Sunday, July 8, 2007

Going buggy at Fort Snelling

While birding at Fort Snelling State Park I have noticed an abundance of insect life. Some of it I really do not care for, mosquitoes, ticks, deer flies, but some of it makes pretty good subject for nature photography. So I decided to expand the eco part of the blog to include some insect pictures. I don't know a lot about insects, I am certainly not an expert on birds either, but maybe I can use the blog to increase my knowledge.

I did find some decent field guides on butterflies and moths so I was able to ID the butterfly that I was able to photograph. This first one is a cabbage white. Cabbage white butterflies are not a native species, they come from Europe, but they are now very commonly seen. The one below is a female. You can tell by the two black dots in the middle of the wings. Males only have one spot so it is easy to identify between the sexes.
The next butterfly is also pretty common it is a red admiral. Red admiral butterfly are found throughout most f the world. They can not survive extreme winter which means that here in Minnesota the population is recolonized each spring by butterflies migrating north. On a trip to Carlos Avery Wildlife Management area a short while ago I saw hundreds of these red admiral sunning themselves on the road. It was like a cloud of butterflies lifting up from the road in front of me as I drove.
Most people in the US will recognize this butterfly. It is, of coarse, the monarch butterfly.
Monarchs are avoided by most predators because they are poisonous. Predators that eat a monarch get very sick, although they usually do not die, and in the future remember that this type of butterfly is not very tasty. The monarchs get there poison from eating the poisonous milkweed plant as a caterpillar.
Unfortunately I have not found a guide book that I like for dragonflies. So for the time being I will just post the pictures with out an identification. If someone reading this blog can and wants to ID them please post in the comment section below.
Thanks to Scott I think that I can now ID all of the dragonflies in the post.
male whitetail
halloween pennant
female widow skimmer
male widow skimmer
western meadowhawk
male blue dasher
It is kind of interesting that dragonfly are similar to birds in that male and female of some types are often very different looking.
I also found this cool bee which I am not able to ID because I do not have a bee guide either.
I also was able to identify this bee as a baldfaced hornet.
If anyone knows of a good guide book for dragonflies and other insects please post the information in the comment section below.

Thanks again Scott for your help.


Scott said...

unsure, Female Widow Skimmer, Halloween Pennant, Male Widow Skimmer, Western Meadowhawk, unsure.
I suggest posting any of these critters for identification at Other good dragonfly resources are and

Anonymous said...

Hornets are not bees