Miscellaneous Mayslake Insects

by Carl Strang

Some insect photos have been waiting to be featured for a while, and it’s time to bring them out. These species all are from Mayslake Forest Preserve. Earlier in the season, some of the tall goldenrods hosted large numbers of red aphids.

Aphids tall goldenrod b

I am not yet familiar with the varieties of aphids, and so do not have an identification. It’s good to have plenty of interesting possibilities for future learning.

Both of the common species of soldier beetles are abundant at Mayslake. Earlier in the season, marginated soldier beetles frequented the plants with small, clustered, pollen-rich flowers. These beetles are variable in color, some relatively pale,

Marginated soldier beetle 1b

and some much darker.

Marginated soldier beetle 2b

In all of them, however, the dark mark on the pronotum (the shield just behind the head on the insect’s back) runs lengthwise. By now they are done for the season. In late summer and fall their place is taken by their larger congener (member of the same genus), the Pennsylvania soldier beetle. The pronotum mark in this species is oriented side to side.

Pennsylvania soldier beetle b

These pollen-eating insects are fairly active, moving from plant to plant, and can be regarded as pollinators. Until August, tiger beetles had been conspicuous by their absence from Mayslake’s trails. Finally, around the parking lot near the prairie, I found some sidewalk tiger beetles (the picture below is from another preserve).

Cicindela punctulata 2

This species is so broad in the ecological space it can occupy, and in its geographic range, that Beetles in the Bush blogger Ted C. MacRae has proposed  half in jest that it be called the ubiquitous tiger beetle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: