Sightings – Insects and Spiders

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/2/11

Observation Time: 5:15 p.m.

Observation Location: Borderland State Park

Common Name: Lilypad forktail damselfly

Scientific Name: Ischnura kellicotti

Comments: A southern species that appears to have increased in Massachusetts lately. This specimen is the red form of the female. There is also a blue form. Males are bright blue.

More Information: Odonata Central

Lilypad Forktail Damselfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/9/20

Observation Time: 3:45 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond dam

Common Name: Lilypad forktail damselfly

Scientific Name: Ischnura kellicotti

Comments: A southern species that appears to have increased in Massachusetts lately. This specimen is the red form of the female. There is also a blue form. Males are bright blue.

More Information: Wisconsin Odonata Survey

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/31/11

Observation Time: 5:00 p.m.

Observation Location: in the woods near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Little Wood Satyr butterfly

Scientific Name: Megisto cymela

Comments: A common woodland butterfly in Massachusetts.

More Information: Massachusetts Butterfly Club

Little Wood Satyr Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/20/10

Observation Time: 9:10 a.m.

Observation Location: near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Little Wood Satyr butterfly

Scientific Name: Megisto cymela

Comments: A common woodland butterfly in Massachusetts.

More Information: Massachusetts Butterfly Club

Little Wood Satyr Butterfly

Little Wood Satyr Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/5/13

Observation Time: noon

Observation Location: Gavins Pond area

Common Name: Little Wood Satyr butterfly

Scientific Name: Megisto cymela

Comments: As the name implies, the wood satyr is most commonly seen in woods and shrubby areas.

More Information: Wikipedia

Wood Satyr Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/31/18

Observation Time: 4:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Borderland State Park

Common Name: Locust borer beetle

Scientific Name: Megacyllene robiniae

Comments: The locust borer only attacks black locust trees.  It’s a native insect and was first found in the eastern part of the United States in natural stands of black locust trees.  The locust borer caused problems in colonial times by rendering the durable black locust wood unsuitable for use as fenceposts.  As settlers moved west in the country, they brought black locust trees… and the borer with them.  The borer is now found throughout North America.

More Information: Tumblr: Animal World

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/30/13

Observation Time: 2:45 p.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Road (front yard)

Common Name: Locust borer beetle

Scientific Name: Megacyllene robiniae

Comments: I spotted this beetle near locust trees.

More Information: Tumblr: Animal World

Locust Borer Beetle

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/17/11

Observation Time: 12:15 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Dam

Common Name: Mason Wasp

Scientific Name: Monobia quadridens

Comments: Mason wasps are solitary. They have a metallic blue sheen on their wings. Females usually build nests in abandoned holes of other bee and wasp species. Sometimes mistaken for Bald-faced Hornet, but note the position and extent of white on the abdomen.

More Information: What’s That Bug? and Cape May Wildlife Guide

Observer: Alex Hackman

Observation Date: 4/23/09

Observation Time: 9:45 a.m.

Observation Location: Beaver Brook

Common Name: Mayfly

Scientific Name: Ephemeroptera

Comments: Adult mayfly hatch observed during a paddle up Beaver Brook. This insect is an indicator of good water quality.

More Information: Texas A&M

Mayfly

 

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/26/10

Observation Time: 5:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Monarch Butterfly

Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus

Comments: In fall, eastern monarchs migrate thousands of miles from Canada to Mexico and parts of Arizona and Florida. In spring, the overwintered population migrates part of the way back. Then a second, third and fourth generation continues the migration to back to Canada.

The number of monarchs overwintering in Mexico has shown a long-term downward trend. In 2014, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Center for Food Safety filed a legal petition requesting Endangered Species Act protection for the monarch and its habitat.

Efforts are underway to establish monarch waystations. A growing number of homeowners are establishing butterfly gardens; monarchs can be attracted by cultivating a butterfly garden with specific plant species.

More Information: Wikipedia

Monarch Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/24/14

Observation Time: 1:15 p.m.

Observation Place: TTOR’s Moose Hill Farm (formerly the Kendall Estate)

Common Name: Monarch Butterfly

Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus

Comments: With winter approaching, this monarch was nearing the end of its life. Monarchs make an epic, multi-generational migration. Check it out at the link below.

More Information: National Geographic

Observer: Rita Corey

Observation Date: 8/13/20

Observation Time: 3:40 p.m.

