August 30, 2016 at 6:36 am (singing insects)
Tags: Arphia pseudonietana, Arphia xanthoptera, autumn yellow-winged grasshopper, Bendix Woods, Conocephalus strictus, handsome grasshopper, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, northwestern red-winged grasshopper, straight-lanced meadow katydid, Syrbula admirabilis
by Carl Strang
A couple years ago I came across a population of large band-winged grasshoppers with bright red hind wings, at St. Joseph County’s (Indiana) Bendix Woods. Focusing on the intense red color, I declared them to be northwestern red-winged grasshoppers. In the first half of August this year I ran into a second population in Illinois, at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.
They had the same bright red color as at Bendix Woods.
These are large grasshoppers, approaching Carolina grasshoppers in bulk.
This time, though, I noticed a discrepancy in my ID that should have struck me the first time.
There is a honkin’ big bulge on the top of the pronotum.
The northwestern red-winged grasshopper, which I now realize I have yet to meet, has a flat pronotum profile that furthermore is cleft by a significant fissure. These prove to be autumn yellow-winged grasshoppers, which in fact can have a range of colors in the hindwings. The following week, returning with fellow singing insect enthusiasts Lisa Rainsong and Wendy Partridge from Cleveland, and Wil Hershberger from West Virginia, we found many of these grasshoppers in fact have bright yellow wings. I need to get back there and get a photo of one for my singing insects guide.
While checking out the grasshoppers, we turned up two other species that were county records for my study.
The handsome grasshopper always is a delight. This one is a male.
Female handsome grasshoppers have green highlights in place of the male’s brown ones.
Though still a nymph, this female is unambiguously a straight-lanced meadow katydid. The extra-long ovipositor and the diffuse-edged black band on the hind femur are giveaways.
Our main target in that visit was the dusky-faced meadow katydid, but that proves to be a much more complicated story deserving of its own blog post.
August 28, 2016 at 4:47 pm (plant-eating insects, reptiles and amphibians, singing insects)
Tags: Amblycorypha rotundifolia, Anaxipha exigua, blinded sphinx, common true katydid, confused ground cricket, Cope's gray treefrog, Desmia funeralis, ecoblitz, Eulithis diversilineata, Eunemobius confusus, fork-tailed bush katydid, grape leaffolder, Indiana Forest Alliance, jumping bush cricket, lesser angle-winged katydid, lesser grapevine looper, Microcentrum retinerve, Nebraska conehead, Neoconocephalus nebrascensis, Neotibicen tibicen, Orocharis saltator, Paonias excaecata, Paonias myops, Pterophylla camellifolia, rattler round-winged katydid, Say's trig, Scudderia furcata, small-eyed sphinx, swamp cicada
by Carl Strang
The Indiana Forest Alliance, a non-profit conservation organization, has been sponsoring a species survey in portions of two state forests in southern Indiana. As it consists of repeated weekend sessions over a period of years, they are calling it an “ecoblitz” rather than a bioblitz, which is a one-time event limited to a 24- or 48-hour time span. I went down for a weekend last fall, and returned in early August to complete the singing insects portion of the survey.
The area is forested, except for some small areas of tall, dense herbaceous growth in stream bottoms. The singing insect fauna consequently is mainly of forest species.
Confused ground crickets were common on the forest floor.
Say’s trigs by the hundreds sang in the open herbaceous areas.
Widely scattered small groups of rattler round-winged katydids could be heard at night.
This nymph is recognizable as a male fork-tailed bush katydid by the distinctive appendages at the tip of his abdomen.
Some of the other species that sang for us were swamp cicadas, Nebraska coneheads, lesser angle-wing katydids, jumping bush crickets and common true katydids.
I also helped with photography at a night-time moth survey at illuminated sheets.
This small-eyed sphinx was one of the two hummingbird moths we attracted.
A blinded sphinx also dropped in.
A grape leaffolder
This lesser grapevine looper appears to be sending out pheromone.
A Cope’s gray treefrog hopped in, possibly sensing the smorgasbord we had created.
August 25, 2016 at 6:05 am (birds, botany, dragonflies and damselflies, plant-eating insects)
Tags: Alypia octomaculata, Athyrium filix-femina, barred owl, Dioscorea villosa, eight-spotted forester, lady fern, Lestes rectangularis, Libellula luctuosa, Lulu Lake, slender spreadwing, St. James Farm, widow skimmer, wild yam
by Carl Strang
It’s been a busy field season, and I have fallen way behind in blog posts. I’ll catch up eventually, but today will share a smorgasbord of photos from May through July.
This barred owl appeared during a walk through St. James Farm Forest Preserve. I believe I had come close to its nest tree.
Here is the first slender spreadwing I have found at St. James Farm.
Wild yam graces the understory of the St. James Farm forest.
Sporangia on the underside of a lady fern leaf at St. James Farm.
The Lulu Lake Nature Preserve in Walworth County, Wisconsin, has become a favorite site. Here a woodland graces a kame.
An eight-spotted forester provided a photo op in the nature preserve portion of the Round Lake state property in Starke County, Indiana.
This dragonfly I encountered at Houghton Lake in Marshall County, Indiana, was a bit of a puzzler. I eventually concluded it was a somewhat odd widow skimmer, but later changed the ID to slaty skimmer (see comments).