THE WORLD WE THINK WE KNOW: A YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHER’S GUIDE TO SIGNAL MOUNTAIN WILDLIFE
About the Author
Ava Sabatini is a high school sophomore from Signal Mountain, Tennessee who loves to get outside and photograph the wildlife around her. When she isn’t outside exploring her surroundings, she enjoys rock climbing, creative writing, reading, and playing ukulele. She created this book to share with others her love of the outdoors and inspire people to take a closer look at the world around them! 1
Table of Contents Amphibians…………………………………………………….. 3 Arachnids………………………………………………………. 10 Birds…………………………………………………………… 27 Crayfish………………………………………………………… 57 Fish…………………………………………………………….. 59 Fungi……………………………………………………………61 Insects & Mollusks…………………………………………….. 86 Mammals…………………………………………………….. 139 Reptiles……………………………………………………….. 144 Human Impact…………………………………………………150 2
Cope’s Gray Tree Scientific Name: Hyla chrysoscelis Size: 1 ¼ - 2 inches long Description: Colors range from gray to green to brown depending on their habitat (darker for colder/darker places) and coloration helps them blend in with tree bark Diet: Moths, tree crickets, ants, flies, grasshoppers, and beetles Range: The majority of the eastern half of the US, only reaching the panhandle in FL and about halfway through TX to MN Typical Habitat: Woodlands, grasslands, prairies, meadows, fields, and swamps; perch in bushes or shrubs Status: Least Concern
Southern Zig-zag Salamander
Scientific Name: Plethodon ventralis Size: Max length of 3.5” Description: Usually gray or black in color with a “zigzag” shape down the back that is either red or yellow. They sometimes have white speckles on their sides and a gray belly, sometimes with red or yellow pigment. Diet: This salamander mainly eats insects and other invertebrates that live in the leaf litter near water. Range: Found in small parts of northeast Mississippi, northern Alabama, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, south western Virginia, and southern Kentucky. Typical Habitat Description: Live in temperate forests near freshwater creeks or springs that have rocks; also caves. Status: Least Concern, BUT their numbers are dropping due to habitat loss
Spotted Dusky Scientific Name: Desmognathus conanti Size: 2.5-5” long Description: Dark gray with 6-8 lighter spots on the sides of their back that may turn into more of a line as they mature. They are more lightly colored underneath with darker flecks in some places; however, the coloration varies throughout its range. Diet: They typically eat invertebrates like earthworms, slugs, snails, crustaceans, spiders, mites, flies and fly larvae, ants, beetles and beetle larvae, centipedes, moths, and mayflies Range: All throughout the eastern United States, but more so in the southern regions than the northern. Typical Habitat Description: Around cool streams and small rivers in the lower elevations of mountains; the salamander spends most of the day resting under rocks, logs, or in the leaf litter. Status: Listed as “common” statewide
Scientific Name: Ambystoma maculatum Size: Usually about 7” long Description: Dark brown or black with yellow or orange spots; longer tail and thin body Diet: Invertebrates such as earthworms, snails, spiders, centipedes, and small crustaceans. Range: Found throughout the southeastern United States excluding Florida and extending into parts of Canada and Texas Typical Habitat Description: Around cool streams and small rivers in the lower elevations of mountains; spend most of the day resting under rocks, logs, or in the leaf litter Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Pseudotriton ruber Size: 4” - 6” long Description: Bright red or reddish-orange in color with black spots covering their bodies; they are stout with shorter tails; they also have yellow irises; additionally, they are typically nocturnal Diet: Invertebrate or small vertebrate prey, in some areas they even eat other types of salamanders Range: Can be found throughout much of the eastern United States and prefer lower mountain ranges. Typical Habitat Description: Under rocks or logs near freshwater streams, springs, and smaller creeks; some adults occasionally move away from water sources and into forested areas Status: Least Concern/Common
Scientific Name: Anaxyrus americanus Size: About 2.0”- 3.5” long Description: They usually have a gray or brown coloration, but occasionally there will be one that is reddish, olive, or tan in color. Their base color is typically accented with tan or yellow patches across their backs with darker spots distributed at random. They also have a stripe down their backs and a lot of warts. Diet: They eat a variety of small insects including ants, beetles, moths, and earthworms; tadpoles eat organic aquatic matter. Range: Are found in every southeastern state except Florida and their range extends into Canada and as far west as the Dakotas and eastern Kansas Typical Habitat Description: Generally reside in forests, but are also open to fields and residential areas; basically anywhere that has leaf litter for food, soil for burrowing, and moist hiding spots. Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Leiobunum vittatum Size: 6mm - 8mm Description: They have a round body with four sets of legs, the second pair being critical and acting as antennae, a way to breathe and capture prey, and their sense of smell. They are typically a reddish or brown color with lighter undersides. Diet: Snails. Earthworms, and other insects; occasionally they attempt to eat dead prey that they come across Range: Can be found in most of the eastern US, and parts of the western US, Canada and Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Forest floors, on trees/plants, under rocks or logs, in caves, and on stone walls; places where they can find prey and blend in well. Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Vonones sayi Size: Usually about 6mm in length Description: A reddish-brown color with a light colored Y-shaped mark behind the eyes and a traverse white stripe on its back. There may be a couple other light colored traverse bands, but they aren’t always present Diet: Typically eat invertebrates or other dead prey they find. Range: In the southern US from Texas to Floria and northwards to Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois. Typical Habitat Description: Under logs or rocks in forests and woodlands or under the bark of still standing dead trees. Status: Not enough is known about them to say
Ocellate Gall Midge
Scientific Name: Acericecis ocellaris Size: N/A Description: While the midge itself is not visible, it leaves a bulls eye type pattern with a red center, yellow middle section, and another red outer ring on leaves. Diet: Maple leaves Range: Tennessee and North Carolina and into the northeastern United States and parts of Canada Typical Habitat Description: Maple leaves Status: N/A
Arrowhead Orb Weaver
Scientific Name: Verrucosa arenata Size: Usually about 9.5mm long Description: Males are brownish-orange in color while females are pinkish-red; both have a triangle shaped black body with a white pattern with small black spots on the inside. Diet: Insects such as flies, mosquitos, and gnats that get caught in their webs Range: Found in the entire US as well as in many parts of Canada and Mexico Typical Habitat Description: Found on their large webs in openings between trees in the woods or between bushes in yards or gardens. Status: Least Concern
Arrow-shaped Orb Weaver
Scientific Name: Micrathena sagittata Size: About 4mm - 9mm long Description: They have a combination of red, yellow, and black markings along their back. At the back, their body is split into two triangular sections, from which it the “arrow-shaped” part of its name Diet: Small insects caught in their webs Range: Eastern United States into Mexico and South America Typical Habitat Description: Typically build webs in open woodlands or areas near them. Status: N/A
Bowl & Doily Spider
Scientific Name: Frontinella communis Size: 3mm - 8mm Description: Small spiders with a reddish-brown head and a black abdomen with white markings on its sides; they are named for the way their webs are shaped: they are double-layered and the spiders typically stay on the bottom of the “bowl” part of the web, but above the “doily” part. Diet: Small insects that get caught in their webs Range: Can be found in parts of all states in the United States, EXCEPT Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, the Dakotas, and Wyoming Typical Habitat Description: Many types of forests including temperate forests (reside on leaves or low growing shrubs), alpine forests (on evergreen trees), and in more tropical or humid climates too. Status: N/A
Common House Spider Scientific Name: Parasteatoda tepidariorum Size: From 6mm - 2.5cm in length Description: Brown in color with patterns in varying lighter shades that make them appear spotted Diet: They feed on insects commonly found in or around houses such as flies, mosquitos, ants, and wasps; bigger females can sometimes attract baby skinks to their webs by leaving the remains of flies Range: Found worldwide, but most commonly in North America (particularly the eastern US) Typical Habitat Description: Typically found in houses or near residential areas Status: N/A
Eastern Long-legged Cob Weaver
Scientific Name: Theridion frondeum Size: 3.0mm - 4.2mm Description: Have a white or yellow tinged background coloration with black markings around the sides that vary greatly; sometimes they may not be present at all while others may have extremely thick black markings Diet: Small invertebrates caught in their webs Range: Can be found in some parts of the eastern United States and scattered throughout parts of Canada Typical Habitat Description: They typically build their webs in small trees or bushes found in the forest and sometimes even in residential areas Status: Vulnerable in some areas
Elegant Crab Spider Scientific Name: Xyticus elegans Size: 4mm - 12mm long Description: Mostly brown with an area outlined in white with brown spots and brown banded legs Diet: Insects and mites that are found on the ground or low in bushes and shrubs Range: Found throughout the eastern US, particularly in the northeast but also in more southern states Typical Habitat Description: Low vegetation in woods and bark or other leaf litter covering the forest floor. Status: N/A
Feather-legged Orb Weaver
**seen with egg cases here
Scientific Name: Uloborus glomosus Size: 3mm - 10mm Description: Mostly brown spider with two noticeable bumps on their upper half. Their front legs appear longer because they are covered in long feathery hairs Diet: Small insects that get caught in their webs Range: Found throughout the United States, in every state except New Mexico Typical Habitat Description: Build webs nearer to the ground in forests or gardens in order to catch prey Status: N/A
Hammer-jawed Jumping Spider
Scientific Name: Zygoballus rufipes Size: 3mm - 4mm Description: Females are light gray in color with banded legs and a few spots on their backs while males are mostly black with yellowish legs and a yellow mark around the top of their back. Diet: Small insects on plants or the ground Range: Throughout the eastern United States and into parts of Mexico Typical Habitat Description: Typically found in forested areas, but can also be found in fields. Status: N/A