Observation Place: Mountain St.

Common Name: Monarch Butterfly caterpillar

Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus

Comments: This monarch caterpillar was feeding on milkweed. It will soon form a chrysalis.

Milkweed is poisonous. Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed to make themselves poisonous to avoid predation. Their bright coloration is a warning to predators. Eating milkweed can sometimes be fatal to the monarch caterpillar itself.

Monarchs make an epic, multi-generational migration. Check it out at the link below.

More Information: National Geographic

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/15/18

Observation Time: 1:15 p.m.

Observation Place: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Monarch Butterfly caterpillar and chrysalis

Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus

Comments: This caterpillar was feeding on milkweed. It will soon form a chrysalis, as others nearby had already done.

Monarchs make an epic, multi-generational migration. Check it out at the link below.

More Information: National Geographic

Monarch chrysalis:

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/22/13

Observation Time: 3:00 p.m.

Observation Location: King Phillip’s Rock

Common Name: Mottled Prominent Moth (caterpillar)

Scientific Name: Macrurocampa marthesia

Comments: For a photo of the adult Mottled Prominent
moth, see: http://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/177197-Macrurocampa-marthesia

More Information: BugGuide

Mottled Prominent Moth (Caterpillar)

Mottled Prominent Moth (Caterpillar)

Mottled Prominent Moth (Caterpillar)

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/9/11

Observation Time: 2:50 p.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Mourning Cloak butterfly

Scientific Name: Nymphalis antiopa

Comments: Unlike most butterflies, mourning cloaks overwinter as adults, so they are often the first butterfly seen in spring.

More Information: Wikipedia

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 4/19/15

Observation Time: 2:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Scientific Name: Nymphalis antiopa

Comments: This is a striking butterfly overwinters as an adult.That is why it is the first butterfly you are likely to see in early spring.

More Information: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Nymphalis-antiopa

 

MourningCloakButterfly1

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/2/13

Observation Time: 7:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road near soccer fields

Common Name: Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Scientific Name: Nymphalis antiopa

Comments: Unlike most butterfly species, mourning cloaks overwinter as adults, so they are typically the first butterflies seen in spring. This tattered individual was on its last legs, but still displayed striking coloration.

More Information: Wikipedia

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/1/19

Observation Time: 4:40 p.m.

Observation Location: Trustees of Reservations’ Moose Hill Farm

Common Name: Nessus Sphinx Moth

Scientific Name: Amphion floridensis

Comments: The Nessus Sphinx is a member of Sphingidae, a family of powerfully fast moths that are typically seen drinking flower nectar. The Nessus Sphinx has two yellow bands on the abdomen that are thought to help it mimic a wasp as it hovers over blooms.

More Information: Insect Identification for the Casual Observer

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/2/11

Observation Time: 1:40 p.m.

Observation Location: near Gavins Pond

Common Name: North American Harvester butterfly

Scientific Name: Feniseca tarquinius

Comments: The harvester is the only North American butterfly with carnivorous larvae, usually feeding on aphids.

More Information: Tree of Life

North American Harvester Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/27/19

Observation Time: 2:00 p.m.

Observation Location: boardwalk through Conservation land near Morse & Lakeview

Common Name: North American Millipede

Scientific Name: Narceus americanus

Comments: Millipedes first appeared in the fossil record 400 million years ago and are some of the first animals to have lived on land. It is hypothesized that these ancient species are the largest animals without backbones to have walked on earth. Modern forms appear in the late Paleozoic. While North American millipedes are currently classified as diplopods, Linnaeus classified them as apterate insects, Lamarck said they were arachnids, and others have called them worms or crustaceans.

More Information: Animal Diversity Web

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/26/10

Observation Time: 4:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Beaver Brook near tennis courts

Common Name: Northern Eyed Brown butterfly

Scientific Name: Satyrodes eurydice

Comments: This individual was perched on the handrail of the wooden footbridge constructed by SFOC over Beaver Brook.

More Information: Mass Audubon

Northern Eyed Brown Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/22/13

Observation Time: 4:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond area near soccer parking area

Common Name: Northern Paper Wasp

Scientific Name: Polistes fuscatus

Comments: This individual appeared to be gleaning wood fibers for use in constructing or repairing a nest.

