More Mayslake Insects

by Carl Strang

Today, some recent photos of insects from Mayslake Forest Preserve.

Broad-winged bush katydid, July 26

Broad-winged bush katydid, July 26

Broad-winged bush katydids have been a personal challenge to photograph. They are very good at staying out of sight, and quick to flush when they know they have been seen. This one was on the move, making it easier to spot, and I was able to go slowly enough to get in a couple shutter clicks.

The red hind tibias are striking. They don’t seem to occur on every individual, but from photos made by others, and my own few observations, they seem to appear in this species more than others.

The red hind tibias are striking. They don’t seem to occur on every individual, but from photos made by others, and my own few observations, they seem to appear in this species more than others.

The banded longhorn beetle closely resembles Strangalia luteicornis, which also recently has been visiting Queen Anne’s lace.

Note the black antennae and thorax, and the more stripe-like elytra markings.

Note the black antennae and thorax, and the more stripe-like elytra markings.

Here is Strangalia, for comparison.

Here is Strangalia, for comparison.

Like Strangalia, the adult banded longhorns visit flowers, but this one is more a woodland species rather than woods edges, and its larvae live in decaying trees. Despite the superficial similarity, it is in a different genus.

Another longhorned beetle, Batyle suturalis, like so many adults in its family, feeds on pollen.

The larvae of this one most commonly bore oak and hickory trees.

The larvae of this one most commonly bore oak and hickory trees.

The seven-spotted lady beetle was imported from Eurasia for aphid control.

Seven-spotted lady beetle. The odd number of spots comes about from the forward most spot, which forms from a half on each elytron.

Seven-spotted lady beetle. The odd number of spots comes about from the forward most spot, which forms from a half on each elytron.

The introduced lady beetles have proven to be problematic, their competitive and possibly predatory activity driving down our native lady beetle species.

The final two insects are Hymenoptera.

This little wasp, Euodynerus hidalgo, is a solitary species. The females nest in holes in wood or in the ground, partitioning them with fine soil and feeding their young with paralyzed caterpillars.

This little wasp, Euodynerus hidalgo, is a solitary species. The females nest in holes in wood or in the ground, partitioning them with fine soil and feeding their young with paralyzed caterpillars

I am accustomed to seeing cicada killers, which indeed capture cicadas to feed their young, in sand soil regions. Where these are finding soil soft enough to dig their nursery tunnels at Mayslake is a bit of a mystery.

Eastern cicada killer, the 200th insect species I have observed on the preserve.

Eastern cicada killer, the 200th insect species I have identified on the preserve.

Parade Marshal

by Carl Strang

Today I step aside from the usual content of this blog (mostly; see below) to celebrate the ongoing traditions of small town America, particularly my home town of Culver, Indiana. It is prompted by pride in my father’s selection as co-marshal for the annual Lake Fest parade.

Ted Strang, settled into his jeep seat and ready to go.

Along with another surviving World War II veteran, Jim DeWitt, Dad eschewed the parade wave for a more manly straight wave to the crowd.

Though I am sure he was not fond of being a center of attention, Dad understood his symbolic role, kept his smile going and never uttered a mumble of complaint.

I was relieved that these two senior gentlemen were given chairs in the shade to watch the following train of the parade from the review stand.

Best seats in town.

The parade was a long one; it seemed that half of the town of 2000 was in it, and the other half spread out along the route to watch.

Bands, such as the local high school marching band, are a necessary ingredient.

Culver’s location on Lake Maxinkuckee is the inspiration for the annual festival.

Golf carts have become a common form of transportation in small towns. This one was dressed in a nautical theme.

The summer school at the Culver Military Academy contributes several units to the parade. The Black Horse Troop has been a part of the Academy for the greater part of a century.

As you might imagine, the horses were placed toward the end of the parade.

The festival is more than just the parade. There are footraces and other competitions.

I had to sit out the 5-mile run as the neuroma in my foot undergoes treatment.

I do have a token natural history note. I found, in a flowerbed behind the parade review stand, a number of large wasps behaving in a territorial manner.

This is not a species I have ever seen in DuPage County, Illinois. Cicada killers specialize in feeding Tibicen cicadas to their young, and live only where the soil is sandy enough for them to dig their natal tunnels.

An ex-girlfriend once delightedly, and perhaps with some accuracy, referred to Culver as “Mayberry.” Such towns still are out there.

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