Heptagonal Orb Weaver Scientific Name: Gea heptagon Size: About 6.5mm long Description: A brown and yellow spider with three pairs of angular bumps on the back that make it appear to be a heptagon shaped when viewed from above; females have red markings towards the rear as well. Diet: Small insects such as gnats, mosquitos, and flies Range: Mostly found in the eastern United States and parts of Mexico Typical Habitat Description: Typically make small horizontal webs a few feet above the ground across small vegetation. Status: N/A
Long-palped Ant-mimic Sac Scientific Name: Castianeira longipalpa Size: 3.0mm - 9.5mm Description: Black with white markings along legs and back. It has longer legs in the back to make it appear to be an ant. Diet: Ants and other small insects Range: Found throughout different parts of the United States (more in eastern areas, but can be found in Washington State) Typical Habitat Description: Found in wooded or residential areas with ants (such as carpenter ants) Status: N/A
Orchard Orb Weaver
Scientific Name: Leucauge venusta Size: 3mm - 6.5mm Description: This spider’s back is silvery or white with dark green and yellow or orange stripes while its underside is mostly white with orange spots near the spinneret. Diet: Small insects such as flies and leafhoppers Range: Found throughout the eastern and central parts of the United States and into Mexico and parts of South America; however, there is a slight variation in the pattern of species further south. Typical Habitat Description: Typically found low in bushes and damp woodlands, building their webs in low vegetation and sometimes small trees Status: Least Concern/Common
Spined Micrathena Spider Scientific Name: Micrathena gracilis Size: 8mm - 10mm long Description: White or yellowish color mottled with black or brown; they have 10 “spines” on their abdomen Diet: Insects such as gnats, mosquitos, and leafhoppers caught in their webs Range: Very commonly found in the eastern and parts of the central United States as well as into parts of Mexico and South America Typical Habitat Description: Typically seen on webs in the open spaces between bushes or shrubs in forests Status: Least Concern
White-jawed Jumping Spider Scientific Name: Hentzia mitrata Size: 2.9mm - 4.5mm Description: A mostly white spider with a brown stripe on the middle of the back and head. Diet: Mosquitos, small flies, and other invertebrates Range: Found throughout the eastern United States Typical Habitat Description: Found in forested areas and fields. Status: N/A
Red-winged Blackbird Scientific Name: Agelaius phoeniceus Size: Females 17-18cm long, 41.5g in weight; Males 22-24cm, 64g in weight Description: Males are black with distinctive red and yellow bars on each wing. They puff these up during courtship, and they are more visible during flight. Meanwhile, females are lighter brown and white striped in color; both genders have long and sharp black beaks and black eyes and legs. Diet: Being omnivores, they eat a wide variety of foods including: seeds off of plants, dragonflies, damselflies, butterflies, moths, flies, snails, frogs, eggs of other birds, worms, spiders, mollusks, cicadas, caterpillars, blackberries, blueberries, and other fruits Range: Commonly found throughout all of North America Typical Habitat Description: Marshy and occasionally upland areas Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis Size: 21-23.5cm long, weighing 33.6-65g Description: Males are a bright red color with a distinctive black mask around the eyes and beak that extends down to the chest area while females are a fawn color with a reddish tail, crest, eyebrow, and wings, and a less distinguished gray mask around the beak; both have bright red rounded beaks and crests Diet: Mainly eat seeds, grains, and fruits off of plants, but will also eat insects such as cicadas, grasshoppers, and snails Range: All throughout the eastern and southern US, and into Mexico and Hawaii. Typical Habitat Description: Found in woodlands, scrublands, gardens, and wetlands Status: Least concern worldwide; critically imperiled or vulnerable in some regions of California
Carolina Chickadee Scientific Name: Poecile carolinensis Size: 11.5-13cm long, weighing 9-12g Description: Have a black cap and bib around the face with white cheeks and gray backs. Their underside is white as well with rusty coloration around the flanks. They have short black beaks, fairly short wings, and a moderately long tail; they are very similar to Black-capped Chickadee. The main way to tell them apart is by their song and range differences, but even the birds themselves have a hard time differentiating; this causes hybrids to exist. Diet: Mainly dine on insects, but when they are harder to find during the winter, they eat seeds and berries. Range: Found in the United States from New Jersey west to southern Kansas and south to Florida and Texas; there is a gap in the range at high altitudes in the Appalachian Mountains where they are replaced by their otherwise more northern relative, the black-capped chickadee Typical Habitat Description: Deciduous or mixed forests Status: Least Concern
American Crow Scientific Name: Corvus brachyrhynchos Size: 40-53cm long, weighing 316-620g Description: Covered with iridescent black feathers with a fairly long tail. Beak and legs are also black; beak length varies based on area. Diet: They feed on invertebrates, carrion, seeds, eggs, nestlings, stranded fish, mice, frogs, nuts, acorns, and crops such as corn or wheat. Range: Found throughout much of the US and into southern regions of Canada Typical Habitat Description: Often found in farmland, parks, open woodland to towns and even major cities Status: Least Concern
Photo (above) Credit: Clara Paulson Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata Size: 22-30cm long, weighing 73.7-92.4g Description: A defined crest on their head that changes position based on their environment (if they are excited or aggressive it stands straight up, while it is flat against their head when feeding or among other jays), a white face with black markings by the beak and towards the back of the face. It also has a bright blue body, wings, and tail; both the wings and the tail also have black markings. The underside of this bird is white and it has a bluishgray beak and legs. Diet: They eat nuts such as acorns, corn, and grains; typically, they will create a cache of food for the winter Range: Found mostly in the eastern and central United States and into parts of Canada; found in a few small areas out west Typical Habitat Description: Found throughout deciduous and mixed forests. Status: Least Concern
Brown-headed Cowbird Scientific Name: Molothrus ater Size: 16-22cm long, weighing 30-60g Description: Males are an iridescent black with a brown head while females are slightly smaller, and a dull gray color with a paler throat and light streaking on their underside. Cowbirds have a thick beak for crunching seeds. Diet: Seeds and insects; they follow around cattle and horses to eat any insects the larger animals stir up when walking. Range: All throughout the North American continent. Typical Habitat Description: Open or semi open country, foraging on the ground. Status: Least Concern (globally)
House Finch Scientific Name: Haemorhous mexicanus Size: 12.5-15cm long, weighing 16-27g Description: They have a long, square-tipped brown tail and are a brown or dull-brown color across the back with some shading into deep gray on the wing feathers. Breast and belly feathers may be streaked; the flanks usually are as well. Males are red in color around their heads and breasts. They also have a large beak for eating seeds. Diet: Grains, seeds, and nettles are their main food sources, but they prefer dandelion and sunflower seeds if they can find them. Range: All throughout North America, and has been found as a rarity in a few European countries; however, they were initially only found in Mexico and the southwest United States until they were illegally sold in New York. After Migratory Birds Act, their owners let them loose in the wild and they spread rapidly. Typical Habitat Description: Urban and suburban areas; they are frequently seen at bird feeders. Status: Least Concern
Scientific Name: Pheucticus ludovicianus Size: 18-22cm long, weighing 35-65g Description: An adult male in breeding plumage will have a black head, wings, back, and tail with a bright rose patch on its breast; there are two white bars on their wings that sometimes have rose red linings and a white underside. Females have a dark gray or brown head, back, wings, and tail, but the coloration is darker on the wings and tail. They have white markings on their wings as well and a thick white stripe above their eyes. Their underside is white with brown streaks and a yellowish patch on their breast. Diet: They eat berries, seeds, insects, and sometimes even nectar. Range: Found mainly in the eastern half of the US and into Mexico, but are occasionally seen in some spots along the American west coast (especially in southern California and the Baja Peninsula in Mexico) and into central Canada. Typical Habitat Description: They usually stay in trees and are rarely found on the ground; they frequent parks, gardens, and sometimes bird feeders. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Myiarchus crinitus Size: 17-21cm long, weighing 27-40g Description: They have a brown head, back, wings, and tail with a yellow underside. They also have a crest that they display when excited or aggressive. Diet: Mostly insects and other invertebrates such as flies, wasps, spiders, butterflies, moths, beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets; they will sometimes eat small fruits and berries. Range: Throughout the eastern half of the United States and into Mexico and parts of Central America; found in small areas of the western US and Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Found in clearings of deciduous forests and in mixed woodlands Status: Least Concern (globally)
Red-shouldered Hawk Scientific Name: Buteo lineatus Size: 43-61cm long, weighing 486-774g Description: Adults have a brown head, a dark brown back, and reddish underparts with dark brown streaks. The tail is blackish-brown with narrow white bands. Juveniles are brown on the back and white on the chest with brown streaks. All ages have narrow pale crescents near wingtips in flight. They also have a sharp hooked beak for tearing into their prey. Diet: Small mammals such as chipmunks, shrews, and voles, as well as frogs, lizards, insects, crabs, and smaller birds. Range: Can be found throughout the eastern and in parts of the western United States as well as into Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America. Typical Habitat Description: Typically found in bottomland woods, wooded streamsides and mixed and deciduous forest. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Archilochus colubris Size: 7-9cm long, weighing 2-6g Description: Males are a metallic green with whitish-gray underneath and an iridescent red patch on their throats called a gorget, while females have a notched tail and feathers banded in green, black, and white with a white throat that may be lightly streaked. Both have long beaks for sipping nectar. Diet: Nectar from flowering plants and trees as well as some small insects and spiders. Range: Mostly found in the eastern half of the US, and into Mexico and Central America Typical Habitat Description: Found in deciduous and pine forests and forest edges, orchards, and gardens. Status: Least Concern (globally)