More Information: Wikipedia

Northern Paper Wasp

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/25/15

Observation Time: 1:00 p.m.

Observation Location: near Beaver Brook (near train station tennis courts)

Common Name: Northern Pearly-Eye butterfly

Scientific Name: Enodia anthedon

Comments: Northern Pearly-Eye butterflies are very similar to Eyed Browns and Appalachian Browns. All can be found in Sharon.

More Information: Butterflies of Massachusetts

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/26/13

Observation Time: 5:10 p.m.

Observation Location: near Beaver Brook (near train station tennis courts)

Common Name: Northern Pearly-Eye butterfly

Scientific Name: Enodia anthedon

Comments: These three butterfly species are very similar: Eyed Brown, Appalachian Brown, and Northern Pearly-Eye. All can be found in Sharon.

These two Northern Pearly-eye butterflies were courting.

More Information: Butterflies of Massachusetts

Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly

Northern Pearly-Eye Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/7/15

Observation Time: 5:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond area

Common Name: Northern Walkingstick

Scientific Name: Diapheromera femorata

Comments: This harmless insect uses its bizarre body shape to blend in to the foliage and avoid detection by potential predators.

More Information: Bugguide

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/10/19

Observation Time: 6:20 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Northeastern Sawyer Beetle

Scientific Name: Monochamus notatus

Comments:  The Northeastern Pine Sawyer Beetle is one of several harmless native species that look like the exotic and destructive Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB).

The Northeastern Sawyer is our largest native longhorn beetle, about as large as ALB, but different in color and pattern: it can be distinguished from ALB by its dull grey color and lack of pattern on its wing covers (the antennae may appear banded, but they won’t be as vivid as they are on ALB). Additionally, while adult ALB will be found on living hardwood trees, the Northeastern Sawyer targets dead or dying conifers. Both adult and larval Northeastern Sawyers prefer to eat the rotting wood of conifers such as pine, spruce, and fir, versus the live, fresh hardwood required by ALB.

Adult Northeastern Sawyer Beetles are active from May through September, while Asian Longhorned Beetles are still active through the first hard frost.

Any sightings of suspicious beetle or tree damage can be reported here. Be sure to get a picture or collect the specimen.

More Information: Massachusetts Introduced Pests

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/1/14

Observation Time: 12:10 p.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Rd.

Common Name: Nursery web spider

Scientific Name: Pisaurina mira

Comments: This large spider was on a tree trunk in my back yard.

More Information: Kentucky Spiders

Nursery Web Spider

Nursery Web Spider

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/11/20

Observation Time: 11:05 a.m.

Observation Location: in a small oak tree in the field across the street from the Gavins Pond soccer fields

Common Name: Oak gall

Scientific Name: caused by small wasps in the family Cynipidae

Comments: Oak apple or oak gall is the common name for a large, round, vaguely apple-like gall commonly found on many species of oak. Oak apples range in size from 2 to 4 centimetres (1 to 2 in) in diameter and are caused by chemicals injected by the larvae of certain kinds of gall wasp in the family Cynipidae. The adult female wasp lays single eggs in developing leaf buds. The wasp larvae feed on the gall tissue resulting from their secretions, which modify the oak bud into the gall, a structure that protects the developing larvae until they undergo metamorphosis into adults. Considerable confusion exists in the general “literature” between the oak apple and the oak marble gall. The oak marble is frequently called the oak apple due to the superficial resemblance and the preponderance of the oak marble gall in the wild. Other galls found on oak trees include the oak artichoke gall and the acorn cup gall, but each of these has its own distinctive form.

Some common oak-apple-forming species are the Biorhiza pallida gall wasp in Europe, Amphibolips confluenta in eastern North America,[2] and Atrusca bella in western North America.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/19/13

Observation Time: 2:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Dam

Common Name: Orange bluet damselfly

Scientific Name: Enallagma signatum

Comments: The orange bluet has a long flight season. It’s from early March to early November. This bluet is unusual in that it is most active in the late afternoon. It is often found near slow moving streams, ponds, and pools with still waters.

More Information: Wikipedia or Fotki

Orange Bluet Damselfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/1/11

Observation Time: 3:45 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Dam

Common Name: Orange bluet damselfly

Scientific Name: Enallagma signatum

Comments: These small orange damselflies were darting about all over the surface of the pond, occasionally alighting on floating weeds. Some were mating.

