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Julho 7, 2020 01:40 PM EDT

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Hoverfly on Catawba Rhododendron in the Roan Mountain area, 7 July 2020.
This one is likely is genus Dasysyrphus (female, ~11 mm length):
bugguide.net/node/view/20058
Perhaps
Dasysyrphus venustus or a member of the Dasysyrphus intrudens complex.
Edit-1. Identified as likely D. intrudens complex at:
https://bugguide.net/node/view/1867103

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Julho 7, 2020 11:25 AM EDT

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Fraser Fir - Abies fraseri
A sapling in the understory beside a trail. I do not know if the white scaly stuff on the needles is Balsam woolly adelgid or something else. This small tree was in a woodland at Carver's Gap, Roan Mountain--right on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.

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Julho 7, 2020 12:15 PM EDT

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Yellow Birch - Betula alleghaniensis
This small tree was in a woodland at Carver's Gap, Roan Mountain--right on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.

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Julho 7, 2020 11:32 AM EDT

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Northern Yarrow - Achillea millefolium var. borealis (or Achillea borealis)
The taxonomy on these flowers is confusing. My older references considered all yarrows to be introduced from Eurasia, but I see genetic studies have shown most(?) found in eastern North America are native. Also, the North American ones are often considered a different species, I guess, borealis.
At any rate, this pretty pink yarrow was found on the border of a bald at Carver's Gap, Roan Mountain--right on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina.

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Julho 7, 2020 03:20 PM EDT

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I saw several instances of this gall/fungus on Catawba Rhododendron (Rhododendron catawbiense) in the Roan Mountain area. It appears to be:
Azalea Gall - Exobasidium rhododendri (Fuckel) C.E. Cramer

Synonym: Exobasidium vaccinii var. rhododentri
Reference:
www.marylandbiodiversity.com/viewSpecies.php?species=10406

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Junho 25, 2020 10:57 PM EDT

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Happy Wing Wednesday! This spider wasp was found inside a suburban structure and captured for studio photos. I believe it is:
Spider wasp - Auplopus mellipes (female, 10-11 mm length)
bugguide.net/node/view/7640
Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong on the gender--it looks like images I see of undoubted females with prey.

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Julho 7, 2020 12:03 PM EDT

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Grays Lily (or Roan Lily) - Lilium grayi
Our small party found three of these in the Roan Mountain area, two along trails and one along a roadside. This one was very convenient for photography and could be photographed easily without stepping off a trail. I used, mostly, a long telephoto lens to make sure I did not get too close to this sensitive plant. Several blossoms appeared to have been damaged by nectar thieves, with holes at the base. I saw ants visiting these perforations, but I suspect a larger insect made them. Elevation is about 5600 feet (1,700 meters). This was very close to the North Carolina/Tennessee state line.

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Julho 7, 2020 11:04 AM EDT

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Thyme-leaved Bluet, Creeping Bluet - Houstonia serpyllifolia
These were along a trail near Carver's Gap at Roan Mountain, right along the North Carolina/Tennessee border. They have a deep blue flower and a creeping stem with tiny round leaves. (You can see this in the habitus photo here on iNaturalist.)

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Julho 1, 2020 01:53 PM EDT

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Found growing along the edge of woodland in Durham, North Carolina. I think it is a Viburnum species, maybe Blackhaw, Viburnum prunifolium. Or perhaps it is the similar Rusty Blackhaw, Viburnum rufidulum.
Opinions welcome!
I took some photos with my cell phone in place then grabbed this fruiting branch to scan.
Edit. Looking at the scans, I do see that the buds and base of petioles are covered in red pubescence. That, maybe, indicates rufidulum.

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Julho 1, 2020 02:03 PM EDT

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Chionanthus virginicus - White Fringetree
I do not see this small tree in fruit very often. This was growing along the edge of a parkway in Durham, North Carolina, where it seemed to be doing well in very open shade.
Presumably a female tree, since these are usually dioecious.

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Julho 8, 2020 08:35 AM EDT

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This was blooming throughout shady valleys on a recent trip to Roan Mountain, Tennessee. Flowers are perhaps more showy in bud, when they are pink. I neglected to photograph that!
Rosebay Rhododendron - Rhododendron maximum

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Julho 7, 2020 05:41 PM EDT

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Flame Azalea - Rhododendron calendulaceum
On a recent July trip to the Roan Mountain area, I saw just one of these, inconveniently high on a steep roadcut. I think they bloom mostly earlier in the year.

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Julho 7, 2020 11:02 AM EDT

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Catawba Rhododendron - Rhododendron catawbiense
There were just a few of these still blooming on a recent trip to the Roan Mountain area. These were right on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.
The fly is a syrphid, Melanostoma mellinum. I have more detailed photos of those to be posted later.