White-breasted Nuthatch Scientific Name: Sitta carolinensis Size: 13-14cm long, weighing 18-30g Description: Upper parts are a pale blue-gray with a black cap on the crown of its head and white patches on the cheeks. The underside is also white and the outer tail is banded diagonally with a black stripe; there is also white at the diagonal tips of the tail. There may be a faint black eye line as well. The tail to body is shorter than most birds and nuthatches have strong feet so that they can hop around on trees to eat their food. Diet: These birds are omnivorous which means that they eat insects and seeds. Sometimes they take large nuts such as acorns or hickory nuts and crack them open in the crevices of bark on trees. Range: Found throughout most of the US (more in the east than in the west), as well as in some parts of Canada and Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: They prefer to live in old growth in deciduous, pine-oak and mixed forests; oak, beech, and hickory trees are preferred because they have edible seeds. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Barred Owl Scientific Name: Strix varia Size: 40-63cm long, weighing 610-1,150g Description: This owl is grayish or brown in color with darker brown wings that have white spots and a lighter brown underside. They have a round face, and the facial disk is surrounded by brown and white barred feathers. They have feathered legs, aside from a few subspecies in Florida and Texas. Diet: They eat small mammals from the ground, roosting birds, bats, and even reptiles or fish. Range: Found throughout the eastern half of the US and as well as in its very northwestern corner; can also be seen in some parts of Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Mostly seen in deciduous, mixed, and occasionally coniferous forests, especially in areas with a water source nearby. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Spizella passerina Size: 12-15cm long, weighing 11-16g Description: Adults are whitish-gray on the underside with brown streaks on its wings and back. They have a rusty reddish-brown cap on top of their head and a white line above their eye. They have short brown or black beaks. Diet: Mainly feeds on seeds throughout the year, but also eats insects during the summer months. Range: Found all throughout the United States, up into Canada, and down into Mexico and Central America. Typical Habitat Description: Found in fields, grasslands, prairies, and deciduous forests. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Pipilo erythrophthalmus Size: 17.3-23cm long, weighing 32-53g Description: Adults have red eyes, rufous on their sides, a white underside, and a long dark tail with white tips. Males have a black head, wings, breast, back and tail; these parts are brown on females. Diet: These birds eat a variety of invertebrates, seeds, fruits, and occasionally small amphibians and reptiles. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States. Typical Habitat Description: Typically found foraging on the ground in many habitats such as grasslands, marshes, mature forests, and prairies. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Melospiza melodia Size: 11-18cm long, weighing 11.9-53g Description: These birds are brown on the upper parts with darker streaks on the wings and back. On the underside, they are white with a lot of dark streaking and a big dark brown patch on their breast. They have a brown cap on top of their head, and a gray face with a brown streak through each eye. Diet: These birds eat insects, seeds and even small crustaceans if they live in a marshy area. Range: Found in much of the eastern United States and seen heavily along the west coast as well; their range also reaches up into Canada and a little bit down into Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Although they can be found in a lot of the habitats in the US, Song Sparrows prefer brush lands and marshes and can be found in small trees or foraging on the ground. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Baeolophus bicolor Size: 14-16cm long, weighing 18-26g Description: These birds have a gray head and back, dark gray wings, and a gray tail. They have a white underside with rust colored patches on their flanks and a distinctive gray crest on their head; they also have short black beaks. Diet: Tufted Titmice eat nuts, berries, insects, small fruits, seeds, and snails. Range: Found throughout the eastern US. Typical Habitat Description: Found in deciduous and mixed forests as well as shrub lands, parks and gardens. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Toxostoma rufum Size: 23.5-30.5cm long, weighing 61-89g Description: Brown Thrashers are a bright reddish-brown color, with a streaked white breast and a long rufous tail with rounded edges. They have yellow eyes, and long gray or black beaks. Diet: These birds eat insects, berries, nuts, seeds, earthworms, snails, lizards, and frogs. Range: Can be seen in scattered areas throughout the eastern US and sometimes (though it is less likely) in the central states and into Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Birds are typically seen at the edge of woodlands, in dense brush, and in thickets, but may also live near suburbs or agricultural areas. They forage on the ground, but can be seen in low trees and bushes as well. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Gray Catbird Scientific Name: Dumetella carolinensis Size: 20.5-24cm long, weighing 23.2-56.5g Description: This bird is almost entirely a slate gray color with a black cap on their head and a long black beak and black legs. Diet: These birds typically eat fruits and berries as well as worms, beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and moths. Range: Mainly found in the eastern and scattered parts of western US, as well as the islands just south of it, Mexico into Central America and north into parts of Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Catbirds prefer to live in areas with thick undergrowth, especially if there are a lot of thorny plants present. They like to live in scrublands, overgrown farms/orchards, and at the edges of woodlands. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Eastern Bluebird Scientific Name: Sialia sialis Size: 16-21cm long, weighing 27-34g Description: Male bluebirds have bright blue upper parts and a white underside with a brownish-orange spot on its breast. Females are a lighter gray-blue in color with a more light orange coloration on the breast. Diet: These birds mostly eat insects and other invertebrates; occasionally, they eat wild fruits or berries. They particularly enjoy grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, and beetles. Range: Found throughout central and eastern parts of the US and into some parts of Mexico and Central America, as well as into Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Bluebirds prefer to be in open country around trees, but in places with little undergrowth and ground cover; before fire suppression they lived in burnt out pine savannas, beaver ponds, and openings in forest. Now they are commonly found in pastures, suburban parks, backyards, and on golf courses. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Hermit Thrush Scientific Name: Catharus guttatus Size: 15-18cm long, weighing 18-37g Description: Adults are mostly brown on their upper parts with a distinguishing rufous tail and rump. Their underparts are white and they have a streaked breast. They have pinkish legs with a white eye ring around each eye. Diet: These birds eat a variety of insects and berries, depending on the time of year. Range: Found throughout the Northeast and eastern parts of the US as well as scattered around parts of central and western states. It is also found in some parts of Mexico and Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Founded in wooded areas with lots of thick brush. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Swainson’s Thrush Scientific Name: Catharus ustulatus Size: 16-20cm long, weighing 23-45g Description: Adults are brown on the upper parts. The underparts are white with brown on the flanks; the breast is lighter brown with darker spots. They have pink legs and a light brown eye ring. Birds in the east are more olive-brown on the upper parts. Diet: This bird mainly eats insects, fruits and berries. Range: Scattered all throughout North America, Central America, and small parts of South America. Typical Habitat Description: These thrushes reside in coniferous and deciduous forests with a lot of thick brush Status: Least Concern (globally); Significantly Rare (NC, US)
Black Vulture Scientific Name: Coragyps atratus Size: 56-74cm long, weighing 1.6-3kg Description: They display a glossy black plumage, with a featherless head and neck. They have brown eyes and a grayish-white beak and legs. They can be distinguished from Turkey Vultures in flight by the white-tipped feathers on their wings. Diet: Vultures typically feed on carrion, but with the expansion of people, they have also branched out to scavenging garbage cans. Range: All throughout the southeastern US, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Typical Habitat Description: This raptor enjoys areas of open land with small clumps of trees. They can also be found in moist lowland forests, shrub lands and grasslands, wetlands and swamps, pastures, and heavily degraded former forests. Status: Least Concern (globally); Critically Imperiled (IL, IN, AZ, MA, MO, OH, OK, and WV, USA)
Scientific Name: Setophaga citrina Size: 13cm long, weighing 9-12g Description: This bird has an olive green back, wings, and a yellow face and underside. Males have a distinct black hood and bib, as well as a gray beak. Juveniles (shown above) and females lack the hood and have lighter colored beaks. Diet: This bird feeds mainly on insects. Range: Found at different times of the year throughout much of the eastern United States and in parts of southern Mexico and on islands in the Gulf of Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: This warbler can be found in the underbrush or flitting down to the ground for food; they are rarely ever seen high up in trees. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Vireo griseus Size: 11-13cm long, weighing 10-14g Description: This bird’s head and back are a grayish-olive color, and the wings have a white bar on them. The front of their face is bright yellow and its underside is pale yellow; their chin is white, as is their iris. They have gray feet and beaks. Diet: This bird feeds on insects, especially caterpillars, and during the winter it eats berries. Range: This bird can be found throughout the eastern United States and into southern regions of Mexico, as well as islands in the Gulf of Mexico; however, they are migratory so they are only seen in each of these areas at certain times of the year. Typical Habitat Description: This bird preferentially occupies bushes and shrubs in overgrown pastures or abandoned cultivation areas. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Downy Woodpecker Scientific Name: Dryobates pubescens Size: 14-18cm long, weighing 20-33g Description: Downy woodpeckers are mainly black on their upper parts and wings with a white throat, underside and spotting on their wings. Males have a red spot at the back of their heads, while females do not. They have a fairly long tail for balancing on trees and short legs with strong feet. Diet: This bird eats seeds, berries, and insects from inside dead trees. Range: This bird can be found in the northern and eastern regions of the US, as well as some smaller regions on the west coast. Additionally, their range reaches into Canada. Typical Habitat Description: This woodpecker is found throughout deciduous forests on dead or dying tree branches. Status: Least Concern