The first two photos are males and the third female.

More Information: Wikipedia or Fotki

Orange Bluet Damselfly

Orange Bluet Damselfly

Orange Bluet Damselfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/12/15

Observation Time: 3:30 p.m.

Observation Location: conservation land near Lakeview & Morse Streets

Common Name: Orange Virbia Moth

Scientific Name: Virbia aurantiaca

Comments: Some are dusky and some have dots and bands, but all orange virbia moths are some shade of orange and have large, curious eyes, and like typical moths they have prominent antennae.

More Information: insectidentification.org

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/1/14

Observation Time: 12:25 p.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Rd.

Common Name: Orchard Orbweaver

Scientific Name: Leucauge venusta

Comments: I had a hard time focusing the camera on this tiny spider.

More Information: Wikipedia

Orchard Orbweaver

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/27/19

Observation Time: 2:20 p.m.

Observation Location: Conservation land near Morse & Lakeview

Common Name: Orchard Orbweaver spider

Scientific Name: Leucauge venusta

Comments: I had a hard time focusing the camera on this tiny spider and its gossamer web.

More Information: North of the Ridge

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 10/5/12

Observation Time: 3:55 p.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Painted Lady butterfly

Scientific Name: Vanessa cardui

Comments: The Painted Lady has four small spots on the undersides of its hind wings, whereas the American Lady has two large spots. Otherwise they look very similar.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Painted Lady Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/5/12

Observation Time: 6:15 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road near Well #5

Common Name: Painted Lady butterfly

Scientific Name: Vanessa cardui

Comments: This Painted Lady butterfly was feeding in the same flowering shrub with American Lady butterflies. Learn how to tell them apart at: https://bugguide.net/node/view/236368

More Information: massaudubon.org

Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly

Painted Lady Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/1/19

Observation Time: 4:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Trustees of Reservations’ Moose Hill Farm

Common Name: Painted Lady butterfly

Scientific Name: Vanessa cardui

Comments: The Painted Lady has four small spots on the undersides of its hind wings, whereas the American Lady has two large spots. Otherwise they look very similar.

This one was feeding on milkweed blossoms.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/21/19

Observation Time: 12:15 p.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Painted Skimmer dragonfly

Scientific Name: Libellula semifasciata

Comments: Painted Skimmers live up to their name, and the wings especially glow with color. A rich brown, the thorax has two whitish to yellow diagonal stripes on each side. The abdomen has yellow edges and a jagged black central stripe on the last few segments. The wings are marked with a brown streak at the base and brown spots at the middle and near the end. The veins along the front of each wing and at the base of the hindwings are largely yellow.

Painted Skimmer dragonflies are considered to be migratory. Some Painted Skimmers appear in spring in the northern states and extreme southern Canada before they would have emerged locally, presumably migrants. They have also been observed in autumn along the northeast coast in apparent directional flight.

More Information: Migratory Dragonfly Partnership

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/27/19

Observation Time: 5:00 p.m.

Observation Location: on a bluff under high tension wires near S. Walpole St.

Common Name: Painted Skimmer dragonfly

Scientific Name: Libellula semifasciata

Comments: Painted Skimmers live up to their name, and the wings especially glow with color. A rich brown, the thorax has two whitish to yellow diagonal stripes on each side. The abdomen has yellow edges and a jagged black central stripe on the last few segments. The wings are marked with a brown streak at the base and brown spots at the middle and near the end. The veins along the front of each wing and at the base of the hindwings are largely yellow.

Painted Skimmer dragonflies are considered to be migratory. Some Painted Skimmers appear in spring in the northern states and extreme southern Canada before they would have emerged locally, presumably migrants. They have also been observed in autumn along the northeast coast in apparent directional flight.

More Information: Migratory Dragonfly Partnership

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/9/13

Observation Time: 3:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond area

Common Name: Painted Skimmer dragonfly

Scientific Name: Libellula semifasciata

Comments: This dragonfly is said to be uncommon, although it is not listed as such in Massachusetts.

