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We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at ...

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at ...

June 12, 2021

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! The following post was originally published on July 1, 2020. In my opinion, the orchard spider (Leucauge venusta) is one of the most beautiful spiders in Virginia. I realize that many people would scoff at the idea of a beautiful spider, but just look at that abdomen! Doesn't it make you want to go out and buy a bag of jellybeans? OK, I'll stop. These striking spiders are members of the long-jawed orb weaver family (Tetragnathidae), and they can be found throughout much of the east coast and extend into the central US. If you feel like you've never seen one before, chances are that you simply overlooked it; ...


It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

June 11, 2021

It's time for the Friday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! It took me a while, but I finally managed to track down everyone's favorite moth: Actias luna, the Luna moth! While Virginia has a number of large, charismatic moths, the Luna moth seems to be the winner of most moth popularity contests. These large moths (they can have a wingspan of 4.5 to 7 inches!) are found in or near deciduous hardwood forests and are native to eastern North America. In the northern part of their range, they have one brood per year between May and July; in the more southern part of their range, they have up to three broods per year and can be found from March through September. Luna moth caterpillars ...


Cheetahs and jaguars in Virginia?

Cheetahs and jaguars in Virginia?

June 11, 2021

Cheetahs and jaguars in Virginia? Many years ago, such animals did roam the land we now call Virginia! In this episode of "Museum Minute", VMNH Education Manager Christy Deatherage is in the museum's "Wild About Cats" special exhibit gallery to highlight some of the big cats that lived in what we now call Virginia during the Pleistocene epoch, which ended nearly 11,700 years ago! ABOUT MUSEUM MINUTE The Virginia Museum of Natural History has a spectacular assortment of displays within its exhibit galleries! Some displays are unforgettable, while others don't always get the attention they deserve. Through the original series "Museum Minute", museum educators highlight various displays throughout the exhibit galleries, while ...


It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & ...

June 10, 2021

It's time for the Thursday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! Green-thumbed readers out there might have an instant flash of recognition when they see this photo. At first glance, this insect looks virtually identical to the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), one of the most destructive and prolific pests of potato crops across the country. However, this is NOT a Colorado potato beetle; it's actually the false potato beetle (Leptinotarsa juncta)! The easiest way to tell the difference is that the false potato beetle has a faint orange stripe on either side of its elytra (the hard shell that covers the flight wings). The Colorado potato beetle does not have this ...


It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

June 9, 2021

It's time for today's edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust! This is the fifteen spotted lady beetle (Anatis labiculata), and it's one of my favorite critters I've found since I started doing these daily nature posts more than a year ago! If you'll indulge me in a brief story, I'll explain why. Back when I was a little kid, lady beetles were my entry point into entomology. I think that's true for a lot of young folks. Lady beetles are cute; they're often brightly colored, so they're easy to spot; they're completely harmless; and they're also voracious predators of aphids, the ultimate garden pest. It's hard not to like lady beetles (with the exception of the invasive multicolored Asian ...


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