Monthly Archives: July 2013

Random Insect: Six-spotted tiger beetle

Among the ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) there is a rather unique subfamily known as the tiger beetles (Cicindelinae). These insects are identified in part by their narrow thoraxes, wide-set eyes, and large mandibles. Most are predators of other arthropods. Generally … Continue reading

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Insect-Arachnid Interaction: Slender crab spider feeding on a signal fly

Many spiders build webs and passively wait for prey animals to be ensnared in their traps. Others like crab spiders (Araneae: Thomisidae) don’t build webs, but still passively wait to ambush prey. Some spiders, however, are active predators that stalk … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Aphids feeding on goldenrod

A few weeks ago I noticed these tiny red aphid nymphs (Hemiptera: Aphididae) feeding on a goldenrod (Solidago sp., Asteraceae). Scattered among them were a few larger adults. These insects use their piercing-sucking mouthparts to siphon sugary juices from their host … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Spotted spurge

Spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata, Euphorbiacae) is a fairly common weedy annual in much of the United States. Although native to the east it now inhabits the Pacific coast as well. It’s relatively intolerant of competition so it’s most often found … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Grapevine beetle

Grapevine beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Pelidnota punctata) can be found throughout much of eastern North America. Although larvae feed on decaying wood, the adults feed on the leaves and fruit of both wild and cultivated grapes (Vitis spp., Vitaceae). These beetles can grow to over … Continue reading

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Insect-Insect Interaction: Great golden digger wasp with a katydid

Great golden digger wasps (Hymenoptera: Sphecidae: Sphex ichneumoneus) can be found throughout much of North America. They’re particularly common in areas that harbor wildflowers for adult nourishment, sandy soil for their nests, and insects for their larvae to eat. Prairies, … Continue reading

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Click beetle doing its thing

  Click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae) get their common name from a neat trick they can perform. These insects have uniquely flexible thoracic joints that they can suddenly “snap” at will in order to launch themselves through the air. This movement … Continue reading

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