Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jewel Beetle or Metallic Wood Boring Beetle

While in Nova Scotia I spotted this motionless beetle on the ground. It appeared to resemble the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) so I put it in some alcohol and saved it until I was able to identify it with my library of wildlife books, or so I thought. Based on what little I know so far this beetle appeared to be much too large to be an EAB but I was curious none-the-less. Bugs of Ontario, by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon, ISBN 1-55105-287-3 most closely identified it with the Gold Dust Buprestid [Buprestis confluenta], although in the book the bug is much greener and much less metallic. The book states the length is 17 mm, and while comparing it with the dime in the photo I calculate this beetle to be 21 mm (13/16 in.) long. After further internet research it turns out that there are literaly 1000s of species of Buprestidae. There are many websites with pictures but none come close to identifying this bug. I so far have been able to confirm that the general term is either metallic wood-boring beetle or jewel beetle since they are known to be used to make jewelry particularly in southern countries. After digging further, and having subsequently found a copy of Field Guide to Insects of North America, Eric R. Eaton and Kenn Kaufman, ISBN 0-618-15310-7 -- that I must have bought recently since I didn't know I had it -- I was able to establish that it is very likely the Buprestis Lineata primarily by its shape and more even colouring. The book shows two variations one with gold strips which appears more common and one that is more evenly coloured like that photographed here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pictured above is a ruffed grouse [Bonasa umbellus] the only species of fowl-like birds that I know of that resides in our woodlot. They are particularly common in the low brush areas of our woodlot. Quite often as I go for my walks I will flush one out but rarely do I get a good glimpse of one. You can occaisionally hear the males drumming in the woods with the classic, foop foop foop foop furrrrrr. My wife was lucky to capture these photos today as the grouse casually walked across our lawn. They remain here yeararound.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our resident and most common Snake

This is without a doubt the most common snake in this area since if I find a snake it is of this species. I did once come across a black snake with a red belly but never saw it again.

A Black and Yellow Spider

I encountered this black and yellow spider on the side of our house that seemed quite busy. It is one of the more attractive and interesting spiders I have seen. It most resembles the Yellow Garden Spider, [Agriope aurantia] as viewed in Bugs of Ont. ISBN 1-55105-287-3..

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The everpresent and successful Poison Parsnip

This is a stout specimen of the wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) which grows very well on our property. I first posted on this plant early on in this blog since it was quite dominating in places. I find however that it can be managed although with some vigilance.

This plant was very common in the fields of the Montreal west end where I grew up. I frequently would get rashes from it. It is quite hard to determine the cause of the rash since it shows up about 3 days later. Also it required UV light to stimulate the rash, so if I pull the weed late in the day shortly before sundown, I don't get the rash at all, with the weak sunlight. I don't even have to bother wearing protective clothing.