Observed two female black widow spiders. One spider and her egg sac were hidden underneath a loose brick in the flower bed, while the other was hidden in the crevices created by loose bark on a dead maple tree.
Best viewed large. Sunday I took part in the East Brunswick Environmental Commision's 2nd annual Big Day bird count. We had 88 species within city limits, some nice odonata (Springtime Darner), and some beautiful Lady's Slipper orchids in both pink & white. But the sighting of the day was undoubtedly this huge male Promethea Moth. It had just emerged from its coccoon and was pumping its wings up. Bottom view here. I had ~5' with it, & then it lifted off & flew immediately up into the top of the canopy. Incidentally, my companions both went back to the cars for their (much more serious) cameras, but by the time they got back it was gone.
That's the cocoon below (a separate shot showing the whole thing: bugguide.net/node/view/51372/bgimage) -- it's made inside a rolled-up leaf. Host plant here is a sassafras sapling. Typical wingspan is 75-95 mm. More info on BugGuide.
I showed this shot to my father, & he said, "Hey, those are teeth." Took me a minute to figure out what he meant, & then I said, "Oh! Of course!" The toothed submarginal markings, especially along the edge of the forewing, look uncannily like -- well, teeth. Eyespots are commonly described as mimicry of eyes designed to scare away predators, and the extended tips of the forewings on some of these giant silk moths as mimicking a snake head in profile, but I've never seen a discussion that mentions mimicry of teeth. However, if you were a bird, wouldn't you think twice about messing with something that looked like a big open maw?
The background is too distracting on these photos, even at f2.6. When I have time I will probably do a cutout & blur it. But they were burning a hole in my hard drive; just had to get them posted. :-)
Very docile, once they settled down. Tended to drop to the ground if disturbed (perhaps a defense mechanism against bats?), but happy to perch on a finger. Picked this one up and placed on this leaf for a nice photo op. Wingspan 8 cm.
There a thousands of insects with images on their back or wings. These images are for self protection mostly or communication. Do they know they bear a death sign, or an owls-eye, or a human face etc. Some images are realistic, some are cryptic and it could even be apocalyptic- my imagination says. Lets explore how they communicate with their images between other species and with nature.