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: beetles
Arboretum: An Early Spring Day
I went for a walk as soon as the clouds cleared this afternoon. Judging from the forecast, spring has finally arrived and the plants at the Arboretum are starting to show it. The flower buds of red maples are ready to burst. Snowdrops are the only form of snow left in the area. And crocuses have joined the snowdrops in flower, two weeks later than last year.
Urban Nature Walk: Savin Hill Beach
Jef led three of us on an urban nature walk around a very urban beach. Savin Hill Beach in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston is bordered by Interstate 93 and William Morrissey Boulevard. We were surprised at the diversity of water birds we found, including a few I hadn’t previously seen in the Boston area.
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.
Arboretum: Summersweet Butterflies and Wasps
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.
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: Giant Water Bugs and Biocontrol Beetles
Exploring in the meadow of the Arnold Arboretum last weekend, I came upon this giant water bug (Belostoma sp.). This large insect — they named it “giant” for a reason — preys on creatures as large as small fish. It can inflict a very painful bite, and so is also called toe biter. Thanks to John Epler for the ID.
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.
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.
Giant Black Beetles at Jamaica Pond
We came across two large black beetles yesterday just off the path around Jamaica Pond. The beetles were possibly engaged in the act of mating. If so, the female beetle was much larger than the male and her orange belly was showing.