The Familiar, the New, and the In-Between
July 28, 2015 at 5:52 am (plant-eating insects, singing insects)
Tags: Amblycorypha rotundifolia, Azure bluet, bee, Cabera variolaria, Enallagma aspersum, Mayslake, Monarda fistulosa, rattler round-winged katydid, the vestal, Typocerus velutinus, wild bergamot
by Carl Strang
As I approach the end of my 7-year stint of monitoring the natural history of Mayslake Forest Preserve, most of what I observe is familiar.
This longhorn beetle, Typocerus velutinus, is an expected visitor to the preserve’s flowers this time of year.
Likewise, this female azure bluet was not the first of her kind I have photographed on the preserve.
On the other hand, each week brings at least one new species to add to the preserve’s lists.
This moth is an example. The Vestal appears to be a simply white geometrid at first glance, but a closer look reveals shadings and highlights of yellow and gold.
It also helps when someone else joins me on my walks. Nikki Dahlin is a beekeeper, and she is quick to point out the flower visitors.
This bee would not have drawn my eye. It seems unremarkable.
Zooming out, however, reveals how tiny it is. There were dozens of these, ignoring the nectar of the wild bergamot flower tubes and focusing on the anthers and their pollen.
I haven’t studied the native bees enough to know where to begin with an identification, which would be needed to access information on other aspects of this bee’s life. Another new insect for the preserve from last week is one I have encountered elsewhere, but wasn’t aware could be at Mayslake.
The rattler round-wing katydid usually stays out of sight during the day, but this female perched on her leaf as though basking in the intermittent sun.
Another two weeks will bring my Mayslake chapter to a close, but in the fall a new one will open at St. James Farm.