Home Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

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Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC

Mason Farm was bequeathed to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1894 by Mary Elizabeth Morgan Mason, with the proviso that it not be sold as separate plots.   Today it is used for biological research and for environmentally friendly visits by the public.   It was instituted in its current form as a research area in 1984.   Use this live map to get there.

 
Some of the tall trees Asters in a field, 10/5/08 Siler's Bog, 2/1/09 Purple False Foxglove (Agalinis purpurea), 9/17/08.  Contrary to what its name suggests, it's a pink flower. A creek through the woods, 2/1/09 A pine tree in a field, 2/1/09 Fall foliage at the border of one field, 11/17  

9/1/14

   
Argiope aurantia spider in its web Bowl-and-doily spider Lots of dew drops on a leaf    

Red Admiral Paper wasp Nursery web spider Morning glory Deserted spider web

11/22/11

It was the second warm day in a row.  Cumulo-stratus clouds coming from the Gulf of Mexico crossed the sky regularly.  I spotted a very noisy Red-headed Woodpecker high in the trees, among many other birds.

   
Common Buckeye Rabid Wolf Spider, relatively large and moving fast Spotted Cucumber Beetle    

10/31/11

This was a chilly morning, about 45 F. 

 
Brown Thrasher Bumblebee, not moving, on Bidens aristosa Red Maple Spider Flower (Cleome hassleriana).  Genus ID thanks to Laura Thomas.  

10/8/11

 
Gemmed Satyr Flower fly Another flower fly Sleepy Orange  

9/2/11

Appalachian Brown Silvery Checkerspot Blooming Kudzu Redstar Karl among asters

8/18/11

 
Appalachian Brown Asiatic Dayflower Male Zabulon Skipper Maryland Senna (Senna marilandica)  


   
Virginia Meadow Beauty Silvery Checkerspot Silvery Checkerspot    

8/2/11

 
Northern Pearly Eye #1 Northern Pearly Eye #2 Zabulon Skippers (female on left, male on right) on Swamp Milkweed Female or teneral Widow Skimmer  


 
Male Zabulon Skipper #1 Male Zabulon Skipper #2 Flatid planthopper Little Glassywing and male Sachem on Swamp Milkweed  

6/6/11

Flower longhorn beetles on a Carolina Rose Male Widow Skimmer Issid planthopper Megachilid bee Pearl Crescent


 
Weevil Dragonfly nymph exuvia Grass flowers, with purple styles Eastern Box Turtle  

5/29/11

Dogbane Beetle Another Dogbane Beetle Checkered beetle (Pelonides quadripunctatus).  ID thanks to Blaine Mathison. Tiny mantid nymph Flower (crab) spider and bee on Viburnum genus flower

5/20/11

Question Mark, ventral view.  You can see the white "question mark" on the hind wing. Question Mark, showing dorsal view American Snout Hiding Zebra Swallowtail Hiding American Lady

 

   
Green lacewing larva Little Wood Satyr Striped Lynx spider    

4/18/11

 
Pearl Crescent.  But it has certain northern characteristics, maybe because of our cold winter or recent cold front from the northwest. Red Admiral Eastern Tiger Swallowtail American Snout  


 
Jack-in-the-Pulpit Ichneumon wasps mating Blue Toadflax  

   
Carolina Satyr Blue Corporal Eastern Bluestar    

4/7/11

Grapevine Epimenis (Psychomorpha epimenis), an owlet moth Young Blue Corporal Deserted bird's nest Red Admiral Question Mark

3/22/11

 
Green Frog (Rana clamitans), well-camouflaged but given away by the sun's glare A rather unusual Spring Beauty, in Siler's Bog Field Pansy Seven-spotted Ladybug Beetle


 
Female Falcate Orangetip in flight Another female Falcate Orangetip in flight Female Falcate Orangetip on flower (rockcress?) Juvenal's Duskywing  

2/21/11

Speedwells Boxelder Bug Rockcress Marsh beetle (Cyphon genus, Scirtidae family).  ID thanks to Brad Barnd.  


       
Tiny wasp?, 1 or 2 mm long.  It's either an ant mimic or an ant.        

1/28/11

I was hoping that these red objects found on the ground were the first flowers of spring, newly fallen out of trees, but inspection using the camera showed that they were fruit from an unknown tree or vine.

