged in illicit activity. These beetles have become a pest in our area, damaging the roots of many grasses and container plants.

Oriental beetle
Oriental beetle

The fascinating insect below looks like it escaped a child’s imagination. Colorful, with cricket-like legs and long black-and-white antennae, it is the nymph of a bush katydid (Scudderia sp.).

bush katydid nymph
bush katydid nymph

We left the concert a little early to grab some dinner. The clouds parted enough to bathe the Pond in evening light. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Jamaica Pond showing the boathouse, in evening light

One last find: we saw wasps digging in mud on the banks of the Pond. These are black and yellow mud daubers (Sceliphron caementarium). They have black and yellow legs and an abdomen that is connected to their thorax by a thin tube.

black-and-yellow mud dauber digging in mud
black-and-yellow mud dauber

These beasts don’t generally bother humans, saving their horror for spiders. They will place a paralyzed spider in their mud nest and lay an egg on it. The larva will eat the spider upon hatching. Shudder!

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