Monthly Archives: September 2014

Random Insect: Caddisfly

Caddisflies (order Trichoptera) are often mistaken for moths (Lepidoptera) because they share a number of similarities. Like some moths, caddisflies hold their wings tent-like over their abdomens when at rest. Like some moths they are often attracted to lights at … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Ant on a shrubby cinquefoil

Shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa, Rosaceae) is an important source of food for many insects. Its wide distribution, cold-hardiness, and relatively long flowering period make it a reliable source of pollen and nectar for a variety of bees, wasps, butterflies, and … Continue reading

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Grand Teton National Park

Just south of Yellowstone National Park in northwest Wyoming is one of the most exquisitely beautiful locations in the entire United States. Here serene waters, thick forests, and lush meadows provide a haven for a vast amount of wildlife, all … Continue reading

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Badlands National Park

Located in southwest South Dakota is the beautiful and fascinating terrain of Badlands National Park. This park encompasses 381 square miles (987 square km) of colorful, jagged hills that decorate one of the largest remaining mixed-grass prairies in the United States. Situated … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Argid sawfly larvae on a hedge false bindweed

Sawflies and their kin are wasp-like insects with about 8000 known species. Larvae often resemble moth or butterfly caterpillars but can be distinguished by the presence of at least six pairs of prolegs. These stumpy, fleshy structures extending from their rear … Continue reading

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Glacier National Park

Two mountain ranges, 25 alpine glaciers, and over 700 lakes contribute to the rugged and beautiful landscape of Glacier National Park. Located in northwest Montana along the border with Canada, this park preserves 1583 square miles (4101 square km) of soaring … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Pink mountain heather

Unique to mountain meadows of western North America, pink mountain heather (Phyllodoce empetriformis, Ericaceae) can be found at elevations above 5000 feet (1524 m) from Alaska to Colorado. Forming low, dense mats of growth up to 16 inches (41 cm) in … Continue reading

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Wind Cave National Park

On the surface Wind Cave National Park looks a lot like the surrounding areas of South Dakota. Rolling hills and plains blanket a landscape filled with various plants and wildlife, but the real treasure of this park lies beneath the surface. With over … Continue reading

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Random Insect: White-spotted sawyer beetle

Found throughout conifer forests of North America, white-spotted sawyer beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Monochamus scutellatus) are economically important tree pests. They attack several species of pines (Pinus spp., Pinaceae) and spruces (Picea spp., Pinaceae) as well as balsam firs (Abies balsamea, Pinaceae), often … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Shrubby cinquefoil

Shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa, Rosaceae) is a relatively common wildflower that is native to much of North America. As a cold-hardy plant it’s most often found across Canada and the northern United States, as well as mountainous areas of the west. This … Continue reading

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Old Faithful Eruption

Old Faithful Geyser erupting at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Recorded 09/07/2014.

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Mount Rainier National Park

Situated at the center of Mount Rainier National Park is the namesake peak that represents a number of superlatives. At 14,410 feet (nearly 4,400 m) Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in Washington and the tallest mountain in the entire Cascade Range. … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Flower crab spider on a common tansy

Of the approximately 130 species of crab spiders (Araneae: Thomisidae) found in North America, only about 20 are known to regularly inhabit flowers. These ambush predators wait patiently for pollinating insects to move close and then grab them with their long front legs. … Continue reading

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Steller’s Jay

Year-round residents of much of the mountainous west, Steller’s Jays (Passeriformes: Corvidae: Cyanocitta stelleri) are usually found in and around coniferous forests. Mating pairs build nests made from sticks, mud, moss, and leaves high in evergreen trees where they typically raise two … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Darkling beetle

Darkling beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) make up a large and diverse group of insects, with over 1000 known species in North America alone. Over 20,000 are known throughout the world, and species vary considerably in appearance. I suspect the individual shown here … Continue reading

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