Happy 4th of July!
News Category: Cicada General Info
Happy 4th of July!
Hey folks, happy fourth to you! Not much to report today. It's very cloudy outside with the sun coming out in dribs and drabs. I did manage to snag one O. rimosus cicada calling on a small pine sapling at the Montague Plains. Not much else to report really. I did manage to see some other really cool fauna today though. I was walking in the high grass and I looked down and nearly jumped out of my skin! I almost walked on top of a Black Racer Snake! These are common in Massachusetts and when you startle one like I did, they take off like a bat-out-of-hell! Made me jump about four feet in the air! When I finally realized what it was, I tried to follow it but I had no luck tracking it down. I never seen a snake move so fast.
After no luck chasing the snake down, I managed to look to my left and I noticed this "J" shaped thing kind of swinging in the wind. (It was windy on the 4th). It was dangling from a pine sapling. When I walked over to it, I saw that it was some sort of caterpillar hanging up-side-down. It's red feet quite visible with these large black spikes on its back. After talking with my friend Bill Reynolds of the N.C. Museum of Science in North Carolina - based on my phone description of course - he told me it sounded like a Mourning Cloak Butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa) larva just getting ready to form a Chrysalis.
After confirming by doing some internet digging, I saw he was 100% right! I have seen plenty of Mourning Cloak butterflies kicking around Montague Sand Plains since early June. I'll need to check this place next weekend to see how the pupating process progressed, I may get lucky and find it see the images below to have a look at this cool looking caterpillar, almost looks like something alien.