On Tuesday, I walked from the Arboretum’s main gate to the shrub garden. I saw a couple of butterflies for the first time, among them a common sootywing (Pholisora catullus), a dark brown butterfly with white spots.
I had seen a pearl crescent (Phyciodes tharos) earlier in the year on white clover (Trifolium repens). Well, deja vu!
A long dash skipper (Polites mystic) rests with its light yellow spots visible, a first for me.
I also saw a zabulon skipper (Poanes zabulon) for the first time. My Peterson’s Field Guide tells me that Boston is out of this butterfly’s range, but apparently it is increasingly being sighted here.
Passing an American elm, I spotted a weevil on one of its leaves.
Summersweet continues to bloom. A specimen in the shrub garden, Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’ x ‘Anne Bidwell’ (accession 326-2006*A), was swamped by pollinators. This plant is also known as a pepperbush; its dry fruit look like peppercorns (see top left of photo below).
One of the insects drawn to the summersweet was this great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus), which feeds its larvae paralyzed katydids. This wasp and the following one earn the “great” in their name; their size impressed me.
Another katydid-hunter, a great golden digger wasp (Sphex ichneumoneus) also flocked to the summersweet flowers. Their half-golden abdomen and golden legs glow in the sun.
A tattered spring azure butterfly (Celastrina ladon) tried to hold its own amidst all the activity. Its wings look like they have seen better days.
I spotted a meadowhawk dragonfly on a nearby shrub.
I thought I saw another butterfly landing in the grass. When I inched up close to check it out, it turned out to be a grasshopper. David Ferguson identified it for me on BugGuide as the Carolina grasshopper (Dissosteira carolina). It has some yellow near the tip of its wings, and a crest on its shoulder pads that has an elevated line running right through the middle. As you might expect, this grasshopper feeds on various grasses.