Friday, September 16, 2016

Name that Bug: Pretty, Harmless and Deadly

Check out this fine looking fellow:

To my naive eye, he has the markings of a wasp, yet the legs of a grasshopper. He's obviously part of a CIA plot to create super bugs...

Or, he's a Megacyllene robiniae a type of beetle that has seemingly mastered bio mimicry. As explained here:

Your observation that this Long Horned Borer Beetle, the Locust Borer, Megacyllene robiniae, is a Yellow Jacket mimic is quite astute. The mimicry is probably most effective when the Locust Borer is feeding on the pollen of goldenrod because predators would tend to avoid what looks like a stinging insect despite the Locust Borer being perfectly harmless.

And sure enough, just a couple yards away was a stand of goldenrod.

So while this guy looks like he could sting you, he's actually harmless. That is, unless you're a black locust tree. Then these insects, known as Locust Borers can cause a heap of problems due to their preference for tunneling into this type of tree. Hard to believe that something so small and harmless can wreak havoc on a tree, but there it is.

Here's another unexpected sighting. Check out these snapshots:

It's hard to see, but floating just below the surface is a massive turtle. I've seen plenty of turtles along the Potomac, but nothing this large before. I shall call him Nessy.

And what would a walk in the woods be without a few photos of pretty flowers? So here you go.

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