Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Yard Bugs, Day and Night

With the warm temperatures, the diversity of insects in our yard has exploded. I feel like I’m visiting some sort of exotic zoo every time I go outside. Here’s a selection of some of the cool little creatures that have shown up around our house over the past couple of weeks.

There seem to always be dragonflies flying around our yard right now, and this handsome Common Whitetail made our garden his hunting ground one day:

He would find a stick for a perch, and then zoom off after some smaller flying insect, then back to the perch again. It’s not often dragonflies are so obliging for me and my camera!

A couple of other fancy flying creatures have been hanging around the garden as well. This male Zabulon Skipper (what an awesome name) was very pretty with his checkered orange wings:

He looked maybe even more striking when back-lit:

And it probably wasn’t a coincidence that a female Zabulon Skipper was also flying around the yard at the same time. I never would have guessed that this dark brown butterfly is the same species as the first one:

Sometimes I’ll take a step in the garden and a tiny grasshopper will launch up from my feet, only to blend in almost perfectly with the soil when it lands again:

A bunch of stink bug eggs have hatched on one of my plants on the porch. I’m not exactly sure what species these are, but these teeny pinhead-sized dots are pretty darn cute:

(I ended up washing away most of these babies, lest they collectively hurt the plant when they get bigger and start eating more.)

At night, a whole different menagerie of bugs comes out, and I get to see them when they come to my porch light. This large Tulip-tree Beauty moth (Epimecis hortaria) was gracefully draped around our porch’s railing one night:

And we get a lot of Green Pug moths (Pasiphila rectangulata) this time of year, some individuals a lovely dark green-gray (which my camera's flash does not at all do justice, unfortunately):

And others with more faded colors:

This tiny weevil (I think it’s a Cambium Curculio weevil, Conotrachelus anaglypticus) came to show off its funny elongated snout (complete with antennae on the end):

And I had no idea what to make of this strange-looking beetle at first, but it turns out that it’s actually a type of weevil as well, an Oak Timberworm weevil (Arrhenodes minutus):

So basically, if you want to see something pretty, or bizarre, or just plain cool, some insect hanging around will almost certainly fit the bill!

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