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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Red Milkweed Beetles (from lower Michigan)

2014 August 16

When I was a kid living in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, I used to find these colorful beetles on milkweed plants all the time. They were particularly amusing because if you pick one up, it will make a fairly loud “eeee-eeeee-eeeee” noise by rubbing parts of its exoskeleton together. However, they don’t appear to exist in the Upper Peninsula, so I took the opportunity to catch and photograph some while we were visiting Sandy’s parents near Manchester on August 1, 2013.

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Japanese Beetles (from lower Michigan)

2014 August 13

I don’t see these Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) up around Houghton, but in the Lower Peninsula (and, I guess, in most of the eastern US) they are a common garden pest. These were in Sandy’s parents’ yard on August 1, 2013, busily engaged in trying to make more Japanese Beetles.

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Predaceous Diving Beetle (from lower Michigan)

2014 August 9

On July 30, 2013 we were downstate visiting Sandy’s parents (near Manchester), and Sam found this moderate-size beetle (about half an inch long) swimming in a mud puddle.

It looks to me like a Predaceous Diving Beetle, family Dytiscidae.

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Black Rove Beetle

2014 August 6

I found this rove beetle on July 25 while pushing my bike up the hill. It was longer than half an inch, fast-moving, and extremely slippery.

When it was alarmed, it would raise the rear of its abdomen up in the air, as if it were about to spray something noxious, but I didn’t notice any odd smells.

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Abbott’s Sphinx, Caterpillar and Adult

2014 August 2

Sandy caught me this nice Abbott’s Sphinx caterpillar on July 26, 2013. This is one that we’d seen before back in 2009, and I thought it warranted further examination.

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Purple-lined Sun Moth caterpillar

2014 July 30

Our neighbor across the street found this medium-sized, rather colorful caterpillar eating her Hydrangeas on July 22, 2013, and thoughtfully brought it over to me to identify.

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