#153 Great Spangled Fritillary

153 Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyria cybele)

31 July

Its wingspan ranges from 62 to 88 mm (2.4 to 3.5 in).[1] It is characterized by its orange color above with five black dashes near forewing base and several irregular black dashes at the base of the hindwing. In addition, two rows of black crescents run along the edges of the wings. Below, the forewing is yellowish orange with black marks similar to the upperside, with a few silver spots on the tip of the wing. The hindwing is reddish brown with silver spots on the base and middle of the wing. A broad yellow band and silver triangles are the most notable qualities on the wing, next to the brown margin. Females tend to be darker than males and individuals from the western reaches of this species range tend to be brighter orange. Similar species include the Aphrodite fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite), the Atlantis fritillary (Speyeria atlantis) and the northwestern fritillary (Speyeria hesperis). It is distinguished from the Aphrodite and Atlantis fritillaries by a wide light submarginal band on the hindwing and instead of black spots, black dashes form on the margins of the forewing.

#152 Broad-banded Leafcutter Bee

Broad-banded Leafcutter Bee (Megachile latimanus )

30 July

This species was accidentally introduced into North America during World War II through the movement of nests in crated war material. Once in North America, they developed large populations under favorable conditions. Prefers a dry, warm habitat with temperatures exceeding 69 degrees Farenheit. Although Megachile latmanus is most active under these conditions, this species needs a colder temperature in order to break diapause and complete metamorphosis.

Moderate-sized, stout-bodied and dark colored. They average about 10 to 20 millimeters in length. Leafcutting bees, like other bees, are covered in tiny, branched body hairs that assist in collecting pollen. This particular species carries pollen on a brush of hair on the ventral side of the abdomen. Males have 13 antennal segments and 7 abdominal tergites, whereas the females have 12 antennal segments and 6 abdominal tergites. Like most other bee species, leafcutting bees have an elongated tongue for reaching the nectar of flowers.

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of leafcutting bees is their nest building behavior. Once a suitable tunnel has been found, usually a hole bored in wood or crevices in between rocks, a bee will build a thimble-shaped tube using leaf cuttings. Equipped with large mandibles, the bee cuts circular discs from the leaves of rose bushes and shrubs to build its nest. Bees transport the leaves by rolling them between their legs. In the first cell of the tunnel, the bee uses small, round leaves and then larger oval pieces. Plant juices and bee secretions are used as a paste to hold the leaves together. The bee will then fill the tube with a pollen and nectar mix and lay an egg on top of the food supply. Using more circular leaf cuttings, the bee then builds a tight fitting plug for the nest, which makes the nest water proof. Leafcutter bees are solitary insects.

After completing metamorphosis within their nests, most adults will remain withing the nest to overwinter, chewing their way out of the cell the following spring

#151 Common Whitetail Dragonfly

Common Whitetail Dragonfly (Plathyris lydia)

29 July

Photograph is of a female. A very common dragonfly across the entire U.S. The male has large black patches on clear wings with a white abdomen, but the female is quite different, lacking the white abdomen and showing a different wing pattern.

The common whitetail can be seen hawking for mosquitoes and other small flying insects over ponds, marshes, and slow-moving rivers in most regions except the higher mountain regions. Periods of activity vary between regions; for example in California, the adults are active from April to September.[2]

Like all perchers, common whitetails often rest on objects near the water, and sometimes on the ground. Males are territorial, holding a 10-to-30-metre stretch (33 to 98 ft) of the water’s edge, and patrolling it to drive off other males. The white pruinescence on the abdomen, found only in mature males, is displayed to other males as a territorial threat.[3]

The nymphs are dark green or brown, but are usually found covered in algae. They feed on aquatic invertebrates such as mayfly larvae and small crayfish, and also on small aquatic vertebrates such as tadpoles and minnows. Because of their abundance, whitetail naiads are in turn an important food source for various fish, frogs, and birds, and also for other aquatic insects.

Some authorities classify the whitetails, including the common whitetail, in genus Libellula rather than Plathemis. This matter has been debated at least since the end of the nineteenth century. Recent molecular systematics evidence suggests that separation of the whitetails from the rest of Libellula may be appropriate.

#150 Morning-glory Plume Moth

Morning-glory Plume Moth (Emmelina monodactyla)

28 July

Wingspan 18-27 mm. Like most of the Pterophoridae, the wings are cleft or divided but this can be difficult to see as the moth often rests with the wings rolled up tightly. The wing colour is usually pale brownish, but can be darker. Each pair of spurs on the hind legs has one spur longer than the other. The abdomen has a pale buff dorsal longitudinal band with brown streaks along the midline. The larval foodplants are Bindweeds. Larvae have also been reported occasionally on Morning Glory and Oraches. They feed in two overlapping generations on leaves and flowers from late May to September.

