#502 Eastern Harvestman (Leiobunum vittatum)

Harvestmen are not spiders, though they resemble them in many ways. They are relatives of the spider in that they are both from the same Order. The Harvestman does not have fangs, are not venomous, and do not bite. Their mandibles are far too small for humans to feel any kind of sensation should they even try. Their eight long, spindly legs do more for them than help them travel. The second pair acts like antennae and are very sensitive. This second pair of legs also helps a Harvestman capture prey, as well as smell surroundings and even breathe (through holes on their legs called spiracles). If the second pair of legs is lost, the Harvestman will die. The body of a Harvestman is completely fused and round, not segmented like other arachnids. 

#501 Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Moth (Harrisina americana)

Slowly starting up again after the “500 Species” halfway point was reached … no longer posting one new species a day, but trying to keep things interesting. Unless there is something especially worthy of pointing about about a specimen I will henceforth leave it to those interested in more than. just the photograph to resort to the internet where more information than most people would want can be found.

** This interesting insect was, as you can see, taking sustenance from a milkweed flower.

#495 European Earwig (Forficula auricularia)

13 July

An omnivorous insect in the family Forficulidae. The European earwig survives in a variety of environments and is a common household insect in North America. The name earwig comes from the appearance of the hindwings, which are unique and distinctive among insects, and resemble a human ear when unfolded; the species name of the common earwig, auricularia, is a specific reference to this feature. They are considered a household pest because of their tendency to invade crevices in homes and consume pantry foods, and may act either as a pest or as a beneficial species depending on the circumstances (see below).

Forficula auricularia is reddish brown in color, with a flattened and elongate body, and slender, beaded antennae. An obvious feature of earwigs is the pair of ‘pincers’ or forceps at the tip of the flexible abdomen. Both sexes have these pincers; in males they are large and very curved, whereas in females they are straight. Nymphs are similar to adults in appearance, but their wings are either absent or small.

In North America, European earwigs comprise two sibling species, which are reproductively isolated. Populations in cold continental climates mostly have one clutch per year, forming species A, whereas those in warmer climates have two clutches per year, forming species B.

#493 Grayish Fan-Foot (Zanclognatha pedipilalis)

11 July

A litter moth of the family Erebidae. The species was first described by Achille Guenée in 1854. It is found in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia south to Florida and Mississippi, west to Alberta and Kansas.

The wingspan is 24–30 millimetres (0.94–1.18 in). Adults are on wing from May to August. There is one generation in the north, with a partial second brood in Connecticut. There are two broods in Missouri and multiple generations in Florida. The larvae feed on dead leaves in deciduous woods.

#490 Prince Baskettail (Epitheca princeps)

8 July

Epitheca princeps, commonly known as prince baskettails, are found in more than 27 states in the United States, spanning mostly the midwestern and eastern United States. These insects have been reported in Ontario and Quebec, Canada.

Prince baskettails, like most Corduliidae, live in and around freshwater swamps and ponds. This species lives in the surrounding vegetation of permanent ponds, lakes or streams, all of which have a slow current. The eggs and larvae live in the water, usually occupying depths of 0.5 m. The water conditions can range from clear to muddy, and a suitable oxygen concentration is necessary for the eggs laid underwater.

most often can be observed flying over trees during the day and feeding in swarms during the evening. This species can form swarms of 10 to 30 individuals and may fly with Epitheca cynosura simulans. Epitheca princeps perches to feed on larger food items; it also perches at night. It perches by hanging under twigs, often with its wings elevated. It typically is still perched at dawn, as the sun must heat its muscles before it can begin flying. Species in the genus Epitheca, prince baskettails included, are known for their strong, persistent flights.

Epitheca princeps females are solitary until they reach sexual maturity, generally occupying a range that extends farther from the water source. Males can be territorial; they guard oviposition sites from other male E. princeps and other dragonflies. However, E. princeps often is not the most dominant odonate in the habitat; thus, many Epitheca princeps males cannot patrol close to the shore.

Larvae often enter diapause during the winter. They migrate to deeper waters when temperatures are low, which enables them to avoid predation and the dangers associated with cold temperatures close to the shore.

#489 Striped Cucumber Beetle (Acalymma vittatum)

7 July

A beetle of the family Chrysomelidae and a serious pest of cucurbit crops in both larval and adult stages. Large numbers of adults emerge from diapause in the spring to feed on the foliage, flowers, and pollen of cucurbit species. Between one and two generations of beetles can pass in a season depending on the region, with the final generation settling into another period of diapause to wait out the winter.

Females will lay eggs on or in the immediate vicinity of the stem of a viable host plant, often a member of the genus Cucurbita. Eggs are a bright orange color and less than a millimeter in diameter. Eggs hatch after a short period and larvae feed on the roots of the plant.

#485 Condylostylus patibulatus

3 July

Apart from it’s metallic gold colour this is a very (very!) tiny “long-legged fly” that has flown so far under the radar that it doesn’t even have a common name.

There are 7000 species in the family Dolichopodidae. They are generally small flies with large, prominent eyes and a metallic cast to their appearance, though there is considerable variation among the species. Most have long legs, though some do not. In many species the males have unusually large genitalia which are taxonomically useful in identifying species. Most adults are predatory on other small animals, though some may scavenge or act as kleptoparasites of spiders or other predators.

#484 European/Essex Skipper (Thymelicus lineola)

2 July

Needless to say this is an introduced species, though there are plenty of native Skippers around too. Accidentally introduced in 1910 via London, Ontario and has spread across southern Canada and into several northern US states. In many parts of the Northeastern United States it is the most abundant skipper.

Eggs are laid in strings on the stems of grasses where they remain over the winter.

#482 Common Bagworm Moth (Psyche casta)

30 June

A tiny nocturnal moth from the family Psychidae, the bagworm moths. The wingspan of the males ranges from 12 to 15 millimeters.They have hairy, brown-metallic shiny wings. The grub like females have legs but do not have wings and are yellowish or light brown, except for some dark brown back plates.They remain in the case. The host plants are from the groups: Poaceae, birch, willow, poplar and Vaccinium. The caterpillars make a protective hull from grass. The flight time ranges from May to July.

Originally from the Old World. It has been introduced in North America