Monday, October 1, 2012

Monarchs, Bees, and Aster

So another post about A.W. Marion State Park critters. I know so far this blog has been insects and arachnids, but give it time. I'll be getting more things here soon. 

Anyway, on to some more colorful creatures and plants.

A female Monarch butterfly. You can tell it is a female by the dark lines on the wings. This one was very cooperative with my camera and I. They're quite common, but still so beautiful. The colors, the contrast, the size, everything about Monarchs is awesome. They're on their way south right now. In fact, a few days ago, I counted 20 Monarchs moving through my yard in half an hour. Since then, I've seen none. Monarchs have four generations a year. Of those four, three generations live and die up here, and then the fourth migrates down to Mexico to hibernate through the winter. Monarch caterpillars require only the Milkweed plant for food, but adults can drink the nectar of any flowering plant. Milkweed is declining in some areas, for example along roads due to human intervention, and this has led to a recent decline in Monarch populations. Sometimes we need to let nature be...well, nature.
This is a female Leafcutter Bee on an Aster flower. I am not sure which Aster it is; it could be New England or New York Aster (or another species. If you can ID it correctly, please comment). Leafcutter Bees are native bees that get their name from their habit of cutting the leaves of plants for their nest cells. They are important for pollination, as this one is currently partaking in. They aren't aggressive like other bees in Ohio. They will sting, but only if you handle it and make it feel in danger.
A wildflower, most likely some type of Aster. I am not a good flower person as of yet.

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