by Carl Strang
The last days of September brought a couple butterflies to Mayslake Forest Preserve that I hadn’t seen in a while. One, an American painted lady, was an addition to the preserve insect list.
The other was the first eastern comma I have seen there this fall.
One day last week as I passed along the north savanna ridge top I heard a particularly loud tree cricket song coming from a Drummond’s aster beside the path, and was able to catch the singer.
Interpreting the antenna spots proved to be tricky in this, the best photo I got before releasing the insect. I had to conclude, though, that this was a black-horned or Forbes’s tree cricket, perhaps the palest I have seen. The only dark pigmentation was in his antennae and a brown double line down the underside of his abdomen.
Early in the month I had photographed this big orb-weaver on that same ridge top.
When I checked my references I found that there were at least a couple species that fit this ventral color pattern. I looked several times in subsequent days, but did not find the spider again to check her dorsal surface.