Mayslake Insect Update

by Carl Strang

The past couple of months have provided new insects to add to the site list at Mayslake Forest Preserve. The great golden digger, a solitary wasp species in which the females dig tunnels in the soil where they provision their young with paralyzed grasshoppers, katydids and crickets, appeared at Mayslake’s flowers in small numbers beginning mid-summer.

Striking in its yellow, red and black colors, this wasp is not aggressive toward people.

Another addition was this tiger moth caterpillar humping its way across the parking lot one mid-day.

As in a cartoon sheepdog, it’s hard to tell which end is which in a static photo.

This is the yellow woolly bear or Virginian tiger moth. Probably pretty common, it nevertheless will be an addition to the Forest Preserve District’s county species list.

I was pleased to get the opportunity to photograph a live lyric cicada.

Usually these are too high in the trees to see easily.

The black collar and large chestnut patches on the pronotum (top of the thorax) are distinctive.

Lately there have been a lot of eastern tailed-blues.

These tiny butterflies don’t seem to land very often, and then seldom show the dorsal sides of their wings.

Autumn advances, and soon these colorful insects will be out of sight, wintering as eggs or other dormant forms.


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