Monthly Archives: April 2016

Random Insect: Spring Azure

Found in woodlands throughout much of eastern North America, spring azures (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae: Celastrina ladon) are rather eye-catching little butterflies. Relatively small in size, it is easy to overlook these insects when they are resting. The simple black-and-white pattern on … Continue reading

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Random Fungi: Turkey Tails and Kin

One of the most common forest fungi in North America is the turkey tail (Polyporales: Polyporaceae: Trametes versicolor). Found year-round on decaying hardwood trees and sometimes conifers, this mushroom gets its common name from its colorful, fan-like similarity to the tail of … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Tachinid Flies

There are over 150,000 described species of flies (Diptera) in the world, making them one of the most diverse animal orders on the planet. Although they are divided into over 160 families, a full seven percent of all known fly species … Continue reading

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Squirrels Protesting My Campsite Location

Earlier this month I spent a couple of nights camping in the Cataloochee Valley of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Upon my arrival I started setting up my tent and almost immediately received a very vocal protest from a resident American … Continue reading

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Random Plant: Yellow Trout-Lily

Found in moist woodlands of eastern North America, yellow trout-lilies (Erythronium americanum, Liliaceae) are one of many plants known as spring ephemerals. These plants germinate, grow, flower and reproduce in just a few weeks in early spring. Increasing day length and sun … Continue reading

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Random Insect: Greater Bee Fly

Common and widespread across much of North America, greater bee flies (Diptera: Bombyliidae: Bombylius major) are usually found in and around woodlands. Adults are typically encountered from March through May feeding on the nectar of early spring wildflowers. Their larvae, in contrast, … Continue reading

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Plant-Insect Interaction: Bees on a Squawroot

Squawroot (Conopholis americana, Orobanchaceae) is a fascinating plant because it is a parasite of other plants. Found in eastern North America it feeds predominantly on nutrients produced by oaks and beeches (family Fagaceae). Since it does not perform photosynthesis and lacks the green … Continue reading

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