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: wasps
Monday was a fine day for birding at the Arboretum. Spring migrants are everywhere to be found. I managed to see seven species of warblers alone!
I saw and heard a number of catbirds, many of them hiding inside bushes. The red underneath the tail feathers caught my attention for the first time.
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.
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.
I passed a European alder tree (Alnus glutinosa) on Willow Path at the Arnold Arboretum a couple days ago (accession 1399-73*B), and noticed that many of its branches were covered in a white fungus/mold-like substance. Upon closer inspection, the mold moved!
This was no mold. It was an infestation of woolly alder aphids (Prociphilus tessellatus).
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.
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.
On my walk around Ward’s Pond last week, I saw a pair of hungry baby robins eagerly awaiting food from their parents.
The Pond’s boardwalk, which had been shut down for years, has been re-opened. According to the July 22 edition of Boston’s City Record, the 250-foot boardwalk was damaged by storms in 2010. Its restoration by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, to the tune of $111,000, was funded through FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Assistance Fund and the Mayor’s Capital Plan.
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.