Pileated Woodpecker Scientific Name: Dryocopus pileatus Size: 40-49cm long, weighing 250-400g Description: This large woodpecker is mostly black with a white face, with a black line through the eye and a red crest. Diet: These woodpeckers typically eat insects such as carpenter ants and wood-boring beetle larvae; they also eat berries, fruits, and nuts. Range: Found throughout the eastern US and along the west coast. Typical Habitat Description: These woodpeckers prefer mature woodlands and parks with a lot of trees. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Melanerpes carolinus Size: 22.8-26.7cm long, weighing 56-91g Description: All adults are light gray on the face and underside and sometimes a small patch of red. They also have a red cap and a black and white checkered wings and a tail. Younger birds do not have a red cap. Diet: These woodpeckers eat berries, fruits, nuts, beetles and other insects that they find in trees; in winter, they find convenient holes in trees where they can store a cache of food. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States and into Canada. Typical Habitat Description: This woodpecker is found in deciduous forests on dead or dying tree branches. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Thryothorus ludovicianus Size: 12.5-14cm long, weighing 18-23g Description: The upper parts of this bird are dark brown, and the underside is a tawny brown color. These wrens also have a white eye stripe and chin, and they also have a long tail. Diet: This bird’s diet mainly consists of insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, katydids, spiders, ants, bees, and wasps as well as small lizards and tree frogs. Range: This bird is found throughout the eastern United States and into a small part of southern Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Carolina Wrens are typically seen foraging on the ground for food or lower tree levels Status: Least Concern (globally)
Scientific Name: Cambarus bartonii Size: 13-22mm long Description: This species is a gray brown color, but occasionally will have mottling or a saddle shaped marking. Diet: Crayfish are omnivorous, feeding on insects, other invertebrates, small vertebrates like tadpoles, algae, other water plants, and recently dead animals. Range: It is found in some Canadian provinces and in the United States from Maine to Alabama; in the southern regions of its range, it is limited to the Appalachian Mountains and their foothills. Typical Habitat Description: Crayfish prefer cool, rocky streams or shallow lakes to live in. Status: Least Concern (globally); Imperiled (ME, MA, NH, and NJ, USA); Vulnerable (NY, OH, and VT, USA)
Bluegill Scientific Name: Lepomis macrochirus Size: 4-16in long Description: A mostly gray or bluish fish with a distinctive black spot on “the ear” on both sides. It has a yellowish breast or abdomen, with the male’s breast being bright orange. They have deep, but flattened bodies. Diet: These fish feed on plankton and other aquatic creatures. Range: Can be found in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains from coastal Virginia to Florida, west to Texas and northern Mexico, and north to western Minnesota and western New York. It has been introduced to other continents and has become a pest in some of these places. Typical Habitat Description: They live in the shallow waters of ponds, lakes, streams, creeks, and rivers; furthermore, they prefer to hide in places with a lot of aquatic vegetation such as around logs or rocks. Status: Least Concern (globally)
Fungi *note: although some of the following fungi are labeled as edible, DO NOT GO OUT AND TRY THEM WITHOUT CONSULTING SOMEONE WITH A LOT OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THEM!!! Many mushrooms can easily be confused and cause harm to a person if consumed. 61
Black Knot Scientific Name: Apiosporina morbosa Size: 12.7-305mm long, up to 51mm wide Description: A disease that affects cherry, plum, apricot, and chokecherry trees. It is a bulging black fungus that looks somewhat like knots that grow on trees naturally Range: Occurs mainly in the northeastern United States, but can also be found in scattered places throughout the rest of the country and into Canada; it has also been found in some small areas of Europe and even Russia. Status/Impact: This is a fairly common disease for trees, but it is very harmful to orchards if left unchecked.
Scientific Name: Meripilus sumstinei Size: Typically 41cm or larger Description: A fan or “spoon” shaped mushroom that is a light yellowish-gray when old as well as black when it is fresh. It can be found on the ground at the base of hardwood trees or stumps, especially oaks. Range: Mostly found in the northeastern United States and parts of the southeast, but it has been seen infrequently in the American west, as well as in parts of Canada, Mexico, South America, and Asia Status/Impact: N/A
Scientific Name: Kretzschmaria deusta Size: Varies Description: Fruit heads are formed in the spring and are initially whitish-gray in color. As they mature throughout the season, they become a more charcoal gray color. Range: Found in the eastern half of the United States and along a strip of the west coast. Also can be found in a few spots in Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, and Russia. Status/Impact: N/A
Brown Roll-Rim Scientific Name: Paxillus involutus Size: The cap is 4-12cm wide, up 6cm tall Description: A depressed center cap and a rolled rim (hence the name) that can be reddish, yellowish, or olive-brown in color. It’s texture starts out smooth, then becomes downy, and is sticky when wet. On the underside of the cap there are the brownish-yellow gills that are forked and peel away easily. This fungus darkens when bruised and may have darker spots. It is sour in taste and odor, and is allegedly good for cooking. Range: Found in the eastern half of the United States and along a strip of the west coast, as well as all throughout Europe and Eastern Russia. It can also be found in some smaller areas of South America, South Africa, and Australia. Status/Impact: N/A
Scientific Name: Scleroderma citrinum Size: 1-4in wide, 1-2in tall Description: A light brownish-white color with darker brown speckles and a rough texture. On the inside, they are black in color and will decay to release their spores. Range: Extremely common throughout much of Europe and found in the US in the east and on the west coast. It can also be found in parts of South America, Central America, Russia, Asia, Canada, South Africa, and Australia. Status/Impact: Similar to edible truffles and puffballs, but if ingested will cause gastrointestinal distress in humans and animals.
Dead Man’s Fingers
Scientific Name: Xylaria polymorpha Size: 2-8cm tall, 0.5-3 wide Description: The dark fruiting body (often black or brown, but sometimes shades of blue/green) is white on the inside, with a blackened dotted area all around. Range: Seen in scattered areas throughout eastern United States and rarely in the northwest. Also commonly seen in Central America and southern Mexico. As well as throughout Europe, in parts of South Africa, South America, India, and Australia. Status/Impact: N/A
False Caesar’s Mushroom
Scientific Name: Amanita parcivolvata Size: Cap is 3-12 in diameter, stem is 3-12cm long and about 1.5cm wide. Description: This mushroom has a bright red cap with warts that are pale yellow or white, but these may wash off in the rain. The gills are close together and yellowish or white in color. The stem is also a pale yellow to powdery white color. Range: Found throughout the southeastern United States and further north into parts of Maryland and New York. Status/Impact: N/A
False Turkey-Tail Scientific Name: Stereum versicolor Size: 1-7cm high Description: Grows in clusters of brackets; each individual bracket is shell shaped, and can range in color from a deep reddish-brown to a light orange, often having more than one color and a white rim around the edge. Range: Found in the eastern half of the United States and along a strip of the west coast as well as in Mexico, Europe, Australia, India, South Africa, and New Zealand.
Green Russula Scientific Name: Russula virescens Size: Cap diameter up to 15cm, varying stipe size up to 8cm tall and 4cm wide Description: The cap is a gray-green in the center with varying grayish-green to grass green coloration on the outer areas of the cap. The gills are white to creme colored and fairly crowded together. The stem, or stipe, is cylindrical and white, but it may turn slightly brown with age. Range: Mainly found in the eastern US, but can also be found in parts of Europe, Russia, and Asia Status: N/A
Scientific Name: Lactifluus hygrophoroides Size: cap is 2-5in in diameter, stalk is 2-4in tall Description: The cap is orange with a darker disc that is smooth to velvety and mostly flat to depressed; it has an uplifted margin in age. The gills are white / cream, attached to slightly decurrent, and distant. The stalk is a shade of orange, and may be yellow at the base. Range: Mainly found in the eastern US, but has been occasionally found in parts of Europe and Mexico. Status/Impact: N/A
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Scientific Name: Hericium erinaceus Size: Spines are greater than 1cm in length Description: A white or creme colour mushroom with a distinctive round shape and long spines. It is typically found during the later summer and fall on hardwoods such as the American Beech. Range: Found in the eastern half of the United States, along a strip of the west coast, and in parts of Europe, Asia, Mexico, and South America. Status/Impact: Least concern; can be eaten, but no known medicinal values
Milk-white Toothed Polypore Scientific Name: Irpex lacteus Size: Varies Description: Brackets that are gray, dirty white, or tan with old age, but never dark brown. Typically lays flat to the tree, but when weathered protrudes further. Range: Found in the eastern half of the United States and along a strip of the west coast as well as in Europe, eastern Russia, South America, and India. Status/Impact: Rots the wood of trees that it is on and kills them.
Oak Bracket Scientific Name: Pseudoinonotus dryadeus Size: Main body is anywhere from 5-30cm in width Description: It’s main color ranges from white to brown with tubes inside that ooze an orangish-brown liquid when it is young. The spores are white and smooth and can be found on the buff underside. Range: Found in the eastern half of the United States, along a strip of the west coast, and in South Africa, Europe, and eastern parts of Russia. Status/Impact: N/A
Oak-loving Gymnopus Scientific Name: Gymnopus dryophilus Size: Cap is 2-5cm across, stem is up to 8cm long with a diameter of 4cm Description: The cap varies in color from russet to ochre and the whitish gills are close together. The stem is hard and whitish-brown in color. Range: Found in the eastern half of the United States, along a strip of the west coast, and in Europe, Australia, Mexico, Central America, and parts of South Africa. Status/Impact: This mushroom is edible, but not worthwhile. The stem is hard, and it is not recommended for eating.