#149 Common Greenbottle Fly

Common Greenbottle Fly (Lucilia serricata)

27 July

A blowfly found in most areas of the world and is the most well-known of the numerous green bottle fly species. Its body is 10–14 millimetres (0.39–0.55 in) in length – slightly larger than a house fly – and has brilliant, metallic, blue-green or golden coloration with black markings. It has short, sparse black bristles (setae) and three cross-grooves on the thorax. The wings are clear with light brown veins, and the legs and antennae are black. The larvae of the fly may be used for maggot therapy, are commonly used in forensic entomology, and can be the cause of myiasis in livestock and pets.
Pprefers warm and moist climates and accordingly is especially common in coastal regions, but can also be found in arid areas.[4] The female lays her eggs in carrion of all kinds, sometimes in the skin or hair of live animals, causing myiasis. The larvae feed on decaying organic tissue. The fly favours host species of the genus Ovis, domestic sheep in particular, and sometimes lays eggs in the wet wool of living sheep. This can lead to blowfly strike, causing problems for sheep farmers.

#148 Banded Longhorn Beetle

Banded Longhorn Beetle (Typocerus velutinus)

26 July

A species of flower longhorn in the family of beetles known as Cerambycidae. Extremely long antennae like their other relatives. Their bodies are colored in alternating bands of red and yellow. The head and pronotum are black. A thin band of yellow separates the pronotum from the head and abdomen. They are wider at the ‘shoulders’ and taper at the tip of the abdomen. Antennae are black and segmented. Legs are yellow with black ‘feet’.

They are often found on flowers, eating the pollen of a variety of species though they seem to favor parsley, carrot and celery flowers. Look for them in herb, vegetable, and flower gardens. Adult beetles can also be found on hardwood trees. Eggs are laid on dead or decaying trees where larvae hatch and begin boring into the wood. Look for larval frass, a mix of feces and sawdust, on the trunk or near the base of the tree. It is produced as a larva digs and is expelled as the tunneling deepens. This species’ larvae seem to prefer birch, sumac and goldenrod. Examine fallen trees and rotting logs in mixed wood forests for signs of the Banded Longhorn Beetle.

#147 Snowberry Clearwing Moth

Snowberry Clearwing Moth (Hemoris diffinis)

25 July

This moth is sometimes called “hummingbird moth” or “flying lobster”. This moth should not be confused with the hummingbird hawk-moth of Europe. About 32–51 millimetres (1.25–2 in). The moth’s abdomen has yellow and black segments much like those of the bumblebee, for whom it might be mistaken due to its color and flight pattern similarities. The moth’s wings lack the large amount of scales found in most other lepidopterans, particularly in the centralized regions, making them appear clear. It loses the scales on its wings early after the pupa stage by its highly active flight tendencies.

Flies during the daylight much like the other hummingbird moths, but it may also continue flight into the evening, particularly if it has found a good source of nectar.

#146 Dark Paper Wasp

Dark Paper Wasp (Polistes fuscatus )

24 July

The common name is also the golden or northern paper wasp, is widely found throughout southern Canada, the United States, and Central America. It often nests around human development. However, it greatly prefers areas in which wood is readily available for use as nest material, therefore they are also found near and in woodlands and savannas. P. fuscatus is a social wasp that is part of a complex society based around a single dominant queen along with other cofoundresses and a dominance hierarchy.

#145 Shagbark Hickory

Shagbark Hickory (Carya ovata)

23 July

A large, deciduous tree, growing well over 100 ft (30 m) tall, and can live more than 350[2] years. The tallest measured shagbark, located in Savage Gulf, Tennessee, is over 150 ft (46 m) tall. Mature shagbarks are easy to recognize because, as their name implies, they have shaggy bark. This characteristic is, however, only found on mature trees; young specimens have smooth bark.

The shagbark hickory’s nut is edible and has a very sweet taste.Shagbark hickory nuts were a significant food source for the Algonquins. Red squirrels, gray squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, and mice are consumers of hickory nuts. Other consumers include black bears, gray and red foxes, rabbits, and bird species such as mallards, wood ducks, bobwhites, and wild turkey

#144 White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

22 July

White-tailed deer eat large amounts of food, commonly eating legumes and foraging on other plants, including shoots, leaves, cacti (in deserts), prairie forbs, and grasses. They also eat acorns, fruit, and corn. Their special stomachs allow them to eat some things humans cannot, such as mushrooms and poison ivy. Their diets vary by season according to availability of food sources. They also eat hay, grass, white clover, and other foods they can find in a farm yard. Though almost entirely herbivorous, white-tailed deer have been known to opportunistically feed on nesting songbirds, field mice, and birds trapped in mist nets, if the need arises. A grown deer can eat around 2,000 lb (910 kg) of vegetable matter annually. A foraging area around 20 deer per square mile can start to destroy the forest environment.