Insects of all kinds abound in the Preserve, living on and off the plants, or eating other insects and trying to avoid being eaten. Because they are small, insects are easy to overlook, but if you observe a plant for a few minutes, you are bound to see them. Some, like spiders, stay motionless for long periods, on the ready for prey caught in their webs, others are squirming in masses on lush leaves, like tiger moths larvae, to confuse and ensure that some of them will survive, even though many might be eaten. Then there are those who are camouflaged and stay motionless for periods, like grasshoppers, avoiding their predators when at rest. Others present a constantly moving target, like monarchs, hardly ever resting. Still others, like the soldier beetle or milkweed bugs, are pretty sure they aren't very tasty or healthy for anyone and hop around freely. Still others are too fast, like dragonflies, or have other defenses that deter predators.
Olympia Mathiaparanam and Mark Nofsinger, members of the Friends, have captured many of them on their cameras and uploaded the photos to iNaturalist. This easy-to-use apps automatically provides a first identification, and in turn, experts help narrow down the identification until everyone agrees. Viewing this brief collection of images from their summer outings in the Preserve, we can appreciate the immense diversity of life on a few acres of natural lands. Get involved and add to the collection! (Assembled by Gisela)
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors