series of photos demonstrates, I'm seeing many more insects along
the trail lately. In part, this is because I've had several walks
later in the morning, rather than my usual 7:00 - 9:00 time when many
insects aren't yet active.
are three Pearl Crescents (Phyciodes tharos), the first one
freshly emerged, the other two more worn and faded.
June 1st came Ox-eye Daisies (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum -
what a great name) and a number of other white-flowered species.
sure this is Evening Lychnis (Lychnis alba).
Cancer Root (Orobanche uniflora), a parasitic plant (note the
absence of chlorophyll in the stem).
species of Viburnum differening mostly in leaf shape are blooming
along the trail in the Raymond Brook Marsh. This first one is Northern
Arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum). Sorry, I don't know the others
well enough to give you common names or species.
(Hieracium sp.); one of the alien species with leaves in a
away from the Hawkweed I'd just photographed, I startled what I think
is a Northern Black Racer (Coluber constrictor), but it could
be a Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta). Whichever it is, they
are quite common in the Raymond Brook Marsh area.
are among my favorite insects. I once hoped to study them professionally,
but found myself instead focused on the water beetles - the same group
studied by my undergraduate advisor. Not wishing to waste the investment
in undergraduate research, I continued studing the beetles in graduate
school, culminating in a Ph.D. in their evolutionary biology in 1981.
damselflies are fascinating creatures - in looks, structure, and mating
behavior. (In terms of the latter, damselflies know more about "FIFO"
and "LIFO" than computer programmers.)
broad-winged damselflies (Calopterigidae), none is more impressive
than this one, the black-winged Calopteryx maculatum. The male
has a vibrant metallic-green body and jet black wings. The green color
is structural - the result of light bouncing off a minute surface
texture - and remains intact on long-dead museum specimens.
body is less metallic, the wings lighter and marked (maculate) with
white stigmas near the tips.
damselflies (Coenagrionidae) of the genus Enallagma are often
brightly banded in pastel greens and blues. Their common name is Bluets.
Sadly, the pastel color pigments fade shortly after death.
damselflies have stalked eyes, fore and hind wings of the same shape,
and wings generally folded over the back when at rest; dragonflies
have eyes nearly or actually meeting at the top of the head, differently
shaped hind wings and wings held out to the sides. Contrary to myth,
dragonflies don't bite or sting. They're only a threat to mosquitoes
and other small insects which they capture in flight.
Purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax). Another sub-species,
called the White Admiral (L. a. arthemis), is similar but with
a broad white band on the upper side of the wings.
Purple's red spots are on the underside of the wings.