St. James Farm is Humming
June 1, 2016 at 6:00 am (dragonflies and damselflies, insects (other), invertebrates (other), plant-eating insects)
Tags: American lady, bowl and doily spider, common baskettail, dot-tailed whiteface, Epalpus signifer, Epargyreus clarus, Epitheca cynosura, Frontinella communis, green-legged grasshopper, Leucorrhinia intacta, Melanoplus viridipes, silver-spotted skipper, St. James Farm, Vanessa virginiensis
by Carl Strang
As the cold spells have become fewer and weaker, insects and other invertebrates increasingly have decorated the landscape at St. James Farm Forest Preserve. None decorate better than the butterflies.
A few American lady butterflies appeared early in May.
The silver-spotted skipper attests to the presence of black locust trees on the preserve.
Very early in the season I was seeing abundant grasshopper nymphs in the forest. I had a suspicion about them, which was confirmed as they matured.
The green-legged grasshopper is an early season forest species.
Dragonflies increasingly appeared in the second half of May.
The most abundant dragonfly in recent days has been the common baskettail. Though they usually are seen on the wing, this one gave me a rare opportunity for a perched shot.
No baskettail this. It’s another early season species, a female dot-tailed whiteface.
All these insects bring out the parasites and predators.
Epalpus signifer is a tachinid fly, a parasite of caterpillars.
Morning dew highlights the abundant webs of bowl and doily spiders.