We saw several common species at the University of California Botanical Garden.
Today is our birthday so we decided to go to the University of California Botanical Garden. Also, admission was free today.
The first thing that we saw there were pipevine swallowtails (Battus philenor hirsuta). We had thought that the botanical garden at Tilden was pretty crazy but this place was even more crazy, which is especially surprising considering that the first large flight is over. We probably saw dozens of them in just a few hours. Most of those that we saw were males, but there were definitely still a females. The funny thing was that we could barely find any pipevine (Aristolochia californica), except for a few new plants. And on these, we only found a single instar larva and no eggs. Interestingly, there was a humongous Aristolochia macrophylla but it didn't have any inhabitants in any form.
We also saw a few other butterflies like western tigers (Papilio rutulus). Unfortunately they were all males from what we saw, and there weren't a whole lot of host plants there. It would have been illegal to catch anything there anyway. We also saw a male pale swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon) as detailed here and the following nymphalid that we can't identify.
We also saw this hopper that darted out when we stepped near it. It is a pallid-winged grasshopper (Trimerotropis pallidipennis) which are extremely common in our region.
While picking leaves for our caterpillars, we came across a pallid-winged grasshopper (Trimerotropis pallidipennis) on the sidewalk.
We see a least a few of these pallid-winged grasshoppers every year here in late Spring/early Summer. They are quite common, usually encountered on the ground both in the city and in undisturbed areas like under the subway tracks or along Cerrito Creek. They are difficult to spot though due to their masterful camouflage and are difficult to catch as they are extremely strong fliers. This one shot off into the air and was never seen again when we took it out to release and photograph.
While we were looking in the grasses on the Ohlone Greenway at Brighton Ave. (Albany, CA), a Pallid-wing Grasshopper (Trimerotropis palladipennis) nymph hopped out in front of us.
All the way back in June of this year, we found an adult female Pallid-wing Grasshopper (Trimertropis palladipennis) around a grassy area near the end of the Ohlone Greenway at Brighton Ave. that we took home but couldn't keep alive. Today, while we were looking for mallows (Malva) to search for West Coast Lady (Vanessa annabella) eggs in the same place that we had found this one, a nymph shot out in front of us as we (literally) stepped upon it. It was a pretty old nymph, probably one or two instars away from adult since it already had small wing buds. Clearly, these grasshoppers breed quite a bit throughout the year.
Even though we have had a bad history with grasshoppers, we caught it. The Devastating Grasshopper (Melanoplus devastator) that we caught back from our yard weeks ago is still doing fine. We decided to put the Pallid-wing nymph in the same enclosure as the Devastator and we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
Unfortunately, the Pallid-wing Grasshopper (Trimerotropis pallidipennis) we caught last Tuesday (6/14) has died like all of the others we have attempted to keep in the past, despite our efforts.
When we caught this year's first Pallid-wing Grasshopper (Trimerotropis pallidipennis), we didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into. At the time the mentality was simply "catch it first and then think about what to do". Not very smart considering we have never been able to successfully keep these grasshoppers in the past.
After we had caught it and set up a rearing enclosure (described here), it was really a game of sit and wait to see what happens. We had no idea whether it would even eat the dry grasses we gave it. But after a few days, it became pretty obvious that it was not having a good time in our home and it had only nibbled a few chunks out of the grass.
Out of desperation (and pure curiosity, admittedly), we decided to try force feeding it some stuff. The things had a big head and monstrous jaws like most Orthoptera and it was not terribly difficult to open them up and stuff some food in. First, because we had seen our katydids gobble up Drosophila hydei fruitflies (here and here), we decided to give it mouthful of these flies. When this didn't seem to work, we figured it might like some fruit instead. Fruit is easier to force feed anyway, since it is mostly liquid. On our way back from the Ohlone Greenway, we had picked a very ripe plum which is what we used here. To our dismay (though we weren't completely surprised), the grasshopper didn't really have a thing for fruit and only sucked up a bit of the juice to prevent itself from suffocating in the sticky stuff. I know, it was pretty cruel.