More Information: iNaturalist

Painted Skimmer Dragonfly

Painted Skimmer Dragonfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/9/12

Observation Time: 3:15 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond area

Common Name: Painted Skimmer dragonfly (female)

Scientific Name: Libellula semifasciata

Comments: This dragonfly is said to be uncommon, although it is not listed as such in Massachusetts. A map showing Painted Skimmer sightings can be viewed at: https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/104585-Libellula-semifasciata

More Information: Walter Sanford’s Photoblog

Painted Skimmer ovipositing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_XyMkvXtfI

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/13/11

Observation Time: 2:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond soccer field parking lot

Common Name: Pearl Crescent butterflies

Scientific Name: Phyciodes tharos

Comments: Here is a sequence of four photos, taken over a span of just a few minutes, of a pair of Pearl Crescent butterflies mating near the Gavins Pond soccer field parking lot.

I was walking on my way to get the stream gauge reading at the Gavins Pond dam when I first spotted them flying erratically. The smaller male was pursuing the bigger female. When they alit, I got out my camera, approached quietly, and started shooting.

More Information: Wikipedia

Pearl Crescent Butterflies

Pearl Crescent Butterflies

Pearl Crescent Butterflies

Pearl Crescent Butterflies

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/19/20

Observation Time: 10:20 a.m.

Observation Location: under high tension lines near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Pearl Crescent butterfly

Scientific Name: Phyciodes tharos

Comments: Adults find nectar from a great variety of flowers including dogbane, swamp milkweed, shepherd’s needle, asters, and winter cress. Males patrol open areas for females. The eggs are laid in small batches on the underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat the leaves and are gregarious when young. Hibernation is by third-stage caterpillars.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/21/14

Observation Time: 1:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Dam

Common Name: Pearl Crescent butterfly

Scientific Name: Phyciodes tharos

Comments: Adults find nectar from a great variety of flowers including dogbane, swamp milkweed, shepherd’s needle, asters, and winter cress. Males patrol open areas for females. The eggs are laid in small batches on the underside of host plant leaves. Caterpillars eat the leaves and are gregarious when young. Hibernation is by third-stage caterpillars.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/30/10

Observation Time: 4:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Common Name: Pearl Crescent butterfly

Scientific Name: Phyciodes tharos

Comments: The pearl crescent (Phyciodes tharos) is a butterfly of North America. It is found in all parts of the United States except the west coast, and throughout Mexico and parts of southern Canada, in particular Ontario. Its habitat is open areas such as pastures, road edges, vacant lots, fields, open pine woods. Its pattern is quite variable. Males usually have black antenna knobs.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Pearl Crescent Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/25/10

Observation Time: 10:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Peck’s Skipper butterfly

Scientific Name: Polites peckius

Comments: Flies from June through early August on flowers, at roadsides, wet meadows, and in gardens. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polites_peckius

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Peck's Skipper Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/20/10

Observation Time: 7:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road soccer field parking lot

Common Name: Polyphemus Moth (wing only)

Scientific Name: Antheraea polyphemus

Comments: A few years ago, I saw a dead luna moth in the same area. Both polyphemus moths and luna moths are truly spectacular.

More Information: Auburn University

Polyphemus Moth (Wing Only)

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 8/16/20

Observation Time: 9:50 a.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Rd.

Common Name: Porcelain Gray Moth

Scientific Name: Protoboarmia porcelaria

Comments: This is a type of geometer moth. This individual was resting on my window in the morning.

Moths are typically nocturnal. One way to attract moths on a summer night is to hang a white sheet and put a light behind it.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 10/8/08

Observation Time: 11:20 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road backyard

Common Name: Praying Mantis

Scientific Name: Mantis religiosa

Comments: Check out this enormous praying mantis I found in my raspberry patch today. It’s about 5 inches long. I wonder if it descended from the praying mantis egg cases we mail-ordered a few years ago to help control insect pests in our garden.

Mantises are ambush predators that only feed upon live prey within their reach. They either camouflage themselves and remain stationary, waiting for prey to approach, or stalk their prey with slow, stealthy movements. Larger mantises sometimes eat smaller individuals of their own species, as well as small vertebrates such as lizards, frogs, and even small birds.

More Information: Wikipedia

Praying Mantis

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/30/13

Observation Time: 5:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road backyard

Common Name: Praying Mantis

Scientific Name: Mantis religiosa

Comments: This insect looks like it is praying, hence the name. It can swivel its head 180° to look for prey.

More Information: Wikipedia

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/14/14

Observation Time: 10:00 a.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Rd.