Orange Jelly Spot Scientific Name: Dacrymyces chrysospermus Size: Varies Description: This is a watery, orange, and irregularly-lobed jelly fungus that can be found on dead and decaying trees and stumps. Range: Found in the eastern half of the United States, along a strip of the west coast, and Europe, Australia, Mexico, Central America, and parts of South Africa. Status/Impact: N/A
Scientific Name: Apioperdon pyriforme Size: 13-38mm wide, 13-45mm tall Description: A pear shaped yellow or brownish puffball with a distinctive pore at the top that grows on decaying wood in summer. They are attached to dead trees by strands called mycelium. Range: Found throughout eastern states, northern states, and along the west coast in the US. It is also found in Europe, South Africa, parts of Russia, South America, Asia, and Australia. Status/Impact: Considered edible when young and fresh, but the top should be cut open to ensure identification is correct.
Scientific Name: Phaeoclavulina myceliosa Size: 2.5-3cm tall Description: A rare species of coral fungus that is usually yellowish-orange in color, and is typically found growing out of decaying leaves. Each of the branches are weakly attached to the base. Range: Found in very scattered areas in the eastern United States and slightly more commonly found on the west coast. It can also be found in some places in Europe, Russia, Australia, Mexico, and Central America. Status/Impact: N/A
Scientific Name: Cantharellus cinnabarinus Size: Cap is 1-4cm wide, stem is 1-4cm wide. Description: Small, reddish-orange to bright orange mushroom with false gills of a slightly lighter shade underneath; usually grows together in clumps. Range: Found in the eastern United States, southern Mexico, and a few parts of Europe and Russia. Status/Impact: Edible and coveted by many mushroom foraging groups.
Scientific Name: Leucoagaricus americanus Size: Cap is 3-15cm wide, stipe is 7-14cm tall Description: This mushroom is oval in shape when it is immature and more conical as it gets older The cap starts out dry and smooth, but as it ages it starts to get reddish to reddish-brown flakes. The stem starts out white and becomes pink to dark reddish-brown with age. It grows in places with decaying trees or leaves. Range: Found throughout the eastern US and along the west coast; also found in some parts of Europe and Asia. Status/Impact: Considered edible.
Ringless Honey Mushroom
Scientific Name: Armillaria tabescens Size: Cap is 3-6cm across at maturity, stem is 5-8cm long and 0.5-1cm thick Description: Found growing on underground roots (may appear to be growing from the grass) in clusters. When young, the mushrooms are covered in brown scales that gravitate towards the center as they get older. The cap is tawny or tan in color, and the stem is grayish to brownish in color. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States, Europe, eastern Russia and Mexico. Status/Impact: This fungus infects and kills trees, feeding off of the decaying tree after it is dead. They are edible, but have reportedly caused upset stomachs.
Shaggy Bracket Scientific Name: Inonotus hispidus Size: 10-20cm across and tall Description: A whitish-orange to brown colored bracket that grows on trees. It is fuzzy in texture on the top and rougher on the bottom. Range: Found in some places in the eastern and southern parts of the United States; also found in parts of Mexico, England, and other parts of Europe. Status/Impact: N/A
Violet Gray Bolete Scientific Name: Tylopilus plumbeoviolaceus Size: The cap of the mushroom is 7-15cm in diameter, and the stem is 8-13cm long and 2.5-4cm thick. Description: This mushroom is a violet-gray in color and bumpy when it is young. As it gets older, it smooths out and becomes a chocolateybrown color. The underside of the cap is depressed towards the stem. The stem is a buff brown-white in color and may be bulbous. It does not have an odor. Range: Found throughout the eastern US and into some parts of Canada near Maine; can also be found in Texas, Arizona, and some parts of Mexico. Status/Impact: It is edible, but it tastes bitter even when cooked.
Weeping Widow Scientific Name: Lacrymaria lacrymabunda Size: Cap size 4-12cm, stem height 5-10cm and 5-10mm in diameter Description: The cap starts out wooly and bell-shaped, but at maturity it becomes more broad. The gills start out as a yellowish colour, but become mottled with brown and eventually black with spores. The gills leak black droplets when moist, which is where this mushroom gets its name. The stem is a paler brown than the cap and more russet towards the base. Range: It is found in North America, Central America, Europe, northern Asia, and New Zealand. Status/Impact: Many sources say it is edible, but it has been reported to cause stomach issues.
Scientific Name: Amanita flavoconia Size: Cap diameter is 3-9cm, stem is 5.5-11.5cm long and 7-14mm thick Description: The cap is an orange or orangish-yellow color with darker yellow warts that develop with age. At first they may be peeled off easily, but become more permanent as time goes on. The cap is smooth and sticky beneath the warts. The flesh is white and the gills are packed close together with tinged yellow edges. The stem is white to yellowish-orange and typically has yellow flakes at the bottom. Range: Found in the eastern US as well as in parts of Canada and Mexico. Occasionally seen in parts of Europe and Russia. Status/Impact: N/A
Insects & Mollusks 86
Ailanthus Webworm Moth
Scientific Name: Atteva aurea Size: Wingspan of 18-30mm Description: Mostly a reddish, tawny-brown color with black legs. On its wings and sides, it has four sets of white markings outlined in black. Its underneath is a darker brown, and it has a white head with big black eyes. Diet: Adults drink nectar from flowers and larvae eat Ailanthus and Paradise Trees. Range: Found throughout the continental US, Mexico, Central America, and occasionally eastern Canada Typical Habitat Description: Old fields and gardens. Status: N/A
American Bird Grasshopper
Scientific Name: Schistocerca americana Size: Up to 5.5cm long Description: The adults are a yellow-brown in color with white markings; the wings have large, black spots. They have brown, striped eyes and long, thick legs. Diet: They eat leaves from trees and plants. Range: Scattered throughout the southern half of the US. Typical Habitat Description: Can be found in nearly all land habitats in North America. Status: N/A
Asian Lady Beetle Scientific Name: Harmonia axyridis Size: 5.5-8.5mm long Description: An orange or red beetle with a hard shell and wings underneath. They have 0-22 black spots of varying sizes on this shell and a black head with two white spots. It has a dark underside with a wide reddishbrown border. Diet: Insects and aphids; this is helpful for farmers, because they eat the pests that destroy their crops. Range: Commonly found throughout the US, South America, and Europe; also found in some parts of Russia, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. Typical Habitat Description: Found in places with a lot of sunlight and food such as on window interiors or forest openings. They will typically congregate in these areas in large numbers. Status: Least Concern (globally)/INVASIVE
Bald-faced Hornet Scientific Name: Dolichovespula maculata Size: Around 19mm long Description: This hornet is distinguished from other species because of its white face and three white stripes at the ends of their bodies. They are otherwise black, and larger than other species in their genus. The workers are smaller than the queen, but the size may vary from nest to nest. Nests are layered hexagonal combs covered in a mottled, gray papery envelope. These hornets defend their nests viciously and are capable of stinging multiple times as well as using these stingers to spray venom into the eyes of intruders. Diet: Adults are mostly carnivorous and feed on insects, carrion, and spiders; however, they consume nectar to feed their young which they get from flowering plants and fruits. Range: The bald-faced hornet lives in North America, including: Canada, the Rocky Mountains, the western coast of the United States, and most of the eastern United States. It is most commonly found in the southeastern United States. Typical Habitat Description: They build their nests in trees or bushes, but can occasionally be found under rock overhangs or on the sides of buildings. Status: N/A
Banded Net-winged Beetle Scientific Name: Calopteron reticulatum Size: 10-15mm long Description: Beetle with two orange and two black bands on its wings. It also has a small orange head with a black stripe down the middle and long antennae. Diet: Adults eat insects, pollen, nectar, and honeydew; larvae eat small invertebrates, as well as slime-mold or fungi. Range: Found throughout North America, but mainly in the eastern United States and Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Typically found resting on vegetation in moist forests. Status: N/A
Columbian Trig Scientific Name: Cyrtoxipha columbiana Size: 7-9mm long Description: A neon or yellowish-green cricket-type bug with bright red or yellow eyes. Diet: Leaves, flowers, small insects, and insect eggs make up this species’ diet. Range: Can be found in regions scattered around the eastern US. Typical Habitat Description: Found in foliage of deciduous trees and shrubs; often found high up Status: N/A
Common Eastern Bumble Bee
Scientific Name: Bombus impatiens Size: Queen 17-23mm long, workers 8.5-16mm long Description: These bees have short and even hair and a medium sized head. They have a pale yellowish face with a black spot at the back of its head between its wings. Their back is also black with thin yellow stripes. Diet: They drink nectar and eat pollen from plants such as barberry, mountain laurel, rose, clover, purple vetch, pickerel weed, purple loosestrife, buttonbush, jewel-weed, Beggar’s ticks, goldenrod, boneset, and burdock. Range: Mainly found in the eastern half of the United States, but also found in parts of Mexico and Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Can be found in temperate forests and gardens with a lot of flowers. Status: Least Concern
Common True Katydid Scientific Name: Pterophylla camellifolia Size: Up to 50cm in length Description: This insect is entirely green in color with bright yellow eyes and extremely long antennae. They, unlike other katydids, do not fly even though they have wings. Diet: Mainly foliage of trees and bushes, but have been seen eating fruit and a few tiny insects such as aphids. Range: Commonly found in the eastern United States. Typical Habitat Description: Found in deciduous forests, but are rarely seen. Status: N/A
Dusky-winged Hover Fly Scientific Name: Ocyptamus fuscipennis Size: 7-11.5mm long Description: A dark species with dark wings, large red eyes, and a reddish-brown tail. They have small wings that move so quickly that they aren’t visible when in flight. Diet: Larvae prey on aphids and adults eat plant matter and nectar. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States and into Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Can be found in gardens or around flowering plants in forests. Status: N/A
Eastern Calligrapher Scientific Name: Toxomerus geminatus Size: 6-7.5mm long Description: A small yellow fly with big red eyes and black stripes on its back. It has tiny and transparent wings. Diet: Larvae feed on aphids and mites, while adults feed on plant nectar. Range: Found throughout the eastern US and into parts of Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Typically found in gardens and forests around flowering plants. Status: N/A
Eastern Carpenter Bee Scientific Name: Xylocopa virginica Size: 12.5-22mm long Description: Dark wings, a darker yellow fuzzy head with a small black spot on top of head and between wings; A completely black stinger and fuzzy black legs. Diet: Nectar and pollen from flowering plants. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States. Typical Habitat Description: Found around flowering plants in gardens, parks, and forests as well as around buildings with a lot of wood. Status: N/A
Eastern Eyed Click Beetle Scientific Name: Alaus oculatus Size: 25-45mm long Description: They have a black, elongated body with some silvery-white scales, and two large ovals of dark scales surrounded by white on the pronotum. It can catapult itself out of danger by using a click mechanism which consists of a stout spine on the prosternum and a matching groove in the mesosternum. Diet: Adults eat nectar and plant juices, while larvae feed on the grubs of wood boring beetles. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States and into parts of Canada near Maine. Typical Habitat Description: This beetle can be found in deciduous and mixed forests. Status: Vulnerable in Quebec, Canada
Eastern Tent Caterpillar Moth
Scientific Name: Malacosoma americana Size: Caterpillars reach 4-5cm in length; adults about 2.5cm across Description: Caterpillars are black with an orange-outlined, white stripe down the middle of their back with fuzzy white and gray tufts at the bottom. It also has blue spots along its sides. Caterpillars nest, live, and feed together from the time they are born until the time they are ready to become moths. Moths are mainly a tawny brown color with two lighter brown stripes on their wings and light brown fuzzy head and legs. Diet: Caterpillars eat leaves and adults do not eat. Range: Found throughout eastern and central United States as well as in some parts of Canada. Typical Habitat Description: The caterpillar “tents” can be found in cherry, apple, and rose trees. It can also be found on other broad-leaf trees and shrubs, such as ash, birch, will, maple, oak and poplar. Status: Vulnerable in Saskatchewan, Canada
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail -.. . .-. .—. -.— -.-. —- .— - . .-. .—. .. .-.. .-.. .- .-.
