I hope you enjoy taking a closer look at some of the things I find interesting.
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Category Archives: Identification Challenges
The blue on the upperside of the hindwings indicates this is a female. Here’s the underside of the wings:
If I’d had some daylight, I’d have tried to get something other than a black background. I saw she had emerged after arriving home one evening though, so I took these shots in my home office before releasing her.
Being a fresh specimen, I thought I’d try for some closeups of the wing scales.
I spotted this chrysalis on a tree trunk (looks like some sort of cherry). You can see in the first photo that it blends in pretty well. I took it home to see what would emerge. Something did, late the following April. Any ideas what it was?
This probably won’t help, but I couldn’t resist posting a closeup.
Chris Grinter agrees with me that this photo is of a sawfly in the genus Dimorphopteryx.
I first saw some photos of similar sawflies in this book:Insects:
Their Natural History and Diversityby Stephen A. Marshall
I then found some images on BugGuide.
It really is an odd looking critter. If I’d instead shown this view, it would have been more obvious, I think, that it’s a sawfly.
Here you can see the horns just behind the head.
Marshall reports that the “tubercle behind the head is eversible, and sticks out like a snake’s tongue when the insect is disturbed.” Cool. I wish I’d known that when I encountered it. I would have tried to coax it into displaying that behavior.
I believe I’ve identified this to genus. Can you do the same?
Can you make heads or tails of this (that’s a hint)? Leave a comment with your guess.
Maybe I made the first identification challenge too hard. No one even ventured a guess in the comments in the two months since I posted it. Here’s the image again:
Here’s another view that might make it a bit easier.
This is the egg mass of an eastern tent caterpillar. Next spring, I should see the distinctive webbing on the cherry tree in my backyard where I found this. There’s hundreds of eggs here, but last time I checked it, it was looking a bit worse for wear. The varnish so clearly visible here has worn and chunks of the mass are missing. Perhaps some eggs were parasitized and the parasites have since exited.
I’ll be posting identification challenges like this periodically. Feel free to comment with your guess.
As I’m posting this before the site is public, it may be awhile before I post the answer to this one. I’ll wait until I see some comments here or until a reasonable amount of time has passed.