Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Goldenrods, Asters, a thistle and some bugs!

The halcyon days of early autumn have yielded many delightful hours in the field. Here are a few recent photos. Please help identify the bugs!

Fen Thistle, Cirsium muticum, looking like a fireworks display, only cleaner, quieter, and far better-smelling. Have you experienced the tactile wonder of the involucre on this plant?
Riddell's Goldenrod, Solidago riddellii, with a Buckeye butterfly. This is one of the few butterflies that will hold still for a photo.
Riddell's Goldenrod, Solidago riddellii, with what appears to be a Chinese Mantid eating a hornet. It's a gruesome spectacle as that thing has a bunch of mouthparts wiggling around as it aggressively devours its prey.

Shining Aster, Aster puniceus var. firmus with some unknown bug wearing an elegant fur coat. PETA would be outraged.

Shining Aster, Aster puniceus var. firmus, with what appears to be an American Hover Fly.

Fen Thistle, Cirsium muticum, with a Silver Spotted Skipper.

"I leave the towns behind and I am lost in some boundless heath, and life becomes gradually more tolerable, if not even glorious." Henry David Thoreau


Scott Namestnik said...

Nice photos, Keith!

Common Buckeyes are interesting butterflies. From what I understand, they are typically more southern, but they have erruption years when they are more common further north. If that's the case, this is truly one of those years, as I've seen them everywhere this year.

Could your unknown bug on Aster puniceus var. firmus possibly be a robber fly in the genus Laphria? Just a guess.

As Justin can attest, while sampling Chilton Creek in Missouri, we were often watched intently by "The Observer." We were sure it was an alien, not an insect. Lo and behold, it turns out it was a hover fly. They are quite fun to watch.

Justin R. Thomas said...

You'd better watch your back, Namestnik. They're listening.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Namestnik, we are in fact watching you...

Scott Namestnik said...

Oh, crap!