Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Johnny-Jump-Up (Field Pansy) - Viola bicolor

Johnny-Jump-Up (Field Pansy)
(Photo:  Marvin Smith on 3/29/10)


Other Common Names: Field Pansy, Wild Pansy
My best shot at an ID: Viola bicolor (Pursh)
Plant family: Violaceae (Violet)
Habitat: Fields, waste ground, disturbed sites, meadows, roadsides, railroads, lawns (just about any open area)
Range: Throughout most of eastern and central North America and into western Canadian provinces
Plant Type: Native annual
Description (from Illinois Wildflowers): Each flower is about ½" across, consisting of 5 petals and 5 sepals. The petals are pale to medium blue-violet with dark purple lines, becoming white near the throat of the flower. However, the lowermost petal has a patch of yellow near its base. Also, the two lateral petals are bearded with white hairs near the throat of the flower.
Lore: Native Americans used Johnny-jump-up to treat colds, coughs, headaches and boils. It was also used to prepare a spring tonic.

Getting an ID on this little flower was more difficult than I expected, especially since I started out thinking that I knew what is was. It has three scientific name synonyms. Some sources attribute it's common name to a different plant. And, there is disagreement about whether V. bicolor is native or not. (The USDA says it is native.)

Johnny-Jump-Up spreads by seeds and is usually found in clusters. We have several patch in our yard and garden. Illinois Wildflowers says it is sometimes used as one of the parents of pansy cultivars developed for the mass market.

Text originally posted on March 29, 2008.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Yellow Troutlily (Erythronium rostratum)

Yellow Troutlily
(Photo:  Jo Smith on 3/24/10)

Yellow Troutlily
(Erythronium rostratum)

The Troutlily's common name is based on the speckled appearance of its leaves. It is also commonly known as Dog-toothed Violet though it is, indeed, a member of the lily family and not a violet. The bottom side of the plant's rhizomes vaguely resemble canine teeth. The most common form of Troutlily has only one leaf and does not bloom. Blooming forms have two leaves.

eFlora says E. rostratum is found in Mesic woods, often in flood plains and along waterways, also on shaded lower ledges of bluffs. It is the shaded lower ledges of bluffs that provide Troutlily habitat in our woods where it has just begun blooming this year.

Yellow Troutlily is much less widely distributed than it's long, red-anthered cousin Erythronium americanum. It is limited to the Ozark Mountains and a few other isolated pockets in the south-central United States. Unlike the other members of its genus, E. rostratum has erect rather than nodding flowers. (Please see US Wildflowers for photos and information on Erythronium americanum.)

eFlora distribution maps for E. rostratum and E. americanum.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Daffodils on the First Full Day of Spring

Daffodils on the first full day of Spring in the "Sunny South, USA".


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Arkansas Moth: Painted Lichen (Hypoprepia fucosa)

Painted Lichen (Hypoprepia fucosa)
(Photo:  Marvin Smith on 6/2/09)

Painted Lichen Moth
(Hypoprepia fucosa)

Range: United States and southern Canada east of the Rockies.

Habitat: Wooded areas; adults are nocturnal and come to light.

Season: Adults fly from May to August in the north; perhaps most of the year in Florida.

Food: Larvae feed on lichen, algae, and moss on trees.

Life Cycle: overwinters as a larva.

Species information from BugGuide Species Page.

Other Links:

MPG Species Page
Moths of North Dakota
John Himmelman


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fiery Searcher (Calosoma scrutator)

Photo taken 7/7/08
Fiery Searcher (Calosoma scrutator)
This brilliant, metallic green beetle is sometimes found in large numbers during the Arkansas spring, being attracted to lights at night. It may cause alarm because of its large size (it reaches 1 - 1½" in length) and the odor it emits to ward off predators and intruding humans. The wing covers have many fine longitudinal furrows that are beset with tiny punctures, and each cover has a reddish-copper border. The head, pronotum, and legs are deep metallic blue or purple, and the pronotum has a gold margin. Imprudent handlers could receive an unwelcome nip from the hefty mandibles. However, Calosoma scrutator is a highly beneficial species that climbs trees in search of caterpillar prey. Although the beetles are active from May to November, they seem to be especially numerous in May after trees are fully leaved out and while the spring flush of caterpillars is ravaging the foliage. Adults winter over, and they live up to 3 years. Eggs are placed one at a time in soil. Larvae also hunt caterpillars and climb trees and shrubs in search of prey. They pupate in earthen cells.


