Recent Mayslake Arthropods

by Carl Strang

Recent walks at Mayslake Forest Preserve have resulted in some photos to share, all involving Lepidoptera. The wild bergamot have been on the decline, but still were producing enough flowers to attract the attention of pollinators.

A hummingbird clearwing bellies up to the bar.

A hummingbird clearwing bellies up to the bar.

Another flower proved to be a fatal attraction to a cabbage white butterfly, which I saw curiously dangling beneath it.

The yellow flower head of the sow thistle had been a good hiding place for a crab spider. It and its prey dangled from the spider’s safety line until the butterfly was subdued.

The yellow flower head of the sow thistle had been a good hiding place for a crab spider. It and its prey dangled from the spider’s safety line until the butterfly was subdued.

Enough of the spider was hidden that I could not narrow its identity beyond being in one of two genera.

Wings may be in the future for today’s final subject.

This black swallowtail is maturing on a diet of water hemlock, a plant that is quite poisonous to humans.

This black swallowtail is maturing on a diet of water hemlock, a plant that is quite poisonous to humans.

 

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Back to Botany

by Carl Strang

Most of my recent work has been with insects, but now that I am back at Mayslake Forest Preserve I am starting to catch up on the botany. I picked up one new forb in recent days, one which tends to pop up here and there as isolated individuals.

Water hemlock, a deadly poisonous member of the carrot family.

I have some catching up to do with grasses. The most valuable of the three I have to share today is bottlebrush grass.

This native savanna species is a valuable tool in restoration work ongoing at Mayslake.

Timothy is another European species, a legacy from the property’s pasture days.

Its elegant simple shape I find attractive, however.

Large patches of redtop, probably a pasture grass here as well although the species is native farther north, are blooming in open areas still awaiting restoration.

This grass is aptly named, the red being clear in masses of it.

So far, so good with these identifications.

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