Archive for the ‘Insects’ Category

What a Surprise Part 2

I went out in the yard the next evening, and there lay a luna moth on the ground. I didn’t see any movement.

Another one lay close by. It didn’t move any either.

None of the ones I saw moved. I walked to the backyard after taking all the pictures I needed.

Then … another surprise … I walked on down in the backyard, and there were the wings of another luna moth.

None of the wings were attached.

There was no body either.

It looked like the wings fell off.

These were all that was left of the moth. It must have burrowed in the ground to complete its transformation.

What a Surprise! Part 1

I went out after supper last night, and there on the side of the sweetgum tree was a luna moth.

 I haven’t seen one of these for years! It tolerated my presence while I took pictures … and more pictures.

The evening light slightly changed the color of the moth.

Moths have feathery antennae. Butterflies don’t.

This spot looks like an eye and would keep predators away.

A luna moth’s wingspan measures between 3.0 -4.25 inches wide.

I didn’t realize they had such a large body.

Wonders Never Cease

 Common Milkweed

Four common milkweed plants grow beside the back garage (which will be torn down this summer).

A few insects visit the flowers,

and a white crab spider hides on the underneath side of one of the leaves. The spider can change colors to match the color of the flower it’s on.

Monarch Chrysalis

On one of my walks around the backyard looking for spiders, I found a monarch butterfly chrysalis in an old garage that will be torn down soon.

I watched the chrysalis— daily, waiting for the butterfly to emerge.

Then the chrysalis turned slightly darker.  I expected the butterfly to emerge soon … It did, but I wasn’t there to watch it.

Obelisk Position

I was out early this morning for my daily spider hunt.

Then I got side tracked by this dragonfly in its obelisk position. This position reduces the amount of sun/heat on the dragonfly.

Strange Spider Web

This dead pear tree has quite a history.

IMG_8761

Now it houses a spider whose web is about 3 feet high in the tree.

IMG_8767

The silk is so fine the web would be hard to spot if it wasn’t for the “stuff” in it. The “stuff” looks like sawdust. Woodpeckers do visit the tree and “sawdust” would fall when there was activity above … or the spider added it when spinning the web.

IMG_8764

These three pictures of the web weren’t taken on the same day.

IMG_8835 crop

It was an active place when the tree was alive and producing fruit. I have no idea what’s included in the “stuff” in the line … unless it’s somehow young spiders. (They are spider egg cases.)

IMG_4524

The pears would rot and drop when the tree was alive. The rotten fruit then attracted many, many butterflies and other insects  too.

IMG_4448

Red-spotted purple butterflies visited flowers.

IMG_4459

The viceroy resembles a monarch, only the monarch lacks the extra black band on the hindwing.

IMG_4407

Besides the rotten fruit, the hackberry butterflies will also visit animal droppings and carrion.

IMG_4473

A question mark butterfly joined the hackberries. If you look close, you’ll see a faint gold upside-down question mark in the middle of its hindwing.

IMG_4569

The buckeye butterflies have an eye spot on the top of the forewing and two spots of different sizes on their hindwing.

I plan to enjoy the pear tree until it’s all fallen down.

A Snout Butterfly

img_1870-crop

A snout butterfly (Libytheana carinenta) flew into my butterfly garden and landed near me.

img_1870

It’s obvious it got its name from the long labial palps (mouth parts on either side of its proboscis).

img_1864

It looks like it’s been a while since the ragged butterfly emerged.

img_1866

They have a 1 3/8 to 2 inch wingspan and lay their eggs in hackberry trees (several grow in our yard.)

img_1871

 It flew away to I don’t know where.