Correctly identify the species and win a free pass! Email email@example.com with your answers.
Fear not! It isn’t Godzilla’s enemy Mothra…but this large moth does make a striking appearance when resting near porch lights and in gardens.
Correct answer must include scientific name. Winner will be emailed a pass for one adult or child admission. Members and ESU students are admitted free; these winners may give the pass to family or friends.
Parhelion: Sun dog
This is a photo of a parhelion grouping (from the Greek para=beside, and helios=sun,), a phenomenon commonly known as a sun dog. It occurs when the sun’s rays shine through ice crystals in the upper atmosphere, refracting the light and creating arcs. Sun dogs most frequently appear on either side of the sun, but spectacular variations can occur with more arcs.
Arilus cristatus: Wheel bug
This insect is a species of assassin bug, which is an extremely important friend of gardeners. The wheel bug is named for its impressive armor, which resembles a saw-toothed blade. The wheel bug preys on common pests such as Japanese beetles, tent caterpillars, and cabbage worms. Its uses its fearsome proboscis to pierce other insects…so you should try to avoid picking one up, as you could get a nasty poke!
Stemonitis splendens: Chocolate tube slime mold
This organism begins its life cycle as white blobs of slime spreading across rotting wood. But only a few hours later, it transforms by sprouting tiny tubes covered with chocolate-colored spores. Slime molds, like their distant fungi cousins, are crucial links in the chain of decomposition, breaking down dead organisms to create nutrients and new habitat in the ecosystem.