   
Small fruit, about 4 mm in diameter Seeds showing in another fruit    

11/17/10

     
Small Milkweed Bugs on a Swamp Milkweed pod      

5/20/10

Question Mark.  See the white sideways "question mark" in the middle of the hind wing. Carolina Satyr Mourning Cloak Boxelder Bug nymph Zabulon Skipper

5/2/10

American Snout Silvery Checkerspot, ventral view of wings Silvery Checkerspot Male Zabulon Skippers, in a brief and unusually peaceful interaction Big Periwinkle


Eastern Blue-eyed Grass Mourning Cloak caterpillar turning into a pupa Assassin bug Snowberry Clearwing Moth Buttercups.  Photo by Karl D. Gottschalk

 

       
Miami Mist (Phacelia purshii), one of many near the parking lot.  ID thanks to Bailey Winstead, who says they are common in the Smoky Mountains and to Philip Johnson. They are not native this far east, according to Harry LeGrand, who confirmed the species ID.  Thanks also to Taylor Piephoff, whose ID of the genus came first. These are similar the Fringed Phacelia, which has fewer flowers per stem.        

3/18/10 

         
Mourning Cloak  Boxelder Bug  Field Pansy Spring Beauties Bluets

2/21/10

 
Painted Turtle  

11/5/09

       
Autumn Meadowhawk, about an inch long.  See other dragonflies.        

9/13/09

 
Purple False Foxglove, the fuzziest flower I know of! These mating robber flies landed on my hat Orb weaver Large Milkweed Bugs on a Swamp Milkweed seed pod  

 

 
Common Wood Nymph.  See Butterfly Index. Viceroy Great Lobelia Hackberry Emperor  

8/21/09

Kudzu flower (Pueraria montana) Rose Gentians Cardinal Flower Sericea lespedeza Adult male Eastern Pondhawk

 

Small Milkweed Bug Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia) St. Andrew's Cross Horse Nettle Horse Nettle

 

       
Elongate Long-jawed Orb Weaver.  Note the red "jaws" (chelicerae), which end in fangs.        

8/9/09

 
Northern Pearly Eye Male Zabulon Skipper Partridge Pea Ironweed  

 

Scuppernong grapes Spider (Neoscona genus) St. Andrew's Cross (Hypericum hypericoides) Trumpet Creeper Horse fly

 

       
Black Rat Snake        

7/17/09

       
Common Wood Nymph        

5/21/09

Boxelder Bug Argid Sawfly Leafhopper nymph Katydid nymph Harvestman

 

Jumping spider Grasshopper nymph Mourning Cloak (ventral view) Mourning Cloak (dorsal view) Snout moth

 

Orange Sulphur, dorsal view Orange Sulphur, ventral view Common Milkweed Penstemon Field of penstemons

5/1/09

 
American Lady.  Also see the Butterfly Index.   Red-necked Cane Borer (Agrilus ruficollis), a very small Buprestid beetle Male Zabulon Skipper Blue Corporal dragonfly  

 

   
Grape Root Borer Moth (Vitacea polistiformis, according to BugGuide).  Neither the Integrated Taxonomic Information System nor the Tree of Life Web have applied taxa on the genus level for this species.   It is a Sesiidae family member. Forest Tent Caterpillar (Malacoma disstria)



Boxelder Bug nymph    

3/20/09

   
Juvenal's Duskywing.  See other spreadwing skippers. Male Fragile Forktail.  See other damselflies. Painted Turtle    

 
Red-tailed Hawk   White-throated Sparrow Male Mallard

3/11/09

Northern Cricket Frog Painted Turtle, about 3 inches long.  Those big yellow head spots are unusual in my experience, but no unheard-of in this species. Spring Azure Mourning Dove

11/7/08

 
Cloudless Sulphur.  See other Whites and Yellows.  See the Butterfly Index. Common Buckeye Common Buckeye, ventral view.  Northern Cricket Frog  

 

   
Triangulate Orb Weaver.  See other spiders. Scarab Beetle Grub Boxelder Bug Dozens of these landed on our car that day.    

10/5/08

 
Least Skipper, found in Siler's Bog Pearl Crescent, seen on trail in Siler's Bog Common Buckeye, seen on trail in frequently mowed field Black Blister Beetle, also seen in frequently mowed field  

9/17/08

   
Tree Stink Bug (Brochymena genus) Glassy-winged Sharpshooter.  See other leafhoppers. Appalachian Brown.  See other nymphs and satyrs.    

 

 
Ambush Bug Ambush Bug (close-up) Common Wood Nymph Triangulate Orb Weaver.  See other spiders.  

