by Carl Strang
Recently I provided an update on damselflies and dragonflies that have become active at Mayslake Forest Preserve. New butterflies and moths also have been appearing. The large group of butterflies known as skippers can be tricky, but I believe I have these right: Hobomok skipper,
and tawny-edged skipper.
Both are, according to my references, common. I have found Hobomoks in other preserves early in the season. Even more common and distinctive are two more species, the least skipper
and silver-spotted skipper, the latter never far from black locust trees.
The most recent butterfly to show itself has been the spring azure.
Moths also are in evidence. This one, Zanclognatha cruralis, belongs to a curious group whose larvae eat dead leaves.
The following moth I photographed on the slope between May’s Lake and the friary, not far from a large white pine.
This one proved to be a tough ID. There is a large group of moth species which look very much like this one. Furthermore, many of these species show considerable variation among individuals. The yellow head and anterior thorax are unusual among them, I gather, and help to narrow down the possibilities. My tentative identification is Semiothisa bisignata, the caterpillars of which eat pine needles. In the future I may need to collect one or more of them. With some insects, photographs simply aren’t enough.