Common Name: Praying Mantis

Scientific Name: Mantis religiosa

Comments: This praying mantis was almost 4″ long. It could be a descendant of praying mantises that hatched from eggs we mail-ordered and released in our garden years previously.

More Information: Praying mantis love-making

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/4/20

Observation Time: 12:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm (TTOR)

Common Name: Praying Mantis

Scientific Name: Mantis religiosa

Comments: Mantises are the only insects capable of turning their heads from side to side. Being able to turn its head without moving the rest of its body is a key advantage for a mantis when hunting, allowing for minimal movement as it sneaks up on prey.

More Information: Treehugger

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/4/20

Observation Time:  1:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill Farm (TTOR)

Common Name: Pure Gold-Green Sweat Bee

Scientific Name: Augochlora pura

Comments: The pure gold-green sweat bee is a solitary sweat bee native to the eastern United States with striking green iridescence. This species is an important native pollinator in eastern deciduous forests and other habitats. It emerges in spring and remains active throughout the summer and early fall. As the common name of this group suggests, sweat bees are attracted to human sweat, which they lick to consume salts.

The specimen in the photos was feeding on a whorled wood aster blossom in the woods.

More Information: U. of Florida Featured Creatures

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/29/11

Observation Time: 11:30 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Question Mark butterfly

Scientific Name: Polygonia interrogationis

Comments: There’s a similar Eastern Comma butterfly that is also found in Sharon.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Question Mark Butterfly

Question Mark Butterfly

Question Mark Butterfly

Question Mark Butterfly

Question Mark Butterfly

Question Mark Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/31/12

Observation Time: 11:45 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road (bridge near soccer fields)

Common Name: Question Mark butterfly chrysalis

Scientific Name: Polygonia interrogationis

Comments: This is the chrysalis of a Question Mark butterfly. They have a white mark on each wing that looks like a question mark. See photos of an adult Question Mark Butterfly. The root “interrogation” is apparent in the scientific name “interrogationis” and relates to the odd white question mark on its wing.

More Information: Wikipedia

Question Mark Butterfly Chrysalis

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/24/14

Observation Time: 11:20 a.m.

Observation Place: TTOR’s Moose Hill Farm (formerly the Kendall Estate)

Common Name: Rabid Wolf Spider

Scientific Name: Rabidosa rabida

Comments: This species doesn’t build webs to catch prey. Instead, they ambush or chase their prey at night. They then wrap their prey in silk. Note the egg sac in the photo below, which was taken in late September.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/11/12

Observation Time: 5:15 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road area

Common Name: Red Admiral butterfly

Scientific Name: Vanessa atalanta

Comments: Several of these Red Admirals were chasing after each other in a sunny clearing along a wooded dirt road near Gavins Pond.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Red Admiral Butterfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/19/19

Observation Time: 3:08 p.m.

Observation Location: Billings Loop Botanical Trail

Common Name: Red Admiral butterfly

Scientific Name: Vanessa atalanta

Comments: Mating usually occurs in late fall or early winter following collective migration to southern regions with a warmer climate. The red admiral’s main host plant, stinging nettle, is most abundant during this migration. Larval development proceeds through winter and adults are first sighted in early spring. The new generation of adults migrates north before mating, because food is usually diminished by late spring. During migration, the red admiral flies at high altitudes where high-speed winds carry the butterfly, requiring less energy.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/7/11

Observation Time: 11:40 a.m.

Observation Location: 4 Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Red Admiral butterfly

Scientific Name: Vanessa atalanta

Comments: Red Admirals prefer sap flows on trees, fermenting fruit, and bird droppings; visiting flowers only when these are not available. Then they will nectar at common milkweed, red clover, aster, and alfalfa, among others.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Red Admiral Butterfly

 

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/15/12

Observation Time: 4:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road – soccer field parking lot

Common Name: Red Milkweed Beetle

Scientific Name: Tetraopes tetrophthalmus

Comments: This striking red beetle was crawling on a milkweed leaf. Its scientific name means “four eyes” because of its black spots that look like eyes.