 

 
Common Buckeye caterpillar.  I saw dozens of them in one field, feeding on the leaves of tall grass plants.  ID thanks to Jeff Pippen.  

8/12/08

     
Crab spider Arrow-shaped Micrathena (Micrathena sagittata      

 
Male Zabulon Skipper Male Bowl and Doily Spider Flatid Planthopper Leaffooted Bug  

     
Common Wood Nymph.  Photo by Karl D. Gottschalk Common Buckeye. Photo by Karl D. Gottschalk      

6/3/08
Little Wood Satyr.  See other woods butterflies.  See Butterfly Index. Long-legged fly White-lined Burrowing Bug Eight-spotted Forester moth Immature Eastern Pondhawk.  Photo taken by Karl D. Gottschalk.

Wasp hovering, landing, ovipositing

5/4/08

Eastern Box Turtle, up close and at a distance

 

This Question Mark has the white "question mark" on its hind wing, only rotated 90 to the right. Same Question Mark Silvery Checkerspot Variegated Fritillary Red Admiral

 

Red-spotted Purple Common Buckeye, with a few pieces missing Skimmer dragonfly in flight Shining leaf beetle (Criocerinae subfamily), possibly an Oulema cornutus Young adult Blue Dasher

4/18/08

 
Eastern Tailed Blue Pearl Crescent Pearl Crescent, quite difference in appearance Probably male Juvenal's Duskywing  

 2/19/08

Northern Cricket Frog

11/21/07

Bowl and Doily Spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, 11/21/07

11/14/07

Stink Bug (Brochymena genus; arborea is the most common species) Multi-colored Asian Ladybug Beetle with prey Female Gea Heptagon spider Differential Grasshopper Spider egg sac, appears to be that of a member of the Argiope genus.

10/17/07

     
White-backed Garden Spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/17/07  Dorsal view.  White-backed Garden Spider, ventral view of the same spider. Tipulid Crane Fly Leaffooted Bug (Leptoglossus phyllopus)      

9/23/07

Hackberry Emperor.  This butterfly landed on my arm and was apparently taking in my perspiration.  We never see any hackberry trees there, so maybe sweaty people are the main attraction! Pearl Crescent.  See other Pearl Crescents or see the main Butterflies Page.  Triangulate Orb Weaver. See other spiders. Mating Differential Grasshoppers.  See other Orthopterans. Crab spider

Braconid wasp (Psyttalia fletcheri), very tiny (about 2 mm).  ID based on photo by Scott Bauer, USDA Agricultural Research Service.  Family ID provided by Richard Vernier. Cowkiller, neither wasp nor ant but somewhere in between.  It's named for its nasty sting, one informally hypothesized to be bad enough to kill a cow.  See other Hymenopterans.

9/1/07

Margined Blister Beetle, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/1/07 Gemmed Satyr, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/1/07 Cowkiller (Dasymutilla occidentalis), a kind of velvet ant, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/1/07.  See other Hymenopterans (bees, wasps and ants).

7/22/07

Red Admiral, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC   7/22/07 Cloudless Sulphur, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC   7/22/07 Question Mark, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC   7/22/07 Acanalonid Planthopper, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC   7/22/07 Stilt-legged Fly, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC   7/22/07

5/26/07

Cloudless Sulphur, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/26/07. This butterfly has apparently come a long way!  See other Whites and Yellows or visit the Butterfly Index. Silver-spotted Skipper, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/26/07 Deer Fly.  This fly went inside a hat.  Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/26/07 Female Sharpshooter (Oncometopia nigricans).  The other side also had a white spot.   Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/26/07.  Leafhoppers once were classified as Homopterans, but that order has since been split in two, with the "hoppers" in one and the aphids in the other.  See other  Leafhoppers, Weevil, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/26/07

Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC   5/20/07

Crossline Skipper, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/20/07 Male Zabulon Skipper, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/20/07 Adult male Eastern Pondhawk, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/20/07 Green Six-spotted Tiger Beetle, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/20/07 Tiny mystery wasp.  Note the little hairs on the leaf. Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/20/07

 

Tiny jumping spider (about 1 mm long), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/20/07.  It was apparently so tiny that it did not see any point in retreating.

