Male Horntail (Pigeon Tremex)

2014 September 20

I found this great big insect (well over an inch long) in the road on August 27, 2013. It had apparently had a bad run-in with a car that cost it one of its hindwings, and couldn’t fly.

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Free-Roving Maggot – Syrphid Fly Larva?

2014 September 17

I found this crawling on my arm after a walk in the woods on August 26, 2013. It was only a few millimeters long.

It moved by inching slowly along, which I guess is all you can do when you don’t have any legs.

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Black beetle with orange patches under wings – Blister beetle

2014 September 13

Our dog found this one in the woods on August 20, 2013. It must have smelled pretty strongly to her to draw attention like that. It is clearly a relative of the Oil beetles that we’ve found several times in the past, except that this one appears to have wings long enough to be fully functional.

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Black-and-White Waspish Thing: Xiphydriid Wood Wasp

2014 September 10

I found this black and white not-quite-wasp on some animal droppings in the woods on August 17, 2013. The droppings were full of berry remains, and so I suspect that they were something like raccoon or skunk droppings.

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Red-Phase Carolina Grasshopper with Missing Abdomen

2014 September 6

I found this recently-dead grasshopper beside the road on August 16, 2013.

It’s a “red phase” Carolina Grasshopper, Dissosteira carolina (the ones I’ve posted before have been “gray phase”, but we get both colors here. I think the gray ones are better camouflaged on gravel, while the redder ones are better camouflaged on the reddish rocks we have in a lot of places). Both colors have the same ridging on the thorax, though.

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Common Dogwood Sawfly

2014 September 3

On August 13, 2013, Sandy found several of these sawfly larvae busily defoliating a dogwood bush alongside the trail behind our house.

Quick leg check, count the prolegs: yep, eight pairs. It’s a sawfly, all right.

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Little Black Spider Wasp

2014 August 30

On August 4, 2013, Sandy caught this little black wasp flying around the kitchen. It was a bit under half an inch long (about 10 mm).

It looks like one of the smaller species of “spider wasps”, in the family Pompilidae. I’m leaning towards the genus Auplopus, a group of small, dark wasps with varying degrees of redness in their legs.

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Mourning Cloak Butterfly Caterpillar and Adult

2014 August 27

In the first week of August 2013, Sam and Rosie each found one of these delightful black, spiky caterpillars with orange spots on their backs. They were quite large, over two inches long.

From the side, we can see that they also have orange prolegs.

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Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and Adults

2014 August 23

Our neighbor found four of these eating the dill plants in her garden on August 3, 2013. She wasn’t particularly bothered by them (it is very easy to grow considerably more dill than you actually need), but she was curious what these large, colorful caterpillars were going to turn into.

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2014 August 20

Our friend Bob was visiting the area on July 4-7, 2014, and was staying in Centennial (about 12 miles north of our house) when he spotted this very large insect on the wall of his cabin. And being the thoughtful fellow that he is, he took these photographs and sent them to me.

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