More Information: BugGuide

Red Milkweed Beetle

Red Milkweed Beetle

Red Milkweed Beetle

Red Milkweed Beetle

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 9/9/13

Observation Time: 2:35 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond area

Common Name: Red-banded Sand Wasp

Scientific Name: Ammophila sabulosa

Comments: The female red-banded sand wasp first excavates a nest for her larva. After that she hunts a caterpillar, often a moth caterpillar. She then paralyses the caterpillar, but the caterpillar remains alive. Then she carries the caterpillar to the nest. She deposits an egg on the caterpillar. The larva of the wasp develops rapidly. It reaches full size after just 10 days. (Source: Jiri Zahradnik “Bees and Wasps”)

More Information: Wasps

Red-Banded Sand Wasp

Red-Banded Sand Wasp

Observer: Josh Simons

Observation Date: 6/14/20

Observation Time: 4:00 p.m.

Observation Location: Moose Hill area

Common Name: Red-spotted Admiral (or red-spotted purple) butterfly

Scientific Name: Limenitis arthemis astyanax

Comments:

The red-spotted purple butterfly is the same species as the white admiral butterfly. It is a North American species in the genus Limenitis. It has been studied for its evolution of mimicry, and for the several stable hybrid wing patterns within this nominal species; it is one of the most dramatic examples of hybridization between non-mimetic and mimetic populations.

L. arthemis can be split into two major groups, mainly based on one physical characteristic: the presence or absence of a white band along the wings. Individuals of the northern group, called white admirals, have a conspicuous white band that traverse both the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the wing, while those of the southern group, called red-spotted purples, lack that trait as they have evolved to mimic the poisonous pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor). Due to overlap in distribution among the two major groups, subspecies are numerous as hybridization occurs frequently.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/24/12

Observation Time: 8:20 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond area

Common Name: Red-spotted Purple butterfly

Scientific Name: Limenitis arthemis astyanax

Comments:

The red-spotted purple butterfly is the same species as the white admiral butterfly. It is a North American species in the cosmopolitan genus Limenitis. It has been studied for its evolution of mimicry, and for the several stable hybrid wing patterns within this nominal species; it is one of the most dramatic examples of hybridization between non-mimetic and mimetic populations.

L. arthemis can be split into two major groups, mainly based on one physical characteristic: the presence or absence of a white band along the wings. Individuals of the northern group, called white admirals, have a conspicuous white band that traverse both the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the wing, while those of the southern group, called red-spotted purples, lack that trait as they have evolved to mimic the poisonous pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor). Due to overlap in distribution among the two major groups, subspecies are numerous as hybridization occurs frequently.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/5/11

Observation Time: 4:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Kendall estate, Moose Hill Street

Common Name: Red-spotted Purple butterfly

Scientific Name: Limenitis arthemis astyanax

Comments:

The red-spotted purple butterfly is the same species as the white admiral butterfly. It is a North American species in the cosmopolitan genus Limenitis. It has been studied for its evolution of mimicry, and for the several stable hybrid wing patterns within this nominal species; it is one of the most dramatic examples of hybridization between non-mimetic and mimetic populations.

L. arthemis can be split into two major groups, mainly based on one physical characteristic: the presence or absence of a white band along the wings. Individuals of the northern group, called white admirals, have a conspicuous white band that traverse both the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the wing, while those of the southern group, called red-spotted purples, lack that trait as they have evolved to mimic the poisonous pipevine swallowtail (Battus philenor). Due to overlap in distribution among the two major groups, subspecies are numerous as hybridization occurs frequently.

More Information: Wikipedia

Red-Spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly

Red-Spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly

Red-Spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly

Red-Spotted Purple Admiral Butterfly

Observer: Faith Berkland

Observation Date: 6/6/15

Observation Time: 1:45 p.m.

Observation Location: 302 Mansfield Street

Common Name: Red-Spotted Purple butterfly

Scientific Name: limenitis arthemis

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Red Spotted Purple

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/18/15

Observation Time: 5:10 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Dam

Common Name: Robber fly (male)

Scientific Name: Efferia apicalis

Comments: Robber flies of the genus Efferia are small to large-sized robber flies (10–40 mm) with a distinctly different shape of the posterior end of the abdomen in males versus females. Females have a short or long ovipositor that is hairless and short conical to slender wedge-shaped, its color is usually glossy black. Males (such as the one pictured below) have a “helicopter tail” with glossy black claspers that are covered in hairs, forming part of a complex genital structure (the combined epandrium and hypandrium) that is clearly larger than the abdominal segments and is oriented diagonally to vertically upwards relative to the main body axis.

