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.
Tag Archives: flies
Return of the Winter Moth
Heavy fog rolled into Boston on the evening of Thursday, December 5. A thick blanket of darkness lay over Jamaica Pond.
Unusual warmth accompanied the fog, and winter moths (Operophtera brumata) were out in force. I saw one on a shrub covered in Christmas lights. Continue reading
Arboretum: Encounter with a Snake
On Wednesday, I heard something rustling in the grass near the Arboretum’s hickory collection. Turned out to be this garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), a skinny fellow who was quite afraid of me.
Arboretum: Chinese Mantid and Panicled Hawkweed
As I left the Arboretum’s visitor center on Sunday, I noticed a crowd gathered around a shrub. It took me a second to see the shockingly large Chinese mantid (Tenodera aridifolia) that was the subject of everyone’s attention.
This praying mantis was larger than my hand. It had landed on someone’s leg and she had the peace of mind to place it on the shrub, where it stood still for many minutes.
The Chinese mantid is the largest of our praying mantises. Introduced from China in 1896 to control pests, they eat both harmful and beneficial insects, and sometimes each other. They are so large that they are able to attack hummingbirds.
Take a look at this face. It means business.
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.
Arboretum: Skippers, Skimmers, and Killers
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.
Biking Cape Cod Part 2
After our longer-than-expected bike ride to Truro, we spent the night at the Hostelling International (HI) hostel in Truro ($42 a person).
A Walk in the Arboretum
I took photos of a wealth of natural life at the Arnold Arboretum yesterday. Among the birds, dragonflies, frogs, and plants, only one of the subjects was accessioned: Wilson’s spiraea (Spiraea wilsonii).