Here’s a snow midge I found a few days ago at Hildacy Farm Preserve. I’m not positive about the species, but perhaps Diamesa nivoriunda. I only saw one, but related members of the genus are reported to swarm during the winter.
What I’d love to know is why the halteres are yellow. They seem to be yellow on majority of diptera I’ve seen, and I’ve never stumbled onto a paper discussing why that is. All I could find was the sentence “Haltere color is often used to distinguish between species” in a Drosophila book .” If you know of a paper, please send link ASAP. Am dying of curiosity.
Posted in Biology, Photography
Tagged Chironomidae, cold, Diamesa, Diamesa nivoriunda, Diamesinae, diptera, female, fly, hildacy farm, insect, keel, keeled, midge, pennsylvania, snow, snow midge, winter
Some photographs of me donating blood. The first is, I think, an Asian rock pool mosquito (Ochlerotatus japonicus japonicus; formerly known as Aedes japonicus japonicus). The second is an Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). Introduced to New Jersey in 1998 and Texas in 1985, respectively. Both photographs were taken in Pennsylvania.
Posted in Biology, Photography
Tagged Aedes, Aedes albopictus, Aedes japonicus, Asian rock pool mosquito, Asian tiger mosquito, blood, blood meal, diptera, disease, engorged, female, insect, mosquito, Ochlerotatus japonicus, transmission, vector, virus, West Nile virus, Ziki
I LOVE this clearwing moth. The raspberry crown borer (Pennisetia marginata) is a Batesian mimic of (I think) Vespula maculifrons and V. pensylvanica, our native yellow jackets. If you’re mildly impressed by the resemblance, you should see them in flight or walking around a leaf. They have completely nailed the cocky, jerky yellow jacket attitude. I can’t seem to find a video to link to, but this is a related species. If you live near a big patch of raspberry or blackberry, go look for them right now … they are out mating and laying eggs.
Posted in Biology, Gardening, Photography, Science
Tagged Batesian mimicry, blackberry, blackberry clearwing borer, caneberry, female, lepidoptera, mimic, Pennisetia marginata, pest, raspberry, raspberry crown borer, sesiidae, Vespula, wasp, yellow jacket, yellowjacket
Here’s a female white-footed mosquito (Psorophora ferox) that I photographed at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge in Tinicum, Pennsylvania. I’m not a mosquito expert, so my ID is a guess based on its green eyes and purple coloration. That’s a terrible way to identify a mosquito, I’m sure. It’s a female because the antennae are not especially fluffy Males have massive, bushy antennae for sensing the wingbeat noise that females make, which is at a higher frequency than that of males. I’m posting this photograph because it’s National Pollinator Week and few people appreciate the pollination that mosquitoes perform. But we could kill them all and we’d be fine, I’m sure.
Mating pairs of red milkweed beetles (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) are not rare (they can couple for hours at a time), but I thought this couple looked cute, in a worried sort of way. The half-lidded expression is because their compound eyes are bisected by their antennae. Beautiful beetles.
Posted in Biology, Education, Photography
Tagged antennae, aposematic, Asclepias, Asclepias syriaca, beetle, black spots, cerambycidae, coleoptera, compound eyes, copulating, copulation, female, Hildacy Farms, insect, male, mating, media, natural lands trust, pennsylvania, red, red milkweed beetle, Tetraopes tetrophthalmus