Monthly Archives: August 2012

Plant-Insect Interaction: Shining flower beetles on a smooth oxeye

Adult shining flower beetles (Coleoptera: Phalacridae) are tiny dark insects only about 1-3 mm in length. They would be hard to see if not for their tendency to congregate on brightly-colored asters like this smooth oxeye (Heliopsis helianthoides, Asteraceae). They spend most … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Spotted cucumber beetle on a thistle

Normally when I see spotted cucumber beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Diabrotica undecimpunctata) they’re crawling all over various crop plants here in the fields of southeast Michigan. These insects are major pests of cucumbers, squash, melons, and other cucurbits as well as … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Common boneset

A couple of weeks ago I was hiking here in southeast Michigan and came across a lot of common boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum, Asteraceae). These plants are most often found in moist and wet areas in eastern North America. I found … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Bees on purple loosestrife

While out hiking at Pinckney State Recreation Area here in Michigan I came across a lot of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria, Lythraceae) in the wetlands.  I also came across a lot of bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) feeding on the nectar of … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Spotted bee balm

A couple of weeks ago I came across this spotted bee balm (Monarda punctata, Lamiaceae) near the edge of the Great Marsh at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Also known as spotted (or dotted) horsemint, this plant prefers dry, sandy soil like that found at … Continue reading

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Downy Woodpecker

The other day I was marveling at some tall pines at Pinckney State Recreation Area and noticed this downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens, Picidae) looking for insects in the pine bark: These birds bear a striking and almost indistinguishable resemblance to hairy woodpeckers (P. … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Hickory tussock moth larva

The other morning I hiked the Losee Lake Trail at Pinckney State Recreation Area near Chelsea, Michigan. One of my more interesting finds was this hickory tussock moth larva (Lepidoptera: Erebidae: Lophocampa caryae). Hickory tussock moths have an unusual geographic distribution in … Continue reading

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