The butterfly counts not months, but moments, and has time enough.
Monarch butterfly shortly after emergence from its chrysalis (click photos to enlarge)
Last week was a busy one (actually, aren’t they all) at work with getting everything back out after the hurricane and preparing for and delivering several programs. And yet, it was still a week full of natural history highlights, brief moments when the beauty and mystery that surrounds us reveals itself and I take a moment to pause and wonder. Here are a few of those moments…
One of the horticulture staff spotted this female marbled salamander (females have gray markings, males have white ones) among the soil around some plants in the Display Gardens. She will be laying eggs soon in a wetland depression and will guard them until rains fill the pool.
Seed pods of Hearts-a-bustin, Euonymus americanus, one of my favorite native shrubs of autumn.
A purple-crested slug moth caterpillar (Adoneta spinuloides) that has recently molted.
I did a lunchbox talk at the Garden last week on one of my favorite topics, caterpillars. So, in spite of the postponement of the museum’s BugFest event due to the hurricane, Melissa and I were still able to go out one evening and collect a few for my talk (sounds like the prefect date night, doesn’t it).
This larva has fallen victim to a wasp parasitoid. The white silky blob beneath the caterpillar are the wasp cocoons. One study estimated that 10 to 25% of all last instar caterpillars are parasitized by wasp or fly parasitoids.
The day after my caterpillar program we discovered this group of turbulent phosphila moth larvae feeding on their host plant, greenbrier. It can be hard to tell which end is which on this gregarious feeder.
Certainly one of the stranger-looking groups of moths, the plume moths, resemble tiny gliders.
The week ended rather poorly for this male carpenter bee that was prey for this Chinese mantis.
Fall is just around the corner when the goldenrods (Solidgo sp.) are in bloom.
Be sure to take the time to find some moments in your week ahead.