Monarch butterfly larvae (Danaus plexippus)

Important update: alert reader Alex F. wrote to tell me that I got it wrong! These are really Black Swallowtail larvae (Papilio polyxenes). Thanks Alex! Corrected 4/13/07. He goes on to add: “While they do smell foul if you handle them, they are by no means poisonous. Actually, being that Monarchs feed primarily on Milkweed, […]

tree frog (Hyla)

We have approxmately one squillion leopard frogs (Rana pipens, the regular old frog) around here. I’m not even going to waste pixels on those. But I noticed this little guy clinging to the front door trim after a good rain this summer. The pads on his feet make him a tree frog. Rana have little […]

ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata)

As a kid I kept box turtles. They make decent pets, but keeping them in captivity isn’t a great situation for them. Since we have dogs, it’s not even possible to let a turtle roam free the way we did with ours as kids.

Strictly speaking, this gal (she lacks the concavity on the carapace that […]

Toad (Bufo terrestris)

Toads rule.

Toads are pest eating machines. In a growing season, a toad can eat thousands of pests that would be eating your garden, making you grumpy. We are blessed with a small army of toads (and less than blessed by a large army of frogs, but that’s a different post).

The kids love it. We […]

dog vomit slime mold (Fuligo septica)

This summer I had the honor of hosting a thriving colony of Fuligo septica. The hardwood mulch is ideal for growing it, and I have some 16 cubic yards of the stuff installed. So it was slime mold summer.

The pictured slime mold is a “young” one, still kind of soft and smooshy at this stage.

getting […]

snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

The basement window wells trap a pretty amazing variety of critters. I was not expecting to see a snapping turtle down there.

I’ve seen them crossing the road on occasion nearby, so I knew we had some in the area. Our neighborhood has a lot of small farm ponds, so a good supply of frogs for […]

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