Monthly Archives: October 2012

Random Insect: Black bug

Although I often see black bugs (Hemipterea: Thyreocoridae) crawling on flowers throughout the summer, this late-season individual seemed a bit out of sorts. I found him wandering around the base of a barn along with some boxelder bugs (Hemiptera: Rhopalidae: … Continue reading

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Autumn Color

I visited a number of locations this autumn looking for the perfect time and place for some vibrant fall color. The best trip I had was this past Sunday while hiking along Mill Lake at Waterloo State Recreation Area near … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Ants on bittersweet

While hiking at Waterloo State Recreation Area near Chelsea, Michigan yesterday I came across some bittersweet (Celastrus sp., Celastraceae). The hard capsules of these woody, shrubby vines were beginning to split open to reveal the red fruit inside. A number … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Canadian wood nettle

Canadian wood nettle (Laportea canadensis, Urticaceae) is a common herb in a floodplain forest I frequently visit near Blissfield, Michigan. It’s often found in wet wooded areas throughout eastern North America. I wrote about the wood nettle here a couple of … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Common buckeye

Living throughout the year far to the south, common buckeyes (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Junonia coenia) venture north every summer to temporarily colonize colder latitudes. I frequently see these butterflies in open meadows and old fields here in southeast Michigan, especially now … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Sweat bee on a New England aster

Although we’ve experienced several frosts and freezes here in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio, a number of plants and insects are still alive and kicking. The other day I found a dutiful sweat bee (Hymenoptera: Halictidae) collecting the late-season nectar … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Wreath goldenrod

While hiking the hills at Pinckney State Recreation Area near Chelsea, Michigan a few weeks ago, I came across a stretch of trail hosting wreath goldenrod (Solidago caesia, Asteraceae). Unlike the other goldenrod species I often see in old fields and … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect-Arachnid Interaction: Crab spider waiting for a meal on a white turtlehead

Several genera of crab spiders (Araneae: Thomisidae) are usually found on flowers, and for good reason. Many flowers attract insect pollinators, so they’re great spots for spiders to ambush prey. I found this particular crab spider hanging out on a … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Treehopper

Treehoppers (Hemiptera: Membracidae) are often easy to recognize thanks to their large pronota. In this family the upper surface of the first thoracic segment is expanded, covering the head and most of the abdomen. In many species the pronotum can … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Flatsedge

In the wet floodplains adjacent to the River Raisin in southeast Michigan I often find a variety of sedges (family Cyperaceae).  Most often I see true sedges of the genus Carex, but last week I came across a flatsedge in the genus … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Leaf-footed bug nymph

Leaf-footed bugs (Hemiptera: Coreidae) get their common name from the wide, flat projections found on the hind legs of the adults of many species.  Adults of many other species lack this feature, as do the young nymphs like the one pictured … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Goldenrod leaf miner on goldenrod

Abandoned fields overtaken by secondary succession aren’t uncommon here in southern Michigan. They’re often filled with a variety of asters that flower in late summer and early autumn, especially several species of goldenrod (Solidago spp., Asteraceae). These plants host a … Continue reading

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