I saw this pair of Lixus weevils yesterday clinging to a plant stalk. They look like anteaters crossed with grasshoppers, only twice as ridiculous. They appear to be black yet covered with an orange or rust-colored powder. They continued to mate as I pointed the camera at them. The lower one, however, would slide around the stalk to hide from me.
Tag Archives: butterflies
I found two eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies (Papilio glaucus) on a mulch bed at the Arboretum last week. They appeared to be basking in the sun. At times, both would shiver their wings. I assumed one of these butterflies was a male and the other female but, judging from the lack of blue chevrons on their hindwings, they both appear to be male.
I saw a few moths, butterflies, and wasps at the Arboretum last week. An eastern comma butterfly (Polygonia comma) rested on a leaf in the shrub and vine garden. It is named for the bright white comma, swollen at both ends, on its wing. I think it looks more like a crescent moon than a comma.
The wings look drab until they open, revealing a rich orange with black spots. This is the winter form of this butterfly, with its hind wings more orange than black.
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.
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.
I paid a visit to the Arnold Arboretum on Sunday, the first day after the end of our long heat wave. Insect life was abundant.
I found five species of butterflies, three of them skippers. A least skipper (Ancyloxypha numitor) was roaming near the meadow. This skipper is mostly orange with thick black borders on its hindwings.
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) population has been declining precipitously, in large part because the milkweed plants that the monarch caterpillars feed on are being destroyed. A number of organizations have encouraged the public to grow milkweed in their yards to offset some of this destruction.
On a November’s day walk through a Southborough field, we collected a few milkweed pods that hadn’t yet released their seeds. I separated the seeds from the cotton and placed the seeds in the refrigerator for a few months.
In mid-March, I removed the seeds and soaked them in warm water, planting them in a biodegradable tray. It took a while for the seeds to sprout. Perhaps they were waiting for warmer temperatures (our house is rather cool during the winter). The seedlings were up by May and I planted them outdoors on May 6.
On Monday, when Boston’s current heat wave was in its infancy, we took a ferry from Long Wharf to Spectacle Island, one of the many Boston Harbor Islands. Spectacle Island has gracefully taken Boston’s garbage and, recently, much of the dirt from the Big Dig. The flora is now re-establishing itself. The island features a visitor center, a sea kayak program, and a small swimming beach.
On Sunday, Jef led a small group of us on an urban nature walk. We started at the Bussey Brook Meadow and moved on to the Arnold Arboretum, ending at the Forest Hills gate. Mosquitoes hounded us, especially in the Meadow.
Jef called the meadow a European wildflower garden. We saw some periwinkle-colored chicory flowers (Cichorium intybus) and bird’s-foot trefoil flowers (Lotus corniculatus) with orange streaks on bright yellow. These were among the many wildflowers native to Europe.