Book Review: Butterflies of the North Woods
Butterflies of the North Woods by Larry Weber is an excellent field guide for identification of butterflies. It is part of the North Woods Naturalist series, covering the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. How many times have you seen a butterfly flying by, and weren’t sure what it was? This field guide not only has excellent photos, but it also has a lot of information on the habits of butterflies, such as what food they eat and what food the butterfly caterpillars eat. It really helped me out, because we get a lot of brown butterflies with eyespots in this area that all look very similar. It helped me to differentiate between them, by comparing the number of eyespots, etc. Also included is an interesting section on the history of butterflies, such as: butterflies are really a type of moth that may have started flying during the day to get away from moth-eating bats. There is also information on day-flying moths that only look like butterflies. Also part of the series: Moths and Caterpillars of the North Woods, Dragonfies of the North Woods, and Damselflies of the North Woods.
Reference: Larry Weber, Butterflies of the North Woods, 2nd edition,(Duluth,MN:Kollath+Stensaas Publishing, 2006)
Book Review: Moths and Caterpillars of the North Woods
An interesting field guide is Moths and Caterpillars of the North Woods by Jim Sogaard (Duluth,MN: Kollath+Stensaas Publishing 2009). This guide focuses totally on moths, unlike other guides that also cover butterflies. It is part of the North Woods Naturalist series, and covers the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada. This is a really excellent guide because the pictures are very good, and the information is easy to understand. It even contains a natural history of moths, and has some information I didn’t know about, such as: butterflies are really a type of moth, and butterflies may have developed the ability to fly during the day in order to get away from moth-eating bats. Moths have been around since the time of the dinosaurs, and have developed many different colorings and defenses. Some of the moths are as brightly colored as butterflies, while others are camoflaged to look like tree bark. Some of the plain looking moths are very brightly colored as caterpillars, or have unusual tufts of hair. All in all this is an interesting book, because moths don’t seem to be talked about as much as butterflies. This is one of the reasons why the author wrote the book: he thinks that butterflies are great, but that moths are interesting as well, and deserve a book of their own.
Fuzzy Fall Caterpillar
I have been seeing a fuzzy caterpillar this fall with pale yellow-green long hair and longer black hairy spikes here and there. I looked it up in a field guide and have determined that it is a Dagger Moth caterpillar, probably an American Dagger. The book shows eleven different kinds, and they eat mainly plants of the rose family: cherries, juneberries, and hawthorns. The term “dagger” refers to the markings on the wings of the moth, that look like dashes. The moth itself looks kind of like tree bark, an excellent camoflage. They overwinter and turn into adults in the spring. It was interesting to see a caterpillar so late in the season.
Reference: Jim Sogaard, Moths and Caterpillars of the North Woods (Duluth,MN: Kollath+Stensaas Publishing 2009) pgs.206-207