Water mites are common – abundant – denizens of shallow, quiet ponds, and a few species have adapted to life in rivers and streams. They’re everywhere except Antarctica, in tree holes, deep lakes, bogs, hot springs, rivers, swamps, and marshes. The word “ubiquitous” applies.
Reports from the Field
The BugLady loves standing next to flowers and photographing their visitors. Lots of insects – butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles, flies, and ants – pollinate plants, but some are better at it than others. Bees seem to have been designed to do the job.
Bugs without Bios is dedicated to insects that stay below the radar (our radar, anyway) as they move through the world – they don’t make it into the field guides, and their internet presence is meager.
The BugLady has been stewing about this one for a long time. The flies appear on cue, on mild days in March and April (which they can do because they overwinter as adults). She takes their pictures, gets bogged down identifying them, and files them generically under “bluebottle flies.” The reason for her confusion is that there are similar species in several genera of several subfamilies of the Blow fly family:
This year, the BugLady has decided that it’s time to fish or cut bait, so she’s calling them Black blow flies and getting on with her life.
The BugLady has been enjoying the recent “tropical” temperatures (in the high 40’s) and her thoughts have been turning to butterflies. Someone asked her recently what butterflies might be aloft as spring approaches.
The Olympia Marble (Euchloe olympia), aka Olympian Marble and Olympia Marblewing, is in the family Pieridae (the Whites, Sulphurs, and Yellows). It’s found in a wedge-shaped patch of ground in the middle of North America, plus some disjunct populations in the Appalachians and Texas, and it’s the easternmost of the seven North American Marbles (Wisconsin and Michigan have the greatest numbers of the species). Within its range, it is local and uncommon.
Western Conifer Seed Bugs (Leptoglossus occidentalis) (aka Pine seed bugs) are in the True bug order Hemiptera (“half-wing,” a reference to the two different textures of the front wings and in the Leaf-footed bug family Coreidae, a large family of sometimes-dramatic-looking, sap-sucking insects with pretty cute little nymphs. Coreids produce a buzzing sound in flight and an odor when provoked.
When the BugLady was on Riveredge’s excellent floating pier in the Milwaukee River last spring, she looked over and saw two, spectacular Striped fishing spiders on rocks above the waterline.
This is not your grandfather’s fritillary (unless your grandfather is a Southerner). Gulf Fritillaries are in the Brush-footed butterfly family Nymphalidae, along with a whole bunch of familiar Wisconsin butterflies, and they’re with the fritillaries in the subfamily Heliconiinae (which used to be its own family). But, unlike our familiar fritillaries, they’re in the tribe Heliconiini, aka the Heliconians or Longwings, many of which occur in tropical climes and have long, slim, spectacular wings.