#143 Virginia Ctenutha Moth

Virginia Ctenutha Moth (Ctenucha virginica)

21 July

The largest and most broad-winged of wasp moths in North America. Body metallic blue; head and sides of collar orange. Forewing deep grayish brown, metallic blue at base. Hindwing black. Fringes on all wings partly white. Endemic to eastern North America, from Newfoundland south to Virginia. Larvae feed on a variety of host plants including various grasses, irises, and sedges. Adults drink nectar from flowers including goldenrod.

According to the University of Alberta, there has been a westward expansion in the last 60 years as it has reached the Canadian rockies and is now found in all Canadian provinces

#142 Red-eyed Vireo

Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)

20 July

One of the most common summer residents of Eastern forests. These neat, olive-green and white songbirds have a crisp head pattern of gray, black, and white. Their brief but incessant songs contribute to the characteristic sound of an Eastern forest in summer. When fall arrives, they head for the Amazon basin, fueled by a summer of plucking caterpillars from leaves in the treetops.

The red iris that gives the Red-eyed Vireo its name doesn’t develop until the end of the birds’ first winter. Then the brown iris the birds were born with becomes dull brick red to bright crimson in different individuals.

#141 Red Milkweed Beetle

Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetropoes tetrophtalmus)

19July

A beetle in the family Cerambycidae. The binomial genus and species names are both derived from the Ancient Greek for “four eyes.” As in many longhorn beetles, the antennae are situated very near the eye–in the red milkweed beetle, this adaptation has been carried to an extreme: the antennal base actually bisects the eye. The milkweed beetle, a herbivore, is given this name because they are generally host specific to milkweed plants (genus Asclepias). It is thought the beetle, which as an adult feeds on the foliage of the plant, and its early instars, which eat the roots, derive a measure of protection from predators by incorporating toxins from the plant into their bodies, thereby becoming distasteful, much as the monarch butterfly and its larvae do. They feed by opening veins in the milkweed plant, decreasing the beetles’ exposure to latex-like sap. When startled, the beetles make a shrill noise. When interacting with another beetle, they make a ‘purring’ noise. The red and black coloring are aposematic, advertising the beetles’ inedibility. There are many milkweed-eating species of insect that use the toxins contained in the plant as a chemical defense. Red milkweed beetles lay egg-clutches in mid-summer near the roots of the milkweed.

#140 The “Other” Butterfly Milkweed

The “Other” Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)

18 July

Butterfly weed, is a species of milkweed native to eastern and southwestern North America. It is commonly known as butterfly weed because of the butterflies that are attracted to the plant by its color and its copious production of nectar. It is also a larval food plant of the queen and monarch butterflies, as well as the dogbane tiger moth, milkweed tussock moth, and the unexpected cycnia. Hummingbirds, bees and other insects are also attracted. It is not a preferred host plant of the monarch butterfly but caterpillars can be reared on it successfully. However, it is one of the very lowest Asclepias species in cardenolide content, making it a poor source of protection from bird predation and parasite virulence.

#139 Leafroller Moth

Leafroller Moth (Choristoneura sp. – possibly C. roaceana)

17 July

Family Tortricidae. It is native to North America, but has been accidentally introduced into other parts of the world. The presence of the species is suggested by rolled, tied and chewed leaves and minor feeding damage on fruits. Damage can be extensive on rosaceous plants.

#138 Masked Bee

Masked Bee (Genus: Hylaeus)

16 July

Over 500 species in this genus. Generally small, black and yellow/white wasp-like species. The resemblance to wasps is enhanced by the absence of a scopa, which is atypical among bees.

Hylaeus carry pollen in the crop, rather than externally, and regurgitate it into the cell where it will be used as larval food. Like most colletids, the liquid provisions are sealed inside a membranous cellophane-like cell lining. Nests are typically in dead twigs or plant stems, or other similarly small natural cavities, rather than constructing or excavating their own nests as in many other bees.

Some species are consiered vulnerable or endangered.

#137 Harebell Carpenter Bee

137 Harebell Carpenter Bee (Chelostoma campanularum – postulated ID)

15 July

A very (very) tiny black species of hymenopteran in the family Megachilidae found in Europe & Northern Asia (excluding China) as well as North America. Associated with the flowers of various bellflowers (Campanula species).

#136 Florentine Woolcarder Bee

Woolcarder Bee (Anthidium sp.) – Possibly Florentine Woolcarder Bee (Anthidium floretinum)

14 July

Another European introduced species. Wool carder bees are very distinctive bees with yellow spots down the sides of their abdomens. They are one of the few bee species in which the male is larger than the female. Females comb wool fibres from plants to use as nesting material, while males fiercely guard areas of these plants for potential mates.

Commonly found in range of different habitats, especially gardens containing their favoured plants, also present in heathland, woodland rides and clearings, wetlands and river banks, soft cliff areas, chalk downland and brownfield sites. They nest in existing holes or cavities, including hollow stems, dead wood and human-made structures. They will feed on many flowers including labiates like Lamb’s-ear, Black horehound, and legumes like vetches and Bird’s foot trefoil. The females prefer to harvest fibres from hairy plants such as Lamb’s-ear, Great Mullein and Yarrow, which is where males are more likely to be encountered.

#135 Squash Vine Borer Moth

Squash Vine Borer Moth (Melittia cucurbitae)

13 July

Native to North America. The moth is often mistaken for a bee or wasp because of its movements, and the bright orange hindleg scales. The females typically lay their eggs at the base of leaf stalks, and the caterpillars develop and feed inside the stalk, eventually killing the leaf. They soon migrate to the main stem, and with enough feeding damage to the stem, the entire plant may die. For this reason, it is considered a pest that attacks cultivated varieties of squash.

This adult was taking food from milweed (Asclepia syriaca) flowers

#134 Cross Orbweaver Spider

Cross Orbweaver Spider (Araneus diadematus)

12 July

Introduced in the United States from Western and Northern Europe. The coloration between individuals can vary, ranging from very light yellow to dark grey. However, the mottled white markings across the dorsal abdomen, alongside four (or sometimes more) segments forming a cross mark is are common to all.