Along the Air Line... 2018 - Spring, Part 12
The Air Line Trail in Eastern Connecticut - Stan Malcolm Photos

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Stan Malcolm Photo



June 2nd. Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata), a species of special concern in Connecticut - seen at Raymond Brook Marsh.



Late morning at Cranberry Bog.  Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium sp.), an Iris relative..






Birdfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus).






Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis), a mustard that comes in various shades from white to pink and purple.






Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) on Ox-eye Daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum).












Yarrow (Achillea millifolium).






Bullhead or Pond Lily (Nuphar variegatum)...



...attracts flies.  Pollinators, or do the fly larvae feed on the fleshy flowers - or both?



The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) goslings have grown a lot.  Here they head through the tall foliage for a cooling dip on a hot and muggy day.



Apparently vocal, but I couldn't hear them from far across the pond.















The adult geese time their molt to the period when they're raising goslings and are flightless now.



The flowers are Common Cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex).



June 3rd.  Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodius).  (Thanks to David Emigh for pointing it out.)






I've seen this bird before, distinguished by a wound on its neck.


















A Syrphid Fly bee mimic (Family Syrphidae; almost certainly Eristalis flavipes).



Multiflora roses (Rosa multiflora) have started to bloom.



June 5th.  Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars in three sizes, none of them full sized yet - and I also saw smaller ones so we've got awhile to go before they're done eating.  Once again note that the blue and red tubercles are diagnostic of this species.



This Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma disstria) is about full grown.  Note that unlike the related Eastern Tent Caterpillar, the Forest Tents don't make a tent.  (Go figure.)



My thumb for scale; making the caterpillar a bit over 2" long.



Long ago, a professor compared the white markings to a woman's high heeled shoe prints.  (The Eastern Tent has a solid white band down the back.)



Both Forest and Eastern Tents are common, usually on cherry or other fruit trees like apple.  But their numbers and damage never approaches that of Gypsy Moths.



June 6th.  Lots of Plume Moth (Family Pterophoridae; probably Hellinsia elliottii) caterpillars on Spotted Joe-Pye-weed (Eupatorium maculatum).



I've devoted a web page to this species' life cycle, here:  Check out the pupae and spectacular adult moths at that link.






A female Midge (Family Chironomidae).  The long front legs, held above the surface, are a key characteristic.  Unlike mosquitoes, they don't bite.  In fact, they have no functional mouthparts as adults.  The larvae are aquatic.



A Marsh Fly (Family Sciomyzidae, Dictya sp.).  Larvae feel on or parasitize slugs, snails, and other mollusks.



Following is most of the life cycle of Knab's Leaf Beetle (Family Chrysomelidae, Chrysomela knabi) on Willow.  Here are some gregarious young larvae.



A more mature larva.



Another mature larva beside a cast-off pupal skin; the adult beetle having moved off.



A fresh pupa, mostly orange, atop two larvae.



The pupae gradually darken up over time.  Interestingly, they never completely cast off the last larval skin as most insects do.



Larva at left, and a dark pupa at right.  The adult likely to eclose soon.



A newly eclosed adult atop its cast pupal skin.



It takes a day or two for adults to fully "color up".  These have a ways to go.









And finally, a fully colored adult.



Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) is the tall species with many white flowers, versus the shorter Daisy Fleabane which is pink to violet and only about a foot tall.