Thursday, September 19, 2019

Yard Critter - Black-waved Flannel Caterpillar

Megalopyge crispata.

Another of the "do not touch" caterpillars.*


I found this one crawling across my driveway. Having only my phone I snapped these shots.


By the time I returned with my 'real' camera it had moved on.


Cool that I was in the right place at the right time.

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.

🐛  ☠️  🐛  ☠️  🐛

* Wagner, in Caterpillars of Eastern North America, in his notes about this critter, tells the story of his encounter and the resulting emergency room visit. Spoiler: he came out alive. But it was not a pleasant experience.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

My Calendar Must Be Broken ...

... I thought it was still summer?

For a few more days at least. Right?


I went to Lowes today. And saw this. An employee putting up a Christmas display.

The mailbox is blocking out the Halloween stuff.

🎅🏻  🎄  🎅🏻  🎄  🎅🏻


Merry Christmas!

Yard Critter - Lochmaeus Sp.

Lochmaeus manteo or Lochmaeus bilineata.

In a living language, Variable Oakleaf Caterpillar or Double-lined Prominent, respectfully.


Wagner, in his excellent Caterpillars of Eastern North America, after giving a number of field marks for L. manteo, notes that these caterpillars are often indistinguishable.


But I'm gonna distinguish it, based on the criteria in Wagner, and say that this is the Variable Oakleaf Caterpillar.


It is another small one. And another found initially out in the back pond area.


I actually found several of these critters, mostly by the back pond but in other areas of the yard.


And true to its name there were significant variations in appearance.

🐛  🐛  🐛 🐛  🐛

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.

Yard Critter - Northern Gray Treefrog

Hyla versicolor.


This is a repeat yard critter, although the previous post featured a young frog, not unlike the one below.


I've been surveying the yard each morning of late as regular readers know from the caterpillar posts. And I've spotted several of these critters, multiple young and adults. And I've heard even more.


This one was seen and heard, the acoustics of the rainspout making him appear more attractive to lady frogs no doubt.


I got to watch this one on the gate, hopping from bar to bar (click here for video).


This one was easily the most cooperative of the bunch.


It even let me reach in and pull the piece of grass off its face.

🐸  🐸  🐸  🐸  🐸

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Only Good ...

... Spotted Lanternfly ...


... is a dead Spotted Lanternfly.


I had the sad task of killing eight of these invasive insects today, in Paoli and Coatsville Pennsylvania. I visited my parents in Paoli and then took my dad to the VA hospital in Coatsville for his regular eye-exam (tomorrow he goes to the Paoli hospital to get Spock ears!).

I noticed one lanternfly when I arrived at their place for lunch. It was already dead. After lunch, when I went to get the car, I noticed a number of dead lanternflies. And then I noticed a soon to be dead one. And another. And another. I killed all five of the live ones I saw. But I saw living lanternflies as I was driving down Route 30 to the VA hospital. And at the VA Hospital I killed three more.

Not good.

Yard Critter - Yellow Bear

The caterpillar stage of the Virginian Tiger Moth, Spilosoma virginica.


I found this critter on a plastic trashcan in our garage. Not sure what it was looking for in there.


Maybe a place to pupate and overwinter? I hope it found what it was looking for.

🐛  🐛  🐛 🐛  🐛

You can find all of the Yard Critter posts listed here.

Garden Killer

"There's a praying mantis eating a bee on the Sneezeweed", Patty called out as we were both out doing yard work (sorta) this past Saturday.


And so there was. A Chinese Mantid, a non-native species introduced as a biological insect control agent.


You'll often see them sitting still on plants, waiting for prey to wander close. Then it's curtains for the hapless victim.


An indiscriminate killing machine, it preys on good and bad insects alike. And in that respect it's a failure as a pest control agent. Yet one can still purchase them for this task. And they are probably too entrenched to remove them from the environment.


I know not what it was eating. But it didn't seem to like me watching.

Or perhaps it sizing me up? I wonder how yummy I looked.