Acutalis tartarea (Treehopper)

This strange little beastie does not have a common name, alas, although I’ve seen it on Project Noah as “Black-veined treehopper”, which works. It is notable for its bright green abdomen, black “painted” lines along the wing veins, partially clear wings, and a wide, dark brown “stripe” on the pronotum. The pattern of coloration varies…

Pennsylvania Flea Beetle

Flea beetles (as you may guess after seeing those big, folded, hoppy hind legs) are known for their prodigious jump. In general, they aggravate gardeners by making holes in leaves. This particular species, the Pennsylvania flea beetle (Disonycha pensylvanica) however, prefers wetland areas and not eating human crops. This ~5mm beetle has a black head,…

Dot-lined White Moth

I regret that I do not (yet) have any photos of the adult moth (Artace cribrarius), mostly because it strongly resembles a stuffed animal, but please enjoy these fascinating pictures of the A. cribrarius caterpillar, a very well-camouflaged caterpillar which appears to resemble the bark of a birch tree, complete with nifty “fringe of sublateral…

Clastoptera querci

Spittlebugs are related to leafhoppers and other tiny, hopping insects which suck juices out of plants. Spittlebugs are unique in that they hide in little white frothy clouds of “spit” (hence the name) as nymphs. (It’s not actually spit. It’s actually secreted from the, um, other end of the insect.) Adult spittlebugs do not hide…

Melanoliarus sp. Planthopper

It’s hard to tell scale in macro photography, but this planthopper was relatively huge — almost 1 cm — and was very patient while I got some gorgeous photos. Melanoliarus has about 48 species in North America, and they can only be firmly identified by looking at the genitals of the males, so Melanoliarus sp….

Flat-Faced Longhorn Beetle (Ecyrus dasycerus)

I’ve found a few of these strange little gray beetles in this odd position — with their antennae folded back, their front half braced on the top of the boardwalk railing and their back half dangling off the side — and I wonder if they aren’t just doing their best to pretend to be part…

Brazilian leafhopper

This glorious little yellow leafhopper, with its brown and white spots, was all of 4mm long, and sitting on the leaf of a sunflower (you can just see the little hairs on the leaf’s surface in the photo), waving gently back and forth in the wind. This did not make it easy to get a…

Tree Cattle (Cerastipsocus venosus)

These delicate, ephemeral little black “flies”, about 6-8mm long, are actually bark lice — Cerastipsocus venosus — with the appallingly banal common name of tree cattle. (They actually share this common name with a number of other species of bark lice.) Both adults and nymphs of C. venosus form crazy-large groups (like herds of cattle,…

Cryptotermes cavifrons

This gorgeous little fairy-like insect is, tragically, a termite, a rather unfortunate insect to find in my backyard. I can only hope that one of my native population of anoles later made itself a snack after I let this pestiferous creature go on about its way. (I try to always properly thank my photo subjects.)…

Monarch Butterfly

Butterflies are hard to catch with my usual rig — you have to get very close and most butterflies won’t tolerate that, monarch included. This lovely female monarch (Danaus plexippus) was kind enough to let me try out my new iPhone 12 Pro Max on her — she’ll have to be my representative of an…

Myrmex Floridanus

This handsome little black weevil (about 5mm long), with white setae and a white stripe along the outer edge of the elytra is Myrmex floridanus, without a common name. As you may guess from the lack of a common name, this poor little dude has Wikipedia Stub Syndrome. Weevils in general are vegetarians, sometimes to…

Ambiguous Moth

The ambiguous moth! This delightfully-named little moth may well become my spirit animal. About 2cm across, this tiny brown moth, resembling a very small leaf with a rhinoceros horn, is in the family Erebdiae, the litter moths. Litter moths are named because many of their caterpillars feed on dead plant matter. Adults come in a…

Southern Armyworm Moth

This tiny (8mm) little friend was making him/herself at home on one of my baby sunflowers, and unfortunately had to be (humanely) relocated to other green stuff a distance away. Southern armyworm caterpillars are blackish green to green with a uniform light brown or orange head; otherwise they are quite variable in appearance. There is…

Saddled Prominent Moth

Meet the caterpillar of the saddled prominent moth, Heterocampa guttivitta. This spectacular, bright green caterpillar is speckled with red spots, and has longitudinal yellow stripes, and a huge, flat, almond-shaped head with black, red, and yellow stripes. Apparently the defining characteristic here is the two red and yellow horns, or warts, at the back of…

Plain Red-Brown Long Horn Sedge

I’m proud of this identification. This insect looks very much like a moth, except for one thing — there appears to be an extra antenna, or possibly an extra leg, kind of furry, under its head. I had exactly this one photo of it, so I didn’t know if that was a leg, or an…

Soldier Fly (Sargus fasciatus)

This large, strikingly-colored fly (metallic red/purple thorax, striped abdomen, white “racing” stripe and white spot between the eyes) is about 1 cm long. It’s one of many species of soldier flies, in the family Stratiomyidae. I wish I could say more about it, but here is the complete Wikipedia entry (other flies in the family…