Anyway, after failing to feed it properly for over a week, we weren't sure that it was doing very well. Well. . . obviously it must of not because it died today. It was just sitting at the bottom of the container, completely limp and utterly lifeless. No injuries whatsoever -- it probably just died from stress and not eating. I guess we owe it an apology.
Today as we were foraging for Anise Swallowtail eggs (Papilio zelicaon) on the Ohlone Greenway at Brighton Ave., we happened to also find and capture a Pallid-wing Grasshopper (Trimerotropis pallidipennis).
Pallid-wing grasshoppers (Trimerotropis pallidipennis) are very common here in Albany. We have seen them hopping around during the summer time for as long as we can remember. Naturally, they can be found inhabiting very dry, sunny areas in places where there is a lot of dry grass and such where they are very cryptic with their brown coloration. They are pretty typical grasshoppers.
Today, we happened to find an adult female Pallid wing grasshopper while we were looking for Anise Swallowtail eggs (Papilio zelicaon) under the BART tracks near the far end of the Ohlone Greenway at Brighton Ave. (near the El Cerrito BART station). We found it in a very open little landing area at the bottom of the elevated walkway of the Ohlone Greenway trail where there was some really dry looking mud and little shrubs (including a bit of wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), an Anise host plant, of course). It was extremely easy to catch even using just a small petri dish since it was loosing one of its hind legs that it uses to hop with. I suppose we should count ourselves pretty lucky at that since, unlike the somewhat delicate bush katydids, these things are incredibly powerful and fast hoppers.
When we took the grasshopper home, we were kind of stumped as to what to do with it. In the past when we have tried to rear them, they have always ended up dying because we could not figure out what food they prefer and could not get them to eat. Their habitat is also tricky and they don't seem too content to just be sitting in an otherwise empty plastic container. Eventually, we decided to get a little container, filled it up with mud (we also hoped that it might oviposit for us in the mud, but that's a pretty far stretch), and topped it with some dry grasses.
As of now, it hasn't eaten anything and doesn't seem especially happy in its new home, but we will see if we can get it to survive in captivity. And maybe force feed it if necessary. . .
This timeline is a series of daily posts recording our observations on and experiences with various insects in Albany California and surrounding areas, from 2012-2017. Since we did not publish this site until 2016, posts before that were constructed retroactively. Starting in August 2017, we moved to Ithaca, New York; posts from there on can be viewed at Timeline 2017-present: Ithaca, New York.
August 2017 (49)
July 2017 (121)
June 2017 (79)
May 2017 (77)
April 2017 (91)
March 2017 (35)
February 2017 (12)
January 2017 (10)
December 2016 (12)
November 2016 (26)
October 2016 (49)
September 2016 (84)
August 2016 (94)
July 2016 (99)
June 2016 (53)
May 2016 (21)
April 2016 (4)
January 2016 (1)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (3)
June 2015 (2)
June 2014 (3)
May 2014 (1)
April 2014 (3)
March 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (5)
September 2013 (11)
August 2013 (15)
July 2013 (9)
June 2013 (5)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (2)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (2)
December 2012 (2)
November 2012 (1)
October 2012 (2)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (1)
June 2012 (1)
Full Species List
(Alphabetical by scientific name)
- Not every species we encounter is necessarily presented on this site, rather a selection of those that were of particular interest to us and that we felt were worth documenting.
- We can't guarantee that all species have been identified accurately, particularly taxa we are not as familiar with.
Battus philenor hirsuta
Coenonympha tullia california
Langia zenzeroides formosana
Orthosia hibisci quenquefasciata
Papilio machaon oregonius
Papilio polyxenes asterius
Samia cynthia advena
Papilio glaucus × Papilio rutulus
Papilio polyxenes asterius × Papilio zelicaon
Araneae (Class: Arachnida)