Monthly Archives: September 2012

Random Arachnid: Banded argiope

While walking through a meadow near Clayton, Michigan the other day I came across this impressive banded argiope (Araneae: Araneidae: Argiope trifasciata). Also known as banded garden orbweavers, these large and brightly-colored spiders are widespread throughout the United States. At about … Continue reading

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Random Plant: White turtlehead

White turtlehead (Chelone glabra, Scrophulariaceae) is a native plant found in wet areas throughout eastern North America (Brandenburg 2010). I came across this individual last week in the wetlands of Pinckney State Recreation Area near Chelsea, Michigan. This plant features … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Mourning cloak butterfly

Mourning cloaks (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Nymphalis antiopa) are among the first butterflies to be seen in the spring in North America. Although some individuals migrate south, most overwinter as adults and emerge when temperatures rise. I found this individual on the Greenstone … Continue reading

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This is why it’s called “touch-me-not”

The other day I wrote about orange jewelweed, also known as spotted touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis, Balsaminaceae). In that post I mentioned it gets the name “touch-me-not” because the seed capsules explode and ballistically eject the seeds when disturbed. I revisited … Continue reading

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Insect Love: European snout beetles

After emerging from winter and their pupal cases as adults, european snout beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Phyllobius oblongus) waste no time getting to work on the next generation. In the spring they mate and feed on the foliage of sugar maples and … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Jagged ambush bugs on goldenrod

A few weeks ago the goldenrod (Solidago sp., Asteraceae) started to bloom here in southeast Michigan. Goldenrod is insect-pollinated not wind-pollinated, and therefore not an allergen as many people think. This is evidenced by the sheer number of insects these … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Orange jewelweed

Orange jewelweed (Impatiens capensis, Balsaminaceae) can be found throughout much of North America. Most common in wet areas with rich organic soil, this plant can reach five feet in height under ideal growing conditions. The leggy stems branch occasionally and … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Common whitetail dragonfly

A couple of months ago I got this nice shot of a common whitetail dragonfly (Odonata: Libellulidae: Plathemis lydia) along the River Raisin near Blissfield, Michigan. You might be asking yourself why this is called a “whitetail” when it doesn’t … Continue reading

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Insect Love: Large milkweed bugs and nymphs

The birds, the bees, and the large milkweed bugs (Hemiptera:  Lygaeidae:  Oncopeltus fasciatus): First this: Then this:

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Bee on a man-of-the-earth

Although the flower of this man-of-the-earth (Ipomoea pandurata, Convolvulaceae) is beautiful to human eyes, to bees (Hymenoptera: Anthophila) it looks even brighter and more colorful. Bees can see the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum of light, and bee-pollinated plants have evolved to take … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Male stag beetle

In late July I hiked the Lakeshore Trail at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin. One of the many insects I found while in that section of the North Woods was this male stag beetle (Coleoptera: Lucanidae: Ceruchus piceus). Beetles in … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Great blue lobelia

Great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica, Campanulaceae) is native to swamps and wet areas throughout much of eastern North America.  Blooming in late summer and early autumn, these plants offer some nice color beneath thick forest canopies. Growing to four feet in height, … Continue reading

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Northern green frogs

Today I did some hiking at Waterloo State Recreation Area north of Chelsea, Michigan. While on the Hickory Hills Trail I stopped for a while at the edge of Crooked Lake just to wait and watch. My patience was rewarded … Continue reading

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