We found several interesting insects at Beebe Lake including some orthoperans, lepidopterans, and a cicada's (Hemiptera) cast off cuticle.
Because we need to create a massive insect collection for class, we have been focusing on finding everything we can these days. There are often so many things that we collect on each trip that there is hardly any point of documenting them all, especially if we cannot identify them yet and they are not particularly interesting. With that said, we happened to come across a few creatures at Beebe Lake today that seemed worthy enough to show.
We found several of these conehead katydids (Neoconocephalus sp.; perhaps ensiger based on cone shape), both males and females among tall grasses growing immediately along the edge of the water. These katydids are huge compared to the Scudderia mexicana back at home.
We also saw some of these katydids, which are quite common among grasses and herbaceous plants everywhere and not just by the water. They are also in the Conocephalinae subfamily, in the genus Conocephalus (meadow katydids) though we are not 100% on the species yet.
Tree crickets are also quite common among shrubs and sometimes even on the walls of buildings. They look to be Neoxabea bipunctata, or two-spotted tree crickets. We typically find them on the undersides of the leaves resting because they are nocturnal. On one occasion, we caught one that burst open with parisitoid maggots the next day.
Near the water, at the same place that we found the conehead katydids, we also came across this loose lepidopteran cocoon. We don't have any clue what it could be right now.
There was also this huge cluster of geometrid eggs on a milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) leaf. These are actually very common around here and can be found on many different species of trees and shrubs. They are clearly extremely polyphagous.
At the end of the lake, we found this cicada skin on a tree trunk, still in perfect shape.
We actually found a live cicada a few days ago on August 29 that we will post here out of laziness.
We went hiking at Beebe Lake in Ithaca, New York for the first time and found a handful of species we had never encountered before.
It's been a few days since we posted anything because we have been so busy moving in to our new home in Ithaca, New York. And because we haven't had any insects on us.
Today we finally got the chance to go out and get our feet wet again. Cornell University is a huge place known for its natural beauty; there are plenty of natural areas to explore. The first place we went was Beebe Lake, which is the closest place to our dorm. There is a trail that circles the lake covered in trees and wild flower nectar plants.
The first things that we photographed were least skippers (Ancyloxypha numitor) which is eerily similar yet completely different that any of the grass skippers we had back in California. The least skippers are very small with long and skinny bodies, which is the complete opposite of the extremely heavyset Californian skippers. This seems to be a common trend when comparing the butterflies of the two regions. We saw at least three of the least skippers circling a patch of wild grass that were most likely females or males looking to court females. We expected there to be eggs, but did not find any; instead, we discovered a first instar larva rolled up in a nest. The way that the nest was fashioned (a few separate white strands going from one side of the blade to the other) and the appearance of the larva is all very similar to the umber skippers (Poanes melane) that we have reared in the past.
Although less common than the skippers, we did come across a few hairstreaks, including this eastern-tailed blue (Cupido comyntas). At least that's what we think it is.
Another common skipper we found was the silver-spotted (Epargyreus clarus). These things are huge--much larger than any skipper we have ever seen—and quite attractive. The larvae also look amazing and feed on locusts, such as the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) that is everywhere on campus. We hope to find some one day.
Right next to the skipper above, we found a duo of mating hoppers. We believe they are red-legged grasshoppers (Melanoplus femurrubrum), which makes them in the same (huge orthopteran) genus as the devastators (Melanoplus devastator) that we had back in California. The trail actually seems to be thoroughly invested with these grasshoppers and other orthoperans (we hear a ton of chirping in the night and throughout the day). There are some large grey ones that are extremely strong flyers. Their wings are black with white margins when spread. They should be the Carolina grasshopper (Dissosteira carolina).
When we made it half way through the trail and decided to head backwards, we found a young tussock moth larva that must of had fallen from a nearby tree. We took a guess and put it on a black walnut (Juglans nigra). We believe the larva could be the white-marked tussock (Orgyia leucostigma), also placing it in the same genus to the species we had in California (western tussock [Orgyia vetusta]).
Ithaca, New York
This timeline is a series of daily posts recording our observations and experiences with various insects around the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York, starting from the time we moved here in 2017. As this is a personal blog, we try to keep collections for our entomology course work to a minimum, and mainly focus on just the species we catch and raise for our own fun and interest. Posts prior to this time can be viewed at Timeline 2012-2017: Albany, California.
June 2018 (2)
May 2018 (17)
April 2018 (2)
January 2018 (2)
December 2017 (8)
November 2017 (1)
October 2017 (5)
September 2017 (25)
August 2017 (18)
Full Species List
(Alphabetical by scientific name)
Papilio polyxenes asterius × Papilio zelicaon
Full Species List
(Alphabetical by scientific name)
Butterflies & Moths
Common checkerspot skipper
Great spangled fritillary
Milkweed tussock moth
Salt marsh moth
Virginia creeper sphinx
Western tiger swallowtail
White-marked tussock moth
Butterfly & Moth Hybrids
Black swallowtail × anise swallowtail
Grasshoppers, Katydids, & Crickets
Carolina band-winged grasshopper
Lesser meadow katydid
Sword-bearing conehead katydid
Two-spotted tree cricket
Cornell Botanic Gardens
Mundy Wildflower Garden
Albany, California Updates