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08/16/07
A Spider Walk In Tekawitha Woods
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, Grandchildren, Illinois
Posted by: Ken @ 11:49 am

 
Longhorn BeetleWe decided to spend most of this summer at our condo up north in Chicagoland, away from the heat and hurricanes of South Florida. Well, there have been no hurricanes here, but so far the Sunshine State has also been spared. As for heat, we met or exceeded the highs back home for much of early August. There have been a few delightful mornings, just right for birding and nature photography.

Last week, we took two of our granddaughters to a place with a very catchy name, Tekawitha Woods, a Kane County Forest Preserve. Except for the presence of exotic European Oak Leaf Gall Mites that produced troublesome itches, the children enjoyed exploring the edges of the paths for all sorts of insects. The beetle pictured above, on Queen Anne’s Lace, appears to be a longhorn beetle (species not certain, genus Typocerus) that mimics the coloration of wasps and bees as a protective mechanism.

Dogbane BeetleA brilliant green Dogbane Beetle attracted a lot of attention. Naturally, it was chewing on a Dogbane leaf.

The Queen Anne’s Lace also attracted this Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) [misidentified by the interpreter as a Hackberry Emperor– thanks to an alert reader for the correction] which then took a liking to one of the mothers on the walk, sipping salty perspiration from her wrist. Note how its proboscis is extended.
Hackberry Butterfly

Hackberry Butterfly

Spiders were much in evidence. In the wooded areas, a variety of orb weavers elicited great interest from the children, who took turns observing their webs.
Orb Spider with prey
Orb Spider

Back at the interpretive center, we got good looks a several grass spiders, whose webs are funnel-shaped and not sticky.  They frequent man-made structures such as window frames.
Grass Spider

This Harvestman (“Daddy Long Legs”), hanging upside down from the railing at the entrance of the interpretive center, is an Opilionid, actually a relative of the spiders, whose eight legs emerge from its single body segment.

Harvestman

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