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Julho 16, 2020 09:14 AM EDT

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These flies seem to love the heat--I often find them basking in the sun on torrid days. This one was found along the old Bynum Bridge in Chatham County, North Carolina on 16 July 2020. They are parasitoids of carpenter bees, Xylocopa species. Sometimes I see them investigating the edges of structures, perhaps looking for the nests of their hosts.
Xenox tigrinus - Tiger Bee Fly (female?)
bugguide.net/node/view/2803
I am guessing the genus name, Xenox, is an allusion to the alien-like appearance of the fly's eyes. (Greek Xenos = stranger, alien.) The name was given by entomologist Neal Evenhuis in 1985. Speculation: perhaps an homage to the 1982 movie, E.T.?

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Julho 21, 2020 12:55 AM EDT

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I found this male velvet ant at a lighted window in a suburban neighborhood in Durham, North Carolina (USA). In this group of wasps, females are wingless and terrestrial, while males fly. Tentative ID:
Timulla vagans (male, length ~11 mm)
bugguide.net/node/view/68201
Series also posted at:
bugguide.net/node/view/1860871
Everything seems consistent with key (as far as I can follow it) and description for T. vagans in this reference on the genus Timulla:
Mickel, C.E. 1937. The mutillid wasps of the genus Timulla, which occur in North America north of Mexico. Entomologica Americana 17: 1-119.
Available from Biodiversity Heritage Library:
http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/50671648
Quoting:
The male can be distinguished by the brush of white hairs on the scape beneath [yes, though hard to see], the dark fuscous wings [yes], and the sparse, black pubescence of the abdominal tergites [yes]. The females as well as the males vary a great deal in size; length of females varies from 6 to 14 mm; the males from 9 to 19 mm.

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Carvalho-Vermelho-Do-Sul Quercus falcata

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Data

Abril 12, 2020 12:14 PM EDT

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Southern Red Oak - Quercus falcata
Classic shape of leaves and a detail image showing the tawny tomentum (a layer of matted woolly down on the surface of a plant) underneath.
I have been trying for some time to learn to differentiate this from the very similar Q. pagoda.
What I think (!) is pagoda is actually more common in this immediate area, which is very hydric. This is one of the few "classic" falcata I have found in this area. However go to a less damp area and it is very common.

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Julho 14, 2020 11:05 PM EDT

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I found this little beetle on vegetation in a suburban yard in Durham, North Carolina.
Megapenthes rufilabris (length 6 mm)
bugguide.net/node/view/525022
Also uploaded and identified at:
bugguide.net/node/view/1857350

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Julho 16, 2020 07:51 AM EDT

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I found this mint family plant blooming at the edge of a field in Bynum, North Carolina on a hot summer morning. This was a new one for me, but it keyed out easily in my trusty Newcomb's Wildflower Guide. Note how the stamens project out from the base of each flower.
American germander (Wood Sage) - Teucrium canadense

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Julho 16, 2020 08:07 AM EDT

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This little bee was gathering pollen in a field at Bynum, North Carolina. I believe it is:
Two-spotted Longhorn - Melissodes bimaculatus (female)
bugguide.net/node/view/69274
One white spot on the side of the abdomen is maybe just visible in one frame. In another frame the proboscis, or glossa, is protruding. I'm not sure if there is a technical difference between those two.
Plant is, I think
Bearsfoot, Leafcup - Smallanthus uvedalia (Smallanthus uvedalius), formerly Polymnia uvedalia

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Julho 16, 2020 08:30 AM EDT

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I found this vine growing along a woodland edge in Bynum, North Carolina. Having puzzled over various references, I think the correct name is:
Anglepod - Gonolobus suberosus
There is a fair amount of taxonomic confusion in this group, at least it is confusing to me!

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Julho 19, 2020 09:33 PM EDT

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Returning to my new site for this species in suburban Durham, North Carolina, I found a few females at last! (There were also two or three larvae still active in their burrows.) I had seen only males on 10 July. I saw one mating pair, but they uncoupled as I tried to move in for photographs.
Virginia Metallic Tiger Beetle - Tetracha virginica (female, length ~20 mm)
bugguide.net/node/view/3024
Females lack the pads on the front tarsi prominent on males. They are also a bit bigger than the males.
Edit. A couple more shots added from this same site the next night. I think this was likely the same beetle.