Scientific Name: Papilio glaucus Size: Wingspan 7.9-14cm across Description: Males are yellow with four black "tiger stripes" on each forewing. The outer edge of the forewing is black with a row of yellow spots. The veins are marked with black. The postmedian area of the hindwing is black with yellow spots along the margin. The inner margin of the hindwing has small red and blue spots. The ventral forewing margin has a yellow bar that is broken into spots. Females can be two different colors. The yellow morph differs from the male in having a blue post-median area on the dorsal hindwing. In the dark morph, the areas that are normally yellow are replaced with dark gray or black. The bluish postmedian area on the ventral hindwing has one row of orange spots. A shadow of the "tiger stripes'' can be seen on the underside of some dark females. Diet: Caterpillars eat leaves from various trees and plants and adults drink nectar from the flowers of a variety of plants. Range: Found throughout the eastern, and parts of the central, US. Typical Habitat Description: Found in fields, rivers, creeks, roadsides, woodlands, gardens, and deciduous forests. Status: N/A
Scientific Name: Neohelix albolabris Size: Shells can be up to 30-40mm in diameter in different regions of the range. Description: They can have light brown to dark brown mottled shells, and light brown bodies with white markings Diet: Fungi, tree sap, lichens, and other vegetation; they have also been found to eat plants out of gardens and compost. Range: Found throughout the eastern US and into some areas of Canada Typical Habitat Description: Found in damp, soil-rich habitats such as under rocks and logs.
Scientific Name: Calopteryx maculata Size: 39-57mm long Description: Males are an iridescent blue-green color with black wings, while females are a duller brown in color with smokey wings that have a white “jewel” spot at the tip. Diet: Small insects such as flies and mosquitos. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States and into parts of Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Usually found near wooded streams and rivers, but have also been known to thrive apart from water. Status: Possibly extinct in Manitoba, Canada and critically imperiled in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Elegant Grass Veneer Scientific Name: Microcrambus elegans Size: Wingspan is 12-15mm long Description: Small moth that is mainly a grayish-white color with darker markings ranging from tawny brown to dark brown on the wings. Diet: Larvae feed on grasses; adults do not feed. Range: Found throughout the eastern US, parts of Canada, and in some parts of Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Found in fields and other grassy areas. Status: N/A
End Band Net-winged Beetle Scientific Name: Calopteron terminale Size: About 10-15mm long Description: A mostly orange beetle, very similar to the Banded Net-winged Beetle, except it only has a black band at the end of its wings and has a traverse depression in its back about midway down. It still has the orange head with a black stripe down the middle, and the textured wings. Diet: Adults eat insects, pollen, nectar, and honeydew; larvae eat small invertebrates and slime mold or fungi. Range: Seen scattered around the eastern US and in much of Southern Mexico and Central America; can also be found in some parts of Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Found in deciduous forests and lay their eggs in dead or dying trees. Status: N/A
Enicospilus purgatus Scientific Name: Enicospilus purgatus Size: 38mm long Description: Reddish-brown in color with yellow and black eyes and a yellow marking on the top of the head. It has long legs, antennae, and a long stinger. Diet: Mostly moths and other winged insects. Range: Found throughout North and South America, as well as parts of Europe. Typical Habitat Description: Usually found on or around man-made structures with trees or plants nearby. Status: N/A
Euodynerus hidalgo Scientific Name: Euodynerus hidalgo Size: 9-19mm long Description: A mostly black wasp with stripes of red and yellow on the back and the stinger; both size and placement of the stripes vary greatly throughout the range. It also has red legs, black antennae, and black or reddish wings. Builds its nest out of mud or clay on the banks of creeks or rivers. Diet: Flower nectar and small caterpillars to feed their young. Range: Found scattered throughout the southern half of the United States and in parts of eastern Mexico; can also be seen in some parts of the American northeast. Typical Habitat Description: Found on or around areas with flowering plants. Status: Imperiled in Ontario, Canada.
Fiery Skipper Scientific Name: Hylephila phyleus Size: Approximately 2.5cm long Description: Caterpillars are brownish-yellow with a dark head. Males are orange or yellowish-orange with black spots, while females are dark brown with orange or yellow spots. They hold their wings in a triangular shape when they land, and rarely open their wings entirely when sitting still. They do this to better absorb the sun’s rays. Diet: Caterpillars eat leaves and grass, while adults drink nectar and occasionally eat mud for minerals. Range: Found in the southern and eastern halves of the US, as well as in much of Mexico, Central America, and northern parts of South America. Typical Habitat Description: It can be found in fields, rivers, creeks, roadsides, woodlands, and gardens, as well as deciduous forests.
