bugs on parade

I have seen a bonanza of interesting insects lately on early evening walks at the local marsh near my house, including some insects I had not seen before.

virginia ctenucha moth-

This is a Virginia Ctenucha moth — check out those antennae, which is how I knew it was a moth. A bright orange head and iridescent metallic blue body (seen when it flew) make this pretty easy to identify.

virginia ctenucha moth-

A closer look at the long, comb-like antennae and bright orange head of the Ctenucha moth.

Apparently these moths are quite common in the northeastern part of North America and range as far west as Manitoba in the north to Kansas in the south. They are day-flying moths that can be found in woodland and grassland nectaring on flowers, but their very hairy larvae grow up eating various grasses, sedges, and even iris in meadows.

bumblebe on crown vetch

Lots of bumblebees are out collecting nectar and pollen from the numerous wildflowers in bloom. This one seemed to find a nice supply of nectar in crown vetch, but obviously had been collecting a lot of pollen as well.

bumblebee and wildflowers-

These fields of wildflowers should be full of honeybees, but I rarely seen them any more, unless there are hives nearby.

red admiral butterfly-

A Red Admiral butterfly posed briefly on a leaf. This one seems a little tattered and faded, and more orange than red (or that could be the yellow light of the late afternoon sun).

pearl crescent butterfly-

Pearl Crescent butterflies nectar on a wide variety of flowers in grassy meadows. This one spent a lot of time investigating the flowers of Hairy Vetch plants.

The orange and black pattern of the wings is striking and makes them easy to identify, but what really stands out is those white beads on their very black antennae.

pearl crescent butterfly-

 A real beauty.

common buckeye-

Another rarely seen butterfly (at least by me) is the Common Buckeye. This one seems a little worse for the wear, with some bites out of its wings.  Eight distinctive eyespots on both the upper and lower sides of their wings make this species easy to distinguish.

pink clouded sulfur butterfly-

Pink Clouded Sulfur butterflies have a fine pink edging around their wings and attractive green eyes. Late afternoon sun created a nice shadow image…

pink clouded sulfur butterfly-head-

And some deep pinkish red antennae to complement those green eyes and yellow bodies.

hover fly on sunflower-

A lone hoverfly was out late foraging on the tall sunflowers in the grassy meadow.

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