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Julho 15, 2020 10:53 PM EDT

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I encountered this bold little leaf-footed bug nymph in a suburban yard in Durham, NC. I believe it to be:
Acanthocephala declivis (2nd instar nymph, body length 6-8 mm)
bugguide.net/node/view/37374
I have seen A. terminalis and A. declivis adults in this area. A. terminalis nymphs at this stage have banded antennae. Several images on BugGuide and other sites identify nymphs with red/orange antennae as A. femorata or A. declivis. Given that A. femorata does not seem to occur in the North Carolina Piedmont, I am concluding this is a nymph of A. declivis.
Also uploaded to:
bugguide.net/node/view/1857601

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Junho 28, 2020 10:54 AM EDT

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I found these beautiful eggs on arrow-wood (Viburnum rafinesquianum) in Durham, North Carolina (USA) on 28 June 2020. Looking at images on BugGuide, as well as photos and description in Eiseman and Charney (2010), these appear to be eggs of Acanthocephala. They are oblong, but somewhat three-sided, and have the perforation around one end characteristic of Coreidae. They are still present on the leaf as of 19 July 2020. I can see the embryos in most of them, but one seems to have an exit hole of a parasite. I hope to get images of the first instar larvae soon.
Leaf-footed Bug - Acanthocephala species (eggs, longest dimension ~2.5 mm)
bugguide.net/node/view/2718
Reference:
Charley Eiseman & Noah Charney. Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates. Stackpole Books, 2010, p. 52.
Edit-1. Added a photo of these exact same eggs taken on 19 July 2020, about 21 days after the original photos. The embryos are developing, and a couple of the eggs are broken open.

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Julho 16, 2020 08:00 AM EDT

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A couple of these beautiful flies were on display in fields near the Bynum Bridge (Chatham County, NC, USA) on the very muggy morning of 16 July 2020.
Yellowjacket Hover Fly (Virginia Flower Fly) - Milesia virginiensis (female, length ~ 20 mm)
bugguide.net/node/view/2837
Feeding on Common Mullein, Verbascum thapsus.
Dichoptic eyes indicate this is a female. Male has eyes that meet in the center (holoptic), at least partly, see:
https://bugguide.net/node/view/70352/

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Julho 7, 2020 02:12 AM EDT

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I spent one late evening at Roan Mountain State Park (Tennessee, USA) checking for insects at lighted structures.
Scorpionfly - Panorpa species (female)
bugguide.net/node/view/9217

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Julho 7, 2020 01:55 AM EDT

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I spent one late evening at Roan Mountain State Park (Tennessee, USA) checking for insects at lighted structures.
Eugonobapta nivosaria - Snowy Geometer
bugguide.net/node/view/11109
This was another new one for me. Its surface really is a blinding, reflective white. Rather hard to photograph because of the glare from the white scales.

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Julho 7, 2020 01:53 AM EDT

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I spent one late evening at Roan Mountain State Park (Tennessee, USA) checking for insects at lighted structures.
Euclea delphinii - Spiny Oak-Slug Moth (female, based on thread-like antennae--male has feathery antennae)
bugguide.net/node/view/424

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Julho 7, 2020 01:29 AM EDT

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I spent one late evening at Roan Mountain State Park (Tennessee, USA) checking for insects at lighted structures.
Inverted Y Slug Moth - Apoda y-inversum
bugguide.net/node/view/29615
A new one for me--very pretty pattern!

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Julho 7, 2020 01:50 AM EDT

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I spent one late evening at Roan Mountain State Park (Tennessee, USA) checking for insects at lighted structures.
Apatelodes torrefacta - Spotted Apatelodes
bugguide.net/node/view/4765
Always one of my favorites--I love their odd posture.

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Julho 10, 2020 10:19 AM EDT

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I had seen the burrows near adults the previous evening and presumed all the larvae had transformed already. However walking by the next morning I noted that three burrows were still occupied. One larva was cooperative and not too shy as I set up a camera over it. Getting light down into the burrow was a challenge--by experimenting, I finally got a decent flash fill.
Virginia Metallic Tiger Beetle - Tetracha virginica (larva, diameter of burrow ~7 mm)
bugguide.net/node/view/3024
Edit-1. One more photo of a member of the same group added here--it was taken two days later. I feel it is valid to just file it under the same observation--there are three or four burrows all together withing just a few cm of each other.
Edit-2. Added one photo of a tight grouping of four larvae from the same site. It includes the two larvae I have posted previously.
Edit-3 (29 July 2020). Added photos of a 3rd instar larva I was able to pull from its burrow alive. This is one of the ones I photographed in its burrow initially--they are pretty sedentary at that stage, I believe! Length of this larva was 28 mm, base of mandibles, to tip of abdomen. Quite the hefty critter!

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