Mason Farm Biological Reserve (area north of creek), 4/28/07

Pearl Crescent, Mason Farm Biological Reserve (area north of the creek), 4/28/07 Male Golden-backed Snipe Fly, Mason Farm Biological Reserve (area north of the creek), 4/28/07 Ladybug beetle pupa, Mason Farm Biological Reserve (area north of the creek), 4/28/07.  Since there were 10+ Seven-spotted Ladybug Beetle adults in the immediate area, it seemed likely that this was one, too. Adult male Blue Corporal, Mason Farm Biological Reserve (area north of the creek), 4/28/07 Jumping spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve (area north of the creek), 4/28/07

11/17/06

Northern Cricket Frog, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 11/17/06 Autumn Meadowhawk, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 11/17/06.  See other dragonflies.

10/15/06

Question Mark, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/15/06 Seven-spotted Ladybug Beetle, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/15/06 Mystery beetle, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 10/15/06.  It was perhaps 3mm long.

9/29/06

Pelecinid Wasp (Pelecinus polyturator), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/29/06 Tachinid Fly (Trichopoda genus, subfamily Phasiinae, family Tachinidae), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/29/06 Flesh Fly, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/29/06 Red-spotted Purple, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/29/06.  This butterfly was unusually small for its species.

 

Pelecinid Wasp (Pelecinus polyturator), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/29/06

9/21/06

Boxelder Bug, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/21/06 Hackberry Emperor, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/21/06.  This butterfly put its proboscis down, hoping to find some nutritious human sweat, but only encountered a wallet and soon flew off. Hackberry Emperor, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/21/06.  The same butterfly returned to a more suitable place, but  didn't uncoil its proboscis. Grasshopper, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/21/06.  One the biggest grasshoppers I've seen. Araneus genus spider (an orb weaver), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/21/06

 

Micrathena mitrata, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/21/06.  A very tiny spider, maybe an ⅛ of an inch long. Jumping spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/21/06.  Just look at those green chelicerae! Jumping spider, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/21/06.  Another view of the same spider. Chinese Mantis, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/21/06.  A very big insect.  Very active and complex mouthparts!

9/2/06

Common Buckeye, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/2/06.  This was one of many Buckeyes that we saw today. Dog-day Cicada, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/2/06 Mating Sphecid (digger) wasps (Eremnophila aureonotata), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/2/06.  These are very common insects; they should have a common name! Carolina Satyr, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/2/06 Gray Hairstreak, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/2/06

 

Triangulate Orb Weaver (rear view), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/2/06 Inchworm, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 9/2/06.  This was a very tiny inchworm, not much more than ⅛ inch, and it was frozen in position.

7/9/06

Delta Flower Beetle, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/9/06 Mating Dogbane Beetles, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/9/06 Robber Fly, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/9/06 Issid Planthopper (Issidae family) nymph, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/9/06.   These nymphs eventually cover themselves with this white stuff, apparently to protect themselves from predators. Emerald (Somatochlora genus), Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/9/06.  ID thanks to Bryan Pfeiffer.

 

Silvery Checkerspot, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/9/06 Seven-spotted Ladybug Beetle A very faded False Crocus Geometer Moth, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 7/9/06

6/17/06

Orange Sulphur.  See other Sulphurs and Whites. Leafhopper (Sibovia occatoria, subfamily Cicadellinae).  See other leafhoppers. Bee fly Katydid nymph.  See other katydids, grasshoppers, and crickets. Leaf beetle.  See other beetles.

6/7/2006

Web-spinning Sawfly.  See other sawflies. Bee fly, possibly Hemipenthes genus.  See other flies. Solitary bee.  See other bees.

4/29/06

Mating Pearl Crescents,  Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 4/29/06

8/24/05

Mating Common Buckeyes, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 8/24/05. Same butterflies.

5/28/05

Appalachian Brown, Mason Farm Biological Reserve, Orange County, NC, 5/28/05.

5/23/03

Phaon Crescent, ventral view.  Yes, they aren't supposed to come around here, but this one did!  See more Crescents. Same Phaon Crescent. Broad-headed bug (family Alydidae).  A True Bug. Carolina Satyr, dorsal view.  See more Nymphs and Satyrs. Eastern Tailed Blue, rather deformed.  See Blues (and Hairstreaks).

 

© 2006-2011 Dorothy E. Pugh. All rights reserved.

Map of Mason Farm Biological Reserve and surrounding area. Click on "View Larger Map;" the "A" shows where to turn onto private property (the Finley Golf Course parking lot).  Continue south through the parking lot and toward a dirt road that goes through an opening in a gate (off the golf course) and curves left at the border of the golf course.  After you go the length of the golf course, you will then turn right to cross a creek to get to the parking lot.   Note on the map that there is a large cleared area next to the parking lot (as of 10/4/11); this has been replaced by a meadow since this map was created.


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