(Originally posted on 9/5/08)


Saturday, March 06, 2010

Arkansas Moth: Rosy Maple (Dryocampa rubicunda)

Rosy Maple Moth (Dryocampa rubicunda)
(Photo:  Marvin Smith on 5/30/09)

Rosy Maple Moth
(Dryocampa rubicunda)

Were there a prize given for the most widespread, numerous and eye-catching moth, the Rosy Maple would probably win. Bob Patterson on MPG says this species has been the number one generator of ID requests, from southeastern Canada to Florida.

Hodges Number: 7715

Other common names: Green-striped Mapleworm (caterpillar)

Range: Eastern North America, including most of Florida.

Habitat: Deciduous forests.

Season: May-August in north (one brood), April-September in south (2-3 broods).

Food: Adults do not feed. Hostplants for larvae are maples, Acer, or oaks, Quercus.

Life cycle: Eggs are laid in clusters of 10-30 on foliage. Early instars are gregarious. Overwinters as pupa, below ground. Adults come to lights readily.

Caterpillars: Occasionally, D. rubicunda larvae can become serious defoliators. The caterpillar is usually most important as a pest on shade and ornamental landscape maples. Damage from loss of foliage is largely aesthetic; trees usually survive and recover, but some loss in growth and dieback in the crown may occur. (Please see Auburn University site for more information and photos.)

Species information from BugGuide.

Other links:
Moths of North America

Please visit Xenogere for the latest edition of The Moth and Me Blog Carnival, and check out Jason's fantastic images of a wingless female moth.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Arkansas Moth: Angle-lined Prominent (Clostera inclusa)

Angle-lined Prominent Moth (Clostera inclusa)
(Photo:  Marvin Smith on 3/30/09)

Angle-lined Prominent Moth 
(Clostera inclusa)

Other common name: Many-lined Angle, Poplar Tentmaker

Hodges: #7896

Range: Throughout eastern North America.

Season: March-September.

Food: Larvae feed on aspen, willows, poplars.

Species information from BugGuide.

Other information and photos:



Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Moth Identification

Four May Moths
(Photo:  Marvin Smith on 5/30/09)

Can you find the moth that's a different species?

Three Juniper-twig Geometers (Patalene olyzonaria)

One Brown Scoopwing Moth (Calledapteryx dryopterata)


Monday, March 01, 2010

Arkansas Moth: Brown Scoopwing (Calledapteryx dryopterata)

Brown Scoopwing Moth (Calledapteryx dryopterata)
(Photo:  Marvin Smith on 5/30/09)

Brown Scoopwing Moth
(Calledapteryx dryopterata)

Hodges Number: 7653

Size: Wingspan 18-22 mm (around 3/4 of an inch).

Identification: Adult: wings red-brown or orange-brown. Has a bat-like or cross-like configuration when perched. Forewing has large scoop in outer margin, distinguishing it from the Gray Scoopwing. (Gray Scoopwing (Callizzia amorata) is grayer and lacks large scoop in outer margin of forewing.)

Larva: has five pairs of prolegs, distinguishing it from a Geometrid larva, which has two pairs of prolegs.

Range: Eastern North America: Quebec and Ontario to Florida, west to Arkansas.

Habitat: Presumably woodlands, edges, with hostplants (Viburnum spp.)

Season: Adults May-August or September.

Remarks: BugGuide notes that C. dryopterata is uncommon. That may hold true for other parts of its range, but I'd say it is common in my area of the Arkansas Ozarks -- at least, it was in 2009. I photographed several Brown Scoopwing Moths throughout the summer.

Above species information from BugGuide.

Other links:

Lynn Scott's Lepidoptera
Moths of Maryland
Bob Patterson @ MPG