Flora and fauna of the Athens County area, and occasionally habitats outside Ohio. Subject matter will consist of both interpretive material and taxonomic issues in plant and animal identification.

Monday, August 20, 2012

French Creek Arthropods

French Creek is part of the Lorain County Metro Parks located in the village of Sheffield. I grew up here, and always find time to explore the area whenever I'm in northern Ohio. This was a quick visit to locate some spiders and insects, like this little moth called the 3-spotted Fillip, Heterophleps triguttaria.

This highly patterned moth is a member of the Tortricidae. The entire family is small, but this guy barely reaches a quarter inch in size. The name is 10 times longer than the moth. I call it the Leopard Leafroller, Dichrorampha leopardana.

This iridescent critter is a Long-legged Fly from the genus Condylostylus. Many members of this family have this metallic look. Their antennae are long when compared to other flies. They sit high up off the ground on their long legs. These are beneficial insects, feeding on midges, mosquitos, and agricultural pests.

There are a number of Green Stink Bug species. This one is bordered by a yellow line, and has banded antennae. Chinavia hilaris is its name. While there are some predacious stink bugs, usually brown, these green ones feed entirely on plant juices.

There were a lot of these green legged, black striped spiders around the woods. This small species is known as the Orchard Spider, Leucauge venusta. The abdomen is very shiny in the light, and often contains a bright orange spot as well. Orchard Spiders tend to build their webs horizontally rather than vertical.

Many of the Orb Weaver spiders have enlarged abdomens. One group has smooth, round, marble shaped bodies. Many others have unorthodox shaped abdomens that end in sharp points. This white bodied one is the Spiny Orb Weaver, Micrathena gracillis.

Spiny Orb Weavers spend much of their time upside down. In this view you can notice the striped body. This species is very abundant right now in just about any woods. Chances are you will run into the large webs well before you even see the spider.

Here is another specimen with a lot more black on it. Spiny Orb Weavers have 10 spines on the abdomen. These large bodied ones are females. They build the webs. Males are smaller and don't show nearly as much of an inflated abdomen as the females.

Here is one of the most common of the Slug Moths, The Saddleback, Acharia stimulea. It's that time of the year to start looking for the Slug caterpillars. Remember, handle these gently or they will sting.

Walking Stick? Preying Mantis? Stilt Bug, Water Measurer, Water Scorpion??? It's actually Emesaya brevipennis. I know, exactly what you were thinking right? In English, it's an Assassin Bug, and specifically a Thread-legged Bug. Their wings are reduced in size, but they can still fly.

The skinny antennae protrude upward from just beyond the eye. Thread-legged Bugs hold their front pair of legs straight out in front of them. These legs are raptorial in design, and have spines like that of Mantids. They are predacious, feeding on smaller insects.

These pictures were taken in a bottomland hardwood forest. Having just learned a new grass here in S.E. Ohio, the Riparian Rye, I thought I'd take a picture of it further north. It turns out I'm told, that this is a common hybrid between Canadian Wild Rye and Riparian Rye. Maybe this is why I don't do grasses.  It's been two years since I did a post on grasses, but stay tuned next month for (hopefully) another batch of new species.

1 comment:

  1. That's a great shot of the thread legged bug, beautiful! I was so excited when I first found one, they're so interesting. Just another part of the huge morphological diversity within the assassin bugs.