Saturday, December 28, 2013

Out With a Bang

Vespula maculifrons Queen which may or may not have been still kicking 12-28-13

They were amazing.......last and latest bug hunt of the year. The latest they were out was in November 2011......felt like Spring that day. Today it felt like Spring yet again and I was greatly awarded with all sorts of birds and assorted creepy crawlies.......and a surprise from my lepidopteran friends.

I had originally gone to the park to look for cocoons of various moths.....and maybe butterfly chrysalids or overwintering Polygonia spp. or Nymphalis antiopa and while I didn't find any of those.........I DID find something of a mystery lodged in one of the normally bug infested logs.

Mystery moth pupae 12-28-13

I wonder what exactly made many many possibilities.

It was discussed via facebook & twitter and the possibilities are endless.....

Woodboring Erebidae
Notodontidae (Cerura and Furcula spp. specifically)
Cossidae (Prionoxystus robiniae)

To name a few of what it could be........Notodontids of the genera Cerura & Furcula I haven't seen here in any shape or form nor have I seen Prionoxystus robiniae or any of the other 3 Eastern N. American Cossidae. The pupa wasn't "large" by any means......but it wasn't "small" either. Medium? And skinny....but not too skinny.

Providing the weather is nice again after the snow we're supposed to get in a few days. I'll go back and see if it's still there and try and get better pics and maybe try and get it out. I tried but it seemed like it was stuck in there pretty tightly.

Silken pads most likely......and the added protection of a deep enough notch in a log. ^^* Another question though is when did it emerge? Last time I was there (Oct 15th) I didn't see it there but then again I wasn't looking for cocoons or pupae/chrysalids then since the adults of various lepidopterans were out pollinating the last of the flowers.

My only guess it that it was over looked. It wouldn't make sense for it to have crawled in there say late/early October pupated and then emerged on an abnormally warm Autumn/winter day only to eventually freeze to death. Don't have the climate for them to do that "successfully".

But I wouldn't rule anything out at this point. But the possibility of it being overlooked is more likely. Hope to find more this year......♥

Some kind of ground beetle?

No clue!! Was a shock to find this and many others zipping about. Midges/craneflies (these were in some sort of swarm) another beetle in flight, slugs, milipedes, centipedes.......woodlice. Oh it was wonderful not to mention the birds.

Juncos!! Some friends had confirmed these are juncos and I had also learned that there might be a junco species complex (Idk if that would be the right term here but Idk that much about birds to begin with) since the "experts had lumped them all together" so to speak according to said friends.

Aren't they just darling little things? Here's another:

I have many more but I'll post those in another post as once again I've probably ranted enough about my precious lovely little friends.....but I can't help it. *^^*

Until next time.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Moth Count 2013

Helicoverpa zea 09-17-13 ~ 09-18-13

So I've decided to document all the moths I've seen this year that I've ID'd and more or less ID'd. I had already more or less done this in a journal of sorts (along with every other insect/spider) I've seen earlier in the season due to the lack of a camera.

I continued after purchasing another camera out of habit and utter enjoyment I got from doing so. Also since I wasn't able to participate in National Moth Week (due to lack of camera and the weather being entirely inappropriate for moth hunting the entire week) this I think more then makes up for it I think. I'm wondering if I could submit these least the ones I was able to photograph??

*Note these aren't in order......exactly......just listing for convenience and enjoyment. Dates added when possible.


Campaea perlata 06-05-13 (Flat Rock Nature Reserve NJ)*
1 Unidentified "Zebra patterned" moth 06-05-13 (Flat Rock Nature Reserve)**
Dichomeris picrocarpa 06-05-13 (Tenafly (sp?) NJ)
Eido trimaculata 06-05-13 (Tenafly NJ) 
Hypena sp. 06-21-13


Costaconvexa centrostrigaria (2) 08-15-13
Hyphantria cunea 08-15-13
Pleuroprucha insulsaria 09-15-13
Autographa precationis 09-20-13
Elasmopalpus lignosellus 08-24-13
Mythimna unipuncta 08-27-13
Eupithecia miserualata 09-19-13
Dolichomia sp. Dolichomia olinalis? 08-24-13
Unidentified micro moth 08-27-13


