|THE METROPOLITAN NATURALIST
Skippers are almost half way between a moth and a butterfly. Like most
butterflies, they are active during the day and are often seen drinking nectar
from flowers. This Skipper is drinking nectar from a thistle flower.
The Wheel Bug is recognised by the ornament on its back
that looks like a wheel with gears sticking out of its body.
This brightly colored butterfly is a common sight in the Baltimore-Washington
These insects are well known as garden pests, but when they are not feeding on
garden plants, they are a natural part of the forest ecosystem. The photographs to
the left are an adult aphid with several nymphs, her offspring, on the underside of
a very young Tulip Tree leaf.
Tent caterpillars build a large web-like nest in small
trees where the swarm of caterpillars mature. The
caterpillars leave the nest to forage on leaves, often
stripping whole tree branches bare. The caterpillars
eventually build cocoons where they transform into
an nondescript moth. The nests shown here are on
one of their favorite food trees, the black cherry.
Cabbage Butterfly on Chicory Flower
Cabbage Butterfly caterpillars are pests on garden plants of the mustard family
(including cabbage). This butterfly was introduced to North America and has
become a common sight here in Maryland.
Many different kinds (species) of grasshoppers are found in the
Baltimore-Washington area. Grasshoppers are found in a wide variety of sizes
and colors. While many can be farm and garden pests, grasshoppers are an
important food source for many birds and small mammals.