Fork-tailed Bush Katydid Scientific Name: Scudderia furcata Size: 14-75mm long Description: A darkish green grasshopper-type katydid with long, skinny back legs. They have bright green to greenish-yellow eyes, brown feet, and long antennae. Diet: Typically feed other insects, small vertebrates such as snakes and lizards, but they also eat parts of plants such as leaves, flowers, bark, and seeds. Range: Found throughout most of the U.S. and in parts of Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Weedy fields, thickets, forest edges, and meadows. Status: N/A
Four-lined Plant Bug Scientific Name: Poecilocapsus lineatus Size: 7-7.5mm long, 3.5mm wide Description: This bug has a bright orange head and underside a yellow wing shell that has black stripe-like markings, and two small black dots at the rear. Its legs are also yellow with some black bands. Diet: Mints, herbaceous plants, and occasionally wood. Range: Found mainly in the northeast, but also in southern parts of the United States as well as parts of Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Can be found on various types of plants and bushes such as the wild hydrangea. Status: N/A
Globose Dome Snail Scientific Name: Ventridens ligera Size: Adult shells are 7.5-10mm in diameter and 5-7mm tall Description: This snail typically has a brown, spiral shaped shell with a purplish-blue body and eyes. Diet: Dead and decaying plants, fungi, leaves, soft stems, and vegetables Range: Very small and scattered part of the eastern US. Typical Habitat Description: Can be found on leaves, under rocks, and on the ground. Status: Critically Imperiled in parts of Canada
Goldenrod Soldier Beetle Scientific Name: Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus Size: 12.5-19mm long Description: An orange-brown beetle with a gray head, a black spot on the pronotum and two black ovalshaped spots at the back of the wings. Antennae and legs are also black. It can be infected by a parasitic fungus that will cause it to attach to a flower as it dies in the mating position. This is how the disease spreads. Diet: Larvae eat soft-bodied insects and grasshopper eggs. Adults eat pollen from goldenrod and other flowers. Range: Found commonly throughout the American Midwest, as well as the northeast US and the panhandle of Florida. Typical Habitat Description: They can be found in open fields, prairies, grasslands, parks, roadsides; also sand dunes, and abandoned fields Status: N/A
Guinea Paper Wasp Scientific Name: Polistes exclamans Size: 12-16.5mm long Description: Reddish-brown and yellow wasp with thin brownish wings and a stinger. Diet: They feed on caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae as well as the nectar from some flowering plants. Range: Can be seen throughout the southeastern and parts of the southwestern US; also, Mexico and parts of Hawaii. Typical Habitat Description: They are found in meadows, orchards, woodlands, playgrounds, cemeteries, and urban and suburban areas. Status: N/A
Hackberry Emperor Scientific Name: Asterocampa celtis Size: About 57mm across Description: A primarily brown butterfly with white and yellowish spots around the edges of the wings and white-tipped antennae. Diet: Adults eat hackberry sap, feces, dead animals including decaying pigs, snakes, and dogs, and old fruit while larvae eat leaves and leaf buds of hackberry trees. Range: Found scattered throughout the eastern and midwestern United States and in parts of Mexico Typical Habitat Description: Typically found near or around hackberry trees, especially those near water. Status: Vulnerable in Canada
House Fly Scientific Name: Musca domestica Size: 6-7mm long, with a 13-15mm wingspan Description: They have large, red eyes, a black and white face, a black and somewhat hairy body, and a dirty-yellowish rear. Diet: Adults eat decaying matter, sugar, and flower nectar. Range: Fairly common globally. Typical Habitat Description: Usually found around homes, poultry & dairy farms, stables, garbage dumps, and other sources of rotting plant or animal matter; adults are inactive at night, often resting on ceilings in buildings, or on vegetation outdoors. Status: N/A
Japanese Beetle Scientific Name: Popillia japonica Size: 15mm long, 10mm wide Description: This beetle has an iridescent-green head and iridescent-brown wings. Its legs are also iridescentgreen. Diet: Over 300 species of North American plants; it is considered a pest due to this fact. Range: Common throughout the eastern US, as well as in Canada, Japan, and some other parts of Asia. Typical Habitat Description: Gardens, forests, fields, meadows, and even urban backyards and parks. Status: Least Concern (globally) / INVASIVE in North America
Japanese Burrowing Cricket Scientific Name: Velarifictorus micado Size: 13-19mm long Description: Mostly dark brown in color with lighter legs and underside; has three distinctive “tails” for burrowing. Diet: They eat grass roots and shoots while burrowing, which can kill the grass. Range: Throughout the eastern US, Costa Rica, Japan, Asia, and India. Typical Habitat Description: Can be found in the grassy edges of fields and woods, and along the edges of freshwater wetlands. Status: INVASIVE in North and Central America
Long-tailed Skipper Scientific Name: Urbanus proteus Size: Wingspan is between 4.5-6cm Description: A spread-winged skipper with a bright bluegreen upper body, grayish-brown wings with light gray spots at the edges, a fuzzy, white head/lower body, and a long, forked tail. Diet: Nectar from flowering plants. Range: Found throughout the southern US, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Typical Habitat Description: Found around gardens and forests with many of flowers. Status: N/A
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Monarch Butterfly Scientific Name: Danaus plexippus Size: 8.9-10.2cm wingspan Description: Butterfly with a black body that has white spots and tawny-orange wings with black markings and white spots on the edges. Diet: They feed on the nectar of flowers Range: Found throughout the US, Mexico, Central America, South America, and even Australia. Typical Habitat Description: Can be seen in gardens and roosting in trees after migration. Status: Vulnerable in Mexico and parts of Canada; Imperiled in other parts of Canada
Mournful Thyris Moth
Scientific Name: Thyris sepulchralis Size: Wingspan is 15-23mm long Description: Adults have wings black with large yellow spots, and other smaller yellowish-white spots that give wings a ragged look; hindwing has a yellowish-white patch in the middle. Diet: Larvae feed on grapes and adults feed on the nectar from flowers and herbs. Range: Found in small areas throughout the eastern United States and in parts of Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Found in gardens, parks, forests, vineyards, and meadows with many of flowers. Status: N/A
Narrow-winged Tree Cricket
Scientific Name: Oecanthus niveus Size: 13-16mm long Description: A cricket that is a very pale-green color with a reddish-orange spot between the eyes and a light orangish-yellow head. It has light yellowish-green eyes and pale legs as well. Diet: Typically feed on plants, other small insects, and occasionally fungi. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States and into some parts of eastern Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Usually found in trees, but because they are attracted to light, they can also be found on a variety of man-made structures. They are rarely found near the ground, but may sometimes be seen on tall plants. Status: Imperiled in parts of Canada
Northern Flatid Planthopper Scientific Name: Flatormenis proxima Size: About 5mm long Description: Colors ranging from light green to white on wings and head. Typically has pale eyes and sits with wings in a triangular shape. Diet: Eats various types of plants and other insects. Range: Found throughout the eastern half of the United States and into parts of eastern Canada Typical Habitat Description: Usually found on shrubs or trees. Status: N/A
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Northern Walking-stick Scientific Name: Diapheromera femorata Size: 75-95mm long Description: An elongated brown or brownish-green insect that camouflages itself by imitating a stick. They have three sets of legs and antennae that are two-thirds of its body length. Diet: They eat the leaves of deciduous trees and clover. Range: Found throughout the eastern and central US, as well as in Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Can be found in forests and woodlands. Status: N/A
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Orange Mint Moth Scientific Name: Pyrausta orphisalis Size: 15-17mm long Description: The front half of this moth is fuzzy, and light brown. The back half of its wings are dark brown with orange markings. The body is black and white striped. Diet: Larvae feed on mint species and adults do not feed. Range: Found throughout the northeastern US and into Canada Typical Habitat Description: Areas with mint and other plants, as well as on man-made structures because they are attracted to light Status: N/A
Promachus hinei Scientific Name: Promachus hinei Size: 28-35mm long Description: This species has a yellow abdomen with black dots, similar to stripes, on its back. It has translucent, brown wings and red legs with black feet. Additionally, it has a darker brown, fuzzy hump behind its head and large black oval-shaped eyes. They move their wings so quickly that you are most likely to hear them before you see them. Diet: Flying insects, particularly flies and mosquitos. Range: Found in US states from TX to GA and into IA and IL. Typical Habitat Description: Can bee seen (and heard) in places such as meadows, gardens, and woodlands. Status: N/A
Red-headed Bush Cricket
Scientific Name: Phyllopalpus pulchellus Size: 7-9mm long Description: A cricket with a black back and antennae, a red head and area behind the head. It also has pale, yellowish-green legs. Diet: They eat fruit, fungi, roots, and dead insects. Range: Found throughout the eastern US. Typical Habitat Description: Found about a meter of the ground in vegetation near a water source, such as a creek or marsh. Status: N/A
Scientific Name: Xylotrechus colonus Size: 8-15mm long Description: A black beetle with gray patterns on its back, as well as two yellow beneath the pronotum. It also has yellow eyes with red legs and antennae. Diet: Living wood. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States. Typical Habitat Description: Underneath the bark of trees. Status: INVASIVE
Short-winged Meadow Katydid Scientific Name: Conocephalus brevipennis Size: 12-16mm long Description: This katydid is a neon-green color, with a brown stripe down the back and brown eyes. Diet: Eats mainly leaves and grass, along with some small insects. Range: Found throughout the eastern US and in parts of Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Found at the edge of streams, in damp meadows, and in marshes. Status: N/A
Silver-spotted Skipper Scientific Name: Epargyreus clarus Size: 43-50mm wingspan Description: This skipper has a fuzzy, light brown body and dark brown wings with an orange and a white marking on each. It holds its wings up when it lands in order to better catch the sun’s rays. Diet: Adults feed on nectar, mud, and even animal feces; larvae eat herbs, vines, shrubs, and trees. Range: Found scattered throughout North America. Typical Habitat Description: Usually found in open places where many nectar plants are found, such as meadows, swamps, forest edges, and brushy areas. Status: Vulnerable in parts of Canada
Slender-legged Camel Cricket
Scientific Name: Ceuthophilus gracilipes Size: 33.5mm long Description: Mostly reddish-brown to dark brown in color with a lighter brown in between shell plates. They have thicker back legs and thin front legs, along with long antennae and black eyes. Diet: They eat plant matter, fungus, insects, and sometimes even fabric or cloth. Range: Found in Arkansas, Tennessee, Ohio, Alabama, and Connecticut Typical Habitat Description: Can be seen in caves, basements/crawl spaces, and other wet places. Status: N/A
Scientific Name: Vespula squamosa Size: Usually about 12.7mm long Description: A black-bodied insect with yellow striping all over its body. It has brown-tinted, transparent wings and yellow legs. There are two vertical yellow stripes on the scuta as well. Diet: These wasps eat live insects, but will also feed on dead animals. Range: Found throughout the eastern US and Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Found in warm (even tropical) climates, as well as in man-made places such as yards, parks, and roadsides. Some may be found in pine forests. Status: N/A
