Category Archives: Featured Creatures

Black-Dotted Ruddy / Holly Looper

Being National Moth Week, I have every excuse to post about one of my favorite subjects. Admittedly, I get more excited about caterpillars, but I enjoy seeing the moths that most of them become.

Back at the end of April, I was distracted by something while going to check the mailbox. Actually, I’m often distracted any time I venture into my yard, but that’s kind of the point of having one for me. Anyway, some large hollies form a hedge along part of my driveway. I spotted a caterpillar dropping from from the holly to the ivy beneath it. I grabbed it for a closer look and started scanning the holly for others. I quickly found another one and brought them inside for rearing. Less than a month later, I was rewarded with a Black-Dotted Ruddy, Ilecta intractata. read more

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More Bell-bearer Treehoppers

January 28, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Another photo, same individual

One more shot, same individual

I’ve been researching these neat little treehoppers some more and I found references to a couple of Brazilian species, Bocydium globulare and tintinnabuliferum. I had to mention these just because of the scientific names.

Do you know the Edgar Allen Poe poem, “The Bells”? Remember these lines?

To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,

That came to mind as soon as I saw that scientific name, tintinnabuliferum. Besides just sounding cool, it translates as “bell-bearer”. The other name, globulare, I can’t quite work out, but I think in part it means “little balls”. read more

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Globular Stink Bug Invasive

This post’s featured creature is Megacopta Cribraria.

August 5, 2010 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA | ~5mm

Just outside the entrance to my subdivision, there’s a stand of kudzu, Pueraria montana var. lobata, at the border of a city park. If you’re not familiar with kudzu, it’s a major invasive here in the Southeast that pretty much takes over wherever it manages to take root. Many of the volunteer outings with the local nature conservancy are focused on eliminating this invasive from conservancy lands. Here are a few photos of the area to give you an idea. read more

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Trechaleid Spider with Young

The first thing I photographed after arriving in Caraça Natural Park was this hunting spider, found wandering in an unpaved parking area.

Trechaleid Spider with Young | January 25, 2010 | Caraça Natural Park, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Up until I started preparing to write this post, I figured this was a wolf spider. After reading to learn more about the parenting behavior shown here, I’m now convinced it is instead a species in the family Trechaleidae. What first tipped me off was a similar photograph in this little book:

Spiders (Collins Gem)by Paul Hillyard

Several identifying characteristics are mentioned for the particular species pictured. After some online searching, most appear to be shared by other species of the family. read more

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White-marked Tussock Moth

I often encounter the easily recognized White-marked Tussock moth, Orgyia leucostigma. I found this one feeding on maple at the end of May in my front yard.

May 31, 2010 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA | ~30mm

I grabbed it for some closeup shots and to attempt to rear it.

Tussocks

Head

Defensive glands

It must have been a final instar, because it pupated just five days later. It spun the cocoon at the top of a container, but I carefully removed it to take some photos.

Cocoon | June 6, 2010 | ~40mm

A flightless female emerged ten days later.

It's a female! | June 16, 2010 | ~15mm

Portrait

Females cling to the cocoon until mated. That night, I carefully pinned the cocoon with her on it to a post on my deck. When I checked an hour later, mating was already in progress. The male that found her was rough looking, having lost many wing scales. read more

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