Autumn Organisms

by Carl Strang

Today I just want to empty out the bin of accumulated photos from Mayslake Forest Preserve. These are late season animals and a plant, sightings of which give walks around the preserve a fall flavor. In that regard, what could be more iconic than a woolly bear caterpillar?

This one still was feeding on panicled aster leaves on September 30, packing on the last nutrients before finding a wintering spot.

It has been a good year for spreadwing damselflies at Mayslake. I added at least two new species to the preserve list. This female spotted spreadwing, a late season species, provided a fitting cap to that story.

The spots referenced in the English name are on the underside of the thorax.

Another iconic autumn portrait pairs a locust borer with its adult food of goldenrod flowers.

The larvae live inside black locust trees.

The final photo is of a turtlehead in bloom, the welcome introduction of another plant species by Mayslake’s restoration team.

The flowers look like bumblebee flowers, but I have no observations of pollinator visits to back up that guess.

Autumn is my favorite season, but it’s always tempered by the realization that winter is coming.


1 Comment

  1. jan579 said,

    December 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I have seen a lot of ants moving around inside my turtlehead flowers, so that might be one possibility.

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