Autographa precationis 09-06-13***
Orthonama obstipata 09-07-13
Unidentified Moth 09-12-13 Speculations of what it could've been:

Spiramater lutra
Mamestra aurialis
Apamea dubitans
Condica vecors
Acronicta afflicta

*Note: All the moths listed above have similar wing colors & patterns to the one on my terrace that night. I was unfortunately unable to capture it to confirm it's identity. This pisses me off greatly......sneaky little buggers. :P

Spoladea recurvalis 10-01-13 Saw about 5-6 of these throughout the season. First sighting was on 09-17-13. Was an utter bitch to ID but soooo much fun. *^^*

Caradrina montana 09-14-13 ~ 09-15-13 (1 for each night!)
Noctua pronuba 09-15-13 *Female looked gravid
Helicoverpa zea 09-17-13 ~ 09-18-13
Emmelina monodactyla 09-29-13
Canarsia ulmiarrosorella 09-29-13
Coleophora pruniella (Possibly.......guessing here...seen only briefly before it took off) 09-29-13

Atteva aurea 10-02-13 Hadn't seen these in a looooooong time. 


Spoladea recurvalis 10-01-13 ~10-10-13
Hypena scabra (?) 10-10-13

Halysidota harrisii caterpillar *Date unknown atm
Pyralis farinalis *Dates unknown atm
Spodoptera ornithogalli *Date unknown

A VERY cold Hypena scabra (Date unknown) It's very much alive. Not to worry. *^^*


*Campaea perlata was found on the most EPIC bug hunt of the year. My friend had taken me up to New Jersey to see the cicadas and other assorted angels. Pics another entry. I think I've spammed you all enough. :P

** Unidentified "Zebra moth" was small.......not as small as some other moths I've seen
*** Autographa precationis was quite plentiful this year. Seen on numerous occasions throughout the season. A few of them might also have been Spodoptera's surprising how much they can look alike from a distance. XD

Additional Notes:

*Dichomerus picrocarpa & Eido trimaculata were both seen up at my friends house after the cicada fest. Skippers and Tiger Swallowtails joined in along with NUMEROUS other creepy crawly LOVELY angels of all sorts.

Oki doki that just about wraps this up for now.......will be edited as needed of course. Many firsts for me this season (and there's more to tell!!). Deliriously happy about all that's occurred bug wise. I only hope it gets even better with coming new year.

Speaking of which I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Bug infested 2014.

God bless!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Monarchs 2013

Danaus plexippus (Male) 10-15-13 3rd and last monarch of the season at the park by my house

As you know monarchs are declining year after year. This year I've only seen 3 and the year before I saw about maybe 20 give or take throughout the entire season (I wasn't able to get photos because these were almost always in flight like they were on a mission)!! This year I'm proud to say I've gotten pictures & videos of the blessed angels on 2 occasions.

The one pictured above was an absolute pleasure and honor to observe. I made a point of pointing it out to anyone who passed by while I was taking pictures (this is the best one out of maybe 10 attempts) of it feeding on the buddleia. It was a male. I hope it made it to Mexico okay.

Danaus plexippus (Female) 10-12-13 Bronx Zoo outside the restrooms

This one I had spotted in the treetops during my trip to the Bronx Zoo. What a pleasant surprise. I'm also happy to report that they FINALLY planted a nice patch of milkweed in the park by my house. Orange Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa?) I hope it helps the monarchs that fly through here immensely.

The first one I had spotted I wasn't able to to get pictures of due to the lack of a camera (I had unfortunately lost my old one) and the fact that it flew by me so quickly it would've been impossible to do so any way. XD It came out of nowhere just as I was pondering whether or not I'd see any this year........coincidence? I don't think so.

That wouldn't be the first time butterflies (in general) popped up in ways that make me wonder........especially this year. Any way, as for the monarchs I'll do everything I can to support them and spread the awareness that they need our help badly. Including keeping track of them and seeing if I can get some milkweed for my own purposes.....we'll see.

Here's a video of the first one: Click!! (Facebook doesn't allow you embed videos anymore bummer)

Until next time!!