Cape Ann Campsite Insects

I’ve posted about the birds and sea creatures that we saw on our camping trip at the Cape Ann campsite. We also found a few bugs during our explorations.

The office on the campgrounds has a nice flower and vegetable garden a few feet away. We found a couple of Peck’s skippers (Polites peckius), which settled on a leaf after chasing each other.

A pair of Peck's skippers
Peck’s skippers

One of the ubiquitous cabbage whites (Pieris rapae) sipped some nectar.

Cabbage white on purple flower
Cabbage white

A pearl crescent butterfly (Phyciodes tharos) fed on the nectar of white clover flowers (Trifolium repens).

Pearl crescent butterfly on whtie clover
Pearl crescent butterfly

We had to leave the campground to see this eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), which came to rest on some shells in the salt marsh at low tide.

eastern tiger swallowtail on shells
eastern tiger swallowtail

Some of the bathrooms in the campsite don’t have great screen doors, so moths fly in at night, attracted to the lights. People might get suspicious when they hear a shutter repeatedly going off in a bathroom, but this is sometimes what it takes.

The moth in the bathroom was a hemlock looper (Lambdina fiscellaria). These moths can be serious pests, especially on hemlock, fir, and white spruce trees.

Hemlock looper moth
Hemlock looper moth

A number of wood lice crawled on the bark of trees around our campsite. This one is probably Porcellio scaber, the European rough woodlouse. These creatures are close relatives of pill bugs but they don’t roll up in a ball. Porcellio species have bumps on their backs, which distinguishes them from other types of wood lice.

Rough wood louse in tree bark
Rough wood louse

We found a sac spider (Elaver excepta) crawling on the ground near our campsite. Common Spiders of North America says that these spiders forage on the ground among leaf litter or on lawns.

Sac spider
Sac spider

The green weevil (Polydrusus) in the photo below is a little washed out. It appears greener in real life, although that green appears to have rubbed off in the middle of its back. Note the large black eyes.

Green weevil
Green weevil

I initially mistook this planthopper for a moth (I’m not the only one to make this mistake), but John Maxwell helped with the ID. It came flying down from the trees and landed on a large rock. Whitish-green except for its feet, the northern flatid planthopper (Flatormenis proxima) has the eyes of a chameleon. Here’s some more information on the blog Living with Insects.

northern flatid planthopper
northern flatid planthopper

The number and diversity of wasps I have seen this year have surprised me. I found this potter wasp (Ancistrocerus adiabatus) just outside the campground (ID confirmed by Richard Vernier on bugguide). Note the yellow smiley-face on its thorax. They are called potter wasps because their mud nests resemble clay pottery.

potter wasp on goldenrod
potter wasp

Now, on to the flies. This green bottle fly (Lucilia) was feeding on a zinnia flower (ID by John Carr). Apparently these flies are more commonly found in less-appealing environments: garbage and feces.

green bottle fly on zinnia
green bottle fly

A yellow long-legged fly (Condylostylus) rests on a leaf. These flies are predatory, chasing insects much smaller than them.

long-legged fly
long-legged fly

A species of hoverfly, Meliscaera cinctella, shows us its translucent abdomen with a T marking its first segment.


I found this tachinid fly (Gymnosoma) on the blossoms of Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota). Note its fat, spider-like orange abdomen marked by black spots.

tachinid fly
tachinid fly

The last insect we found was this deer fly (Chrysops vittatus), resting on the car’s side mirror. I was captivated by its psychedelic green and purple eyes, unaware that it could inflict a painful bite. Thankfully, it did not.

deer fly on car mirror
deer fly
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