Spicebush Swallowtail Scientific Name: Papilio troilus Size: 76-102mm wingspan Description: Adults are a brownish-black in color with red and blue markings on the outside of their wings and blue and white markings around the sides and at the bottom of the inside of their wings. Diet: Nectar of flowering plants, such as honeysuckle, jewelweed, lantanas, thistles, and Joe-Pye weed. Range: Found throughout the eastern US. Typical Habitat Description: Usually seen in deciduous woods or woody swamps, but may also be found in other places with plants that they enjoy. Status: N/A
Spongy Oak Apple Gall Wasp Scientific Name: Amphibolips confluenta Size: 6-8mm long Description: Small, dark wasps with oval-shaped abdomens. Their nests are green and resemble unripe fruits or nuts, but have a black hole at the bottom. Diet: Larvae eat the galls (see photos to the right) they are born in; adults do not feed. Range: Found throughout the eastern US and into parts of eastern Canada. Typical Habitat Description: Primarily seen on red, black, and scarlet oak trees. Status: N/A
Tile-horned Prionus Scientific Name: Prionus imbricornis Size: 25-50mm long Description: A reddish-brown beetle with distinctive overlapping sections on horns. It has a large back, and medium length legs. Diet: The larvae feed on living roots, primarily oak and chestnut, but also grape, pear, and corn. Range: Found in the southeastern United States. Typical Habitat Description: Seen in deciduous forests and the surrounding areas. Status: N/A
Two-lined Spittlebug Scientific Name: Prosapia bicincta Size: 8-10mm long Description: This bug is black on top with two thin, orange stripes and either a red or black head with red eyes. Diet: Nymphs (young insects) feed on grasses while encompassed by the “spittle” protecting them and adults feed on holly bushes. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States and Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Seen in (wet) grassy areas and around holly bushes. Status: N/A
Scientific Name: Graphocephala versuta Size: 6mm long Description: A mostly a green bug with blue and orangish-brown stripes on the back of the head and body that meet at a point. It also has a conical head and light colored eyes. It also has a black tipped nose and some thin black lines on the yellow scutellum. The pronotum is dark green. Diet: Leaves of blackberry, grape, honeysuckle, privet, cherry, and other deciduous trees. Range: Found in the eastern US, California, and in parts of Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Found in gardens and parks with the types of plants they eat, as well as in deciduous forests. Status: N/A
Walnut Caterpillar Moth
Scientific Name: Datana integerrima Size: 35-55mm wingspan Description: Adults have lightly banded brown wings and a prominent dark brown thorax Diet: Larvae feed on walnut, hickory and pecan trees. Range: Found throughout the eastern US, as well as a few parts of eastern Canada and Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: Can be seen in deciduous forests. Status: N/A
Yellow-legged Mud-dauber Wasp Scientific Name: Sceliphron caementarium Size: 24-28mm long Description: They have a black petiole (stinger), and a black thorax with yellow markings. The abdomen is usually black, along with the antennae and head. They have yellow legs and tawny colored wings. Diet: Larvae mainly feed on spiders, and adults drink the nectar of parsnip or visit hummingbird feeders. Range: Found throughout the US, Mexico, Central America, Europe, Japan, South Africa, and Indonesia Typical Habitat Description: Can be seen on rock ledges, man-made structures, puddles and other water edges, cypress domes, in longleaf pines, and in turkey oaks. Status: N/A
Yellow-striped Armyworm Moth Scientific Name: Spodoptera ornithogalli Size: 32-44mm wingspan Description: This moth has a fuzzy, light brown body and legs and wings mottled with white, light brown, and dark brown markings. Diet: Larvae eat herbaceous plants, including peanut, onion, bean, pokeweed, cabbage, clover, grass, cotton, tomato, grape, corn, jimsonweed, morning glory, asparagus, pea, peach, alfalfa, beet, sweet potato, tobacco, cucumber, turnip, wheat, watermelon, and wild onion; adults do not eat Range: Found throughout the US, Mexico, Central America, and South America Typical Habitat Description: Usually seen in grass pastures, roadsides, and along fence rows. Status: N/A
Big Brown Bat Scientific Name: Eptesicus fuscus Size: 110-130mm body length, 32.5-35cm wingspan, weighing 15-26g Description: This microbat has reddish-brown, glossy fur with lighter brown ventral fur. Its snout, rounded ears, and wings are black and hairless. Diet: Many types of night-flying insects, but especially beetles, flies, caddisflies, mayflies, scorpion flies, netwinged insects, true bugs, stoneflies, and cockroaches. Range: Scattered throughout the US, Mexico, Central America, and parts of Canada and South America. Typical Habitat Description: Usually found roosting in caves, tunnels, tree cavities and manmade structures such as umbrellas (as seen here). Status: Least Concern (globally); Sensitive in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC, US; Species of concern in Ohio, US
Eastern Chipmunk Scientific Name: Tamias striatus Size: 30cm long, weighing 66-150g Description: This small mammal is a light reddish-brown color on its upper parts, with five dark brown stripes contrasting with light brown stripes on its back. It has a white belly and chest, as well as brownish-white markings outlined in darker markings around the eyes. It has a pink nose and feet. The two front feet have four toes while the two back feet have five. Diet: Chipmunks eat insects, green plants, mushrooms, fruits, bulbs, seeds, worms, and even bird eggs; it transfers its food in its cheek pouches. Range: Mainly found throughout the eastern US (not including FL) and into Eastern Canada Typical Habitat Description: Can be found in deciduous forests and urban parks with rocky areas, brush, shrubs or log piles to hide in and find food. Status: Least Concern
Eastern Gray Squirrel Scientific Name: Sciurus carolinensis Size: 23-30cm body length, 19-25cm tail length, weighing 400-600g Description: This squirrel usually has entirely gray fur, but there are also some brown or black morphs in parts of its range. It has a brownish face with a pink nose and ears. Its underside is mostly white. Diet: They eat nuts such as acorns and walnuts, tree bark, tree buds, many types of seeds, and some types of fungi. They will destroy gardens for wheat, tomatoes, corn, and strawberries. Range: Found commonly throughout the eastern US and along the west coast of the US. It is also found in the UK, Canada, Italy, and parts of South Africa. Typical Habitat Description: Found in largely wooded areas with a lot of “large producing” nut trees such as oaks and hickories. Status: Least Concern
White-tailed Deer Scientific Name: Odocoileus virginianus Size: 95-220cm long, weighing 40-180kg Description: These deer are reddish-brown and sleek in the summer and become more gray and shaggy in the winter. They have a lighter belly and fluffy white fur underneath the tail. They have long legs and black hooves. The males grow antlers each year and lose them in the winter. The fawns are brown in coloration with white spotting to camouflage them in the forest. Diet: Deer eat legumes and forage on other plants, including shoots, leaves, cacti (in deserts), grasses, acorns, fruit, and corn. Range: Found throughout North America, Central, and South America Typical Habitat Description: Typically found in deciduous or mixed forests in places near streams or rivers. They are also found in fields and other grassy habitats. Status: Least Concern (globally); Vulnerable in OR, USA; Imperiled in UT, USA and parts of Canada
Common Box Turtle
Scientific Name: Terrapene carolina Size: 114-152.5mm long Description: This turtle has a dark shell with yellow patterns on it. It has red eyes and grayishbrown, bumpy skin. They have fairly long claws, and their skin can be orange depending on the foods they eat. Diet: This turtle eats insects, grubs, worms, snails, slugs, crustaceans, eggs, carrion, mushrooms, flowers, fruit, and other plant material Range: Mainly found in the eastern US and parts of eastern Mexico. Typical Habitat Description: They are found in moist, forested areas that have lots of brush. Status: Vulnerable (globally); Extinct in Ontario, Canada
Common Five-lined Skink Scientific Name: Plestiodon fasciatus Size: 12.5-21.5cm long Description: Younger lizards have five distinctive yellowish-white stripes that travel from their head down their body to a bright blue tail. However, the blue tail and stripes will fade with age, often disappearing entirely. Diet: These lizards usually eat arthropods such as spiders, crickets, beetles, and other insects. They have also been known to eat newborn mice, other lizards, and frogs. Range: Found throughout the eastern United States. Typical Habitat Description: Seen in moist, partially wooded areas with rocks or trees to hide in and places to sun themselves. Status: Least Concern (globally); Vulnerable in Canada; Endangered in VT, USA
Scientific Name: Pantherophis guttatus Size: 61-182cm long Description: A dark brown or reddish snake with a light and a dark brown pattern on top of its head. Its belly is white with a dark-checkered pattern Diet: Typically eats small rodents, other reptiles, or unattended bird eggs. Range: Mainly found in the southeastern US and parts of Virginia Typical Habitat Description: Can be found in overgrown fields, forests, trees, and abandoned or rarely used buildings near the woods. Status: Least concern (globally); sensitive in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC, USA.
Scientific Name: Anolis carolinensis Size: 12.5-20.3cm long, weighing 3-7g Description: This small to medium lizard has a pointed face with ridges above the eyes and a thin body. Their toes have pads on them that allow them better grip when climbing, and the males have a pinkish-red throat fan that they exhibit during mating. The female is lighter in color and has a prominent white stripe down the spine that is not found on males. Diet: They eat small insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, flies, butterflies, moths, cockroaches, small beetles, spiders, and occasionally various grains and seeds. Range: Found throughout the southeastern US and west into Texas as well as in Hawaii. Typical Habitat Description: Typically found near the ground in shrubs and around urban areas on railings and stairs near foliage. Status: Least Concern
Gray Rat Snake
Scientific Name: Pantherophis spiloides Size: 99-183cm long Description: This snake has a light and dark gray pattern on its body that fades as it grows older; it has a rounded head. Diet: Small birds and mammals, as well as bird eggs. Juveniles prefer to eat frogs and lizards. Range: Found in parts of the eastern US and into Canada Typical Habitat Description: Can be found on the ground or up in hardwood trees that are in areas along streams and fields; can also be found around barns or sheds where there is an abundance of rodents. Status: Vulnerable in Ontario, Canada
Throughout the world today, humans negatively impact the environment in many ways. They deforest large areas, destroying the habitats of the countless species who live there. Many streams and areas of the oceans suffer from overfishing, which creates an imbalance of biodiversity. The complete suppression of fire in many areas throughout the United States has yielded similar results. Additionally, invasive species have taken over many areas, and have begun to replace native species.
Photo (above) Credit: Tess Pope
While there are many ways in which humans impact the environment around them negatively, there are also many positive things people can do to help our environment: locally and on a larger scale. A great start for anyone who wishes to make a positive impact would be to go outside and look around at all of the interesting species you share your home with. There are also local organizations such as the Signal Mountain Stewards who are involved in keeping our environment by removing invasive species and educating people about nature.
A non-comprehensive backyard field guide for Signal Mountain, TN based on local observations during 2020.
Published on Mar 23, 2021
A non-comprehensive backyard field guide for Signal Mountain, TN based on local observations during 2020.