As is typical for robber flies, adult Efferia are ambush predators, taking off from a resting position on the ground or on a branch to intercept other flying insects in mid-air.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/4/11

Observation Time: 3:15 p.m.

Observation Location: Conservation land near Billings Street

Common Name: Roland’s Sallow Moth (caterpillar)

Scientific Name: Psaphida rolandi

More Information: Bug Guide

Roland's Sallow Moth (Caterpillar)

Roland's Sallow Moth (Caterpillar)

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/26/10

Observation Time: 6:45 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond Road

Common Name: Ruby Meadowhawk dragonfly

Scientific Name: Sympetrum rubicundulum

More Information: Wikipedia

Ruby Meadowhawk Dragonfly

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/9/11

Observation Time: 4:50 p.m.

Observation Location: field near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Saw-wing Moth

Scientific Name: Euchlaena serrata

Comments: This specimen alit on my note pad and posed for the photo. Then it flew off. Yet another example of how you don’t find nature. Nature finds you! So keep that camera or smart phone handy!

More Information: BugGuide

Saw-Wing Moth

Observer: John Baur

Observation Date: 7/1/11

Observation Time: 2:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Borderland State Park

Common Name: Scarlet Bluet

Scientific Name: Enallagma pictum

Comments: This species is listed as threatened by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP).

More Information: MA NHESP

Scarlet Bluet

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/2/20

Observation Time: 1:30 p.m.

Observation Location: Near tennis courts at outbound train station

Common Name: Schlaeger’s fruitworm moth

Scientific Name: Antaeotricha schlaegeri

Comments: The Schlaeger’s fruitworm moth is found in north-eastern North America, south to North Carolina and west to Kansas and Texas.

Adults resemble a bird-dropping. The wingspan is 21–30 mm.

The larvae feed on white oak and related species.

More Information: Wikipedia

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 7/13/13

Observation Time: 10:55 a.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond area

Common Name: Silver-Spotted Skipper butterfly

Scientific Name: Epargyreus clarus

Comments: Adults perch upside down under leaves at night and on hot or cloudy days.

More Information: Butterflies and Moths of North America

Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterfly

Silver-Spotted Skipper Butterfly

 

Back to the Sightings List

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/2/13

Observation Time: 5:50 p.m.

Observation Place: Gavins Pond Dam

Common Name: Six-spotted Fishing Spider

Scientific Name: Dolomedes triton

Comments: Fishing Spiders get their name from their hunting behavior and occasional food source. They are adept at ambushing insects and other food items on land, but they are also able to submerge their bodies just under the surface of calm water and hunt for small fish and tadpoles. The bristly hairs on their body trap air bubbles that they use to breathe while underwater and waiting for something to swim by. They have been known to stay submerged for more than 30 minutes at a time when hunting in water.

More Information: iNaturalist

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/30/14

Observation Time: 12:10

Observation Location: Power lines near Walpole St.

Common Name: Six-spotted tiger beetle

Scientific Name: Cicindela sexguttata

Comments: Female six-spotted tiger beetles lay eggs in sandy patches. When they hatch, the larvae burrow into the ground. The larvae lie in wait until small arthropods walk by. Then they pounce much like a jack in the box. The larvae pupate after a year. Six-spotted tiger beetles have a total lifespan of about five years.

More Information: Tiger Beetle

Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle

Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle

Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/2/19

Observation Time: 12:10

Observation Location: beneath the power lines that parallel So. Walpole St.

Common Name: Six-spotted tiger beetle

Scientific Name: Cicindela sexguttata

Comments: Female six-spotted tiger beetles lay eggs in sandy patches. When they hatch, the larvae burrow into the ground. The larvae lie in wait until small arthropods walk by. Then they pounce much like a jack in the box. The larvae pupate after a year. Six-spotted tiger beetles have a total lifespan of about five years.

More Information: Tiger Beetle

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 6/2/11

Observation Time: 2:50 p.m.

Observation Location: Gavins Pond

Common Name: Slaty Skimmer dragonfly

Scientific Name: Libellula incesta

Comments: The first photo is a female. The second is a male.

Watch this video of the slaty skimmer dragonfly as it oviposits at Gavins Pond.

More Photos: Odonata.bogfoot.net

Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly

Slaty Skimmer Dragonfly