Hi, Patty. I believe this is an eye-spotted lady beetle due to the white/yellow halos surrounding the black spots. As far as I can tell they are a native species of North America and prefer to live in coniferous forests where they feed on aphids.
Question: I was just backpacking in the Sierras and there were beavers in the streams and alpine lakes we hiked past. The lakes and flat spots were often 1-3 miles apart. How do beavers expand their territory? Do offspring walk overland to a new, suitable spot? I know they don’t like to be out of [...]
Eli, Thank you for submitting a question! That moth you found in your lawn is a cecropia moth. It is the largest moth in North America and they actually do not eat. It's only purpose is to mate and it only lives for a few weeks.
Thank you for sending the video along with your question. We posted it on our facebook page as it was too cool not to share! Those little cuties are aquatic macroinvertebrates (water insects) and are called caddisfly larvae. These larvae are pretty impressive because they build protective cases around their bodies with sticks, plants, or [...]
It's interesting that you noticed three or four rusty blackbirds in Marcellus. They are a declining species, and biologists are trying to sort out the reasons for that. The most common issues are habitat loss (they breed in boreal wetlands in far northern Canada), and their winter habitats in the US are being lost to [...]
You said you found a trillium at the Skaneateles Conservation Area that you had never seen before. Thank you for sending the picture along with your question, it really helps! When leaves on a plant start to turn this yellowish color, it is called chlorosis. Chlorosis means that there isn't enough chlorophyll in the leaves, [...]
Wow! What a beautiful photo of a Eastern red-backed salamander! Excellent question, too. No, these salamanders actually do not have lungs. Weird right?? Since they don't have lungs they need to live in damp or moist habitats in order to breathe through their skin, which is why they are so often found on nice cozy [...]
Will the large patch of ostrich ferns that used to be on the Griffith Trail before the beavers and the flood come back? – A Hiker, Baltimore Woods
This hiker noticed the tall stiff brown things with seed-like structures that are left standing when the green part of ferns die and wondered if those were a good sign that the ferns would be back. Our Camp Director Tom Meier says: Ostrich ferns are surprisingly hardy plants that spread underground through their rhizomes. Like [...]
Was the pioneer cabin built on site or was it brought from somewhere else? – A Hiker, Baltimore Woods
The log cabin was built on site in the late 1970s as part of Baltimore Woods's original designation as a Historic Land Use Center. It was designed to be a demonstration of three different cabin construction techniques and was built by hand by volunteers. The roof shingles were replaced in the late 1990s, and volunteers [...]
Learning to identify different egg masses in vernal pools is a great way of knowing which species are breeding there. Our top three vernal pool amphibians in Central New York are wood frogs, yellow-spotted salamanders, and Jefferson's salamanders. Other species might use them, too, if it is a pool that doesn't dry up completely. These [...]