#Project365: May Wild Life

May was a good month to flip open some identification books, open tabs on identification websites, and start labeling organisms.

Some were easy to the species, some I was lucky to have evidence to assign by genus or even subfamily. Some I’ve seen throughout much of my life and everyone seems to know the common names, others are bark beetles (subfamily classification). I selected 10 for this Project365 installment.

In full disclosure, I as of yet do not have a macro lens and will forego the expense of extension tubes and put that funding toward a macro lens. SO much this month I wished I could get closer.

Cardinal Grub
I suppose I thought, “What an odd cardinal. It seems to have some sort of golden marking.” Ha! Silly. Mr Cardinalis cardinalis aka northern cardinal snagged some grub before perching in the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis).

So those two were easy. I merely double checked the scientific names (I tend to switch the sweetgum and sycamore Latin names) and never doubted myself.

White-Tailed Deer Fawn
My neighborhood is white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) friendly. This little guy could not have been born more than a few hours ago as s/he preferred to stand idly than follow mom in a cumbersome fashion.
Bagworm Cocoon
One of my cedar trees had doesn’t of these cocoons. I’ve always found them fascinating because of how well they blend in and are created using parts of the host. However, I finally looked up what they are. The evergreen bagworm moth (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis) can destroy host trees, usually eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) but they aren’t picky. The cocoons may look closed, but most of them were empty. I burnt them anyway.

As I didn’t see the caterpillar or the moth forms, I’m taking the internet’s word on that one. The cocoons are most distinct, and Arkansas lists for insects don’t include other bagworms, so odds are I identified that correctly. I feel like I should get a grade on this….

Asian multicolored ladybug
Run, run, run as fast as you can little seven spot lady beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) and I’ll follow. Chased it all over the front yard.
This texture shot of decomposing wood was ruined by subfamily Scolytinae, the bark and ambrosia beetles. Hard to identify it beyond that, both because of size and how superficially similar that subfamily is. Hundreds of contenders, maybe a dozen if I sorted which ones occur in my area.
Smooth Vetch Bumblebee
A common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) danced among a cluster of smooth vetch (Vicia dasycarpa).
American bluet
To my best estimate this is a male American bluet (Enallagma spp.) One source lists 34 species. Unless you know exactly what to look for and have the insect in front of you to examine, you can’t know which one you have. On the other hand, this guy was very nice and gave me a decent angle and let me get close.
Lady Mallard
An awkward moment for a lady mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos). She was preening and was a blur to my eye, but the camera caught this position.
Spotted Camel Cricket
The spotted camel cricket (Ceuthophilus maculatus) likes to live in my basement and I don’t appreciate it. Spring this year has been very wet and some of the crickets have infiltrated the house. I captured this one before I could step on it like the others. I left it on the driveway as another storm rolled in.
Red-Eared Slider
On a hike by a creek I came across this easy-to-identify fellow. I say this because there is only one turtle in Arkansas that has red on the side of the face: the red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans).

I’m not sure how much time I spent challenging myself to start labeling all of my photos that feature an organism, but it is fun. Photography encourages me to notice more of what is around me and taxonomy enforces that effort to a greater depth. There are some serious naturalists in the blogosphere that may find error in the names I’ve included in this post. By all means suggest corrections! You won’t hurt my feelings.

In case of curiosity, I tend to rely on the following sites for identification (in supplement to regional guidebooks):


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