Along the Air Line... 2014 - Summer, Part 2
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



July 2nd.  Back to the Chicory (Chicorium intybus) patch where the trail crosses Route 207.  This time armed with the macro rig.






Several Green Metallic Bees (Family Halictidae, Agapostemon sp.).






This one was grooming the pollen from its back with a leg.



A Bumble Bee (Family Bombidae).  The organge pollen on its leg must have been gathered elsewhere.



Several species of syrphid Flower Flies (Family Syrphidae).















July 3rd.  First of the summer brood of Mourning Cloaks (Nymphalis antiopa), freshly emerged.  Probably a male, gathering trace elements necessary for egg development.  He passes these to the female with is spermatophore.



The underside is a credible dead leaf; especially so when resting in leaf litter.






Caterpillars skeletonizing milkweed leaves.



Hundreds of them.



Each only 5mm long.



But very ravenous.  They'll probably grow up to be the Milkweed Tussock Moth (Euchaetes egle) or a closely related species.



I found two of these "prominent" caterpillars on cherry.  They'll probably grow up to be the Unicorn Prominent (Schizura unicornis).  A lot going on in this photo:  First note the mite crawling over the caterpillar.  Next, note the tiny droplets at the tips of each seta.  The setae arise from swollen tubercles, probably secreting a defensive compound that finds its way to the setal tips.  See the three points behind the caterpillar where it has nipped the midrib?  Often, this is a strategy to prevent the plant from delivering toxic chemicals to the area where the caterpillar is feeding.  Finally, note the sheen of silk under the caterpillar's abdomen.  This may be a resting platform, used by the caterpillar overnight or when preparing to molt.



Insect eggs, probably of a pentatomid Stink Bug.



Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta).



Yarrow (Achillea millifolium).



Sulfur or Rough-fruited Cinquefoil (Potentilla recta)



July 5th.  A Long-legged Fly (Family Dolichopodidae).



And another Dolichopodid.



Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus).



A Goldenrod Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) lurking on the mullein.



July 5th. 9:00 A.M. - I found this Distinct Quaker (Achatia distincta) moth caterpillar and bright green parasitoid larvae on a fallen leaf (hickory, I think). Dr. Mike Singer of Wesleyan University suggests that the wasps may be eulophids (Family Eulophidae).  See:  Based on this BugGuide link, I think he's right.



The caterpillar is abnormally pale - it almost seems as if the wasp larvae are sucking the color out of it.



This is what the Distinct Quaker (Achatia distincta) moth caterpillar should look like.



I collected the caterpillar and parasitoids and will try to rear out the wasps.  Follow this link for updates.



A Bumblebee (Family Bombidae) on Ox-eye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum).



After a stop at the transfer station, a quick afternoon visit to Cranberry Bog in East Hampton.  This ragged-winged, ancient (in bee years) Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) has orange Milkweed pollinia attached to all its feet.



Fleabane (Erigeron sp.).



A Ladybird Beetle (Family Coccinelidae); probably the recently introduced Asiatic or Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) that has resulted in the loss of many native species due to a pathogen it spreads while being itself immune to it.






A different Ladybird on Joe-Pye-weed.



Water-hemlock (Cicuta maculata).  Poisonous.






Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta).






Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria).



July 6th, at home.  The small brown caterpillar photographed on July 3rd (above) has grown to 11mm and now displays the green color on its thorax that confirms it as a
Unicorn Prominent (Schizura unicornis).  It still shows droplets of fluid at the tips of most setae.  The remainder of the life cycle including the adult moth is here.



July 6th. A lone specimen of Poke Milkweed (Asclepias exaltata) is blooming at the trail head on Route 85.



An adult Spittlebug (Family Clastopteridae; probably Clastoptera ovata).  Nyphal spittlebugs can be found under a froth of plant juices sometimes called "spider spit".



A few Canada Lilies (Lilium canadense) are blooming; a remarkable recovery after several years of defoliation by the imported red Lily Leaf Beetle.






The Milkweed Tussock Moth (Euchaetes egle) caterpillars skeletonizing milkweed leaves seem to have molted, getting hairier and spotted in the process.  There were none visible on the plant yesterday so I suspect they hid at ground level to molt out of sight before returning communally to continue feeding.



The first Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) I've seen blooming this year.



Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius).  My what big feet you have.



On the hunt.






Swallowing something.



Strutting away.



July 9th.  Showy Tick Trefoil (Desmodium canadense) has just begun to bloom.



Meadowsweet (Spiraea latifolia).