Gavin’s Pond   Leave a comment

Nymph, tough to ID, Myridae?


Ectobius pallidus, ‘based on the dark dots on thorax and lack of “helmet” shape on pronotum.’

Weevils, man. Weevils. So tough to ID. Anthribus nebulosus was suggested and looks very correct.

Sawflies? Pergidae –> Acordulecera was suggested.


Posted 2023-05-22 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Massapoag Trail   Leave a comment

Braconidae? Don’t know how to distinguish from Ichneumonidae from this photo, given lack of wing venation.

My best guess for this one is family Ichneumonidae, perhaps Cryptinae. Will need to look further to see it I can find a fit. Note the large ovipositor as a clue.

Lycosidae (wolf spiders) –> maybe Schizocosa sp.?

Looks like a hammerjawed jumping spiders, Salticidae –> Zygoballus cf. rufipes. Genus looks solid, but being confident of species level identification may be tricky.

a blurry view, but you can see the eponymous jaws:

This is probably a Melandrya cf striata, in Melandryidae (false darkling beetles). Not too many instances of them in the US, so something of a nice sighting!

Lovely mayfly, and for once, it’s actually May!

Maybe Xylophagidae? If this turns out to be Rachicerus genus, it would be a state first for Massachusetts.

Some sort of Trichoptera (caddisfly). Best guess, something like Chimarra? There aren’t that many reports of adult Chimarra in Massachusetts.

Posted 2023-05-07 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Borderland State Park   Leave a comment

Northwest Trail

Perhaps the latest start to the bugwatching season I’ve had for a long time! The weather was cold-ish (14 C/57 F approximately) so not a lot of insects, but the ones I could see were fairly low-energy, allowing me to take some very close up photos.

For some reason, there were dozens of march flies (Bibionidae). I’ve never seen that many in one walk.


As promised, tons of Bibionids. The large eyes belong to the males. But which ones? says:

Genera can be distinguished by wing veins:

Rs forked, R2+3 at sharp angle, R4+5 nearly straight (Southeast): Plecia

Rs forked, R2+3 at sharp angle, R4+5 distinctly curved (North): Hesperinus brevifrons

Rs forked, R2+3 parallel to wing: Penthetria heteroptera

Rs unforked, partially merged with M: Bibioides

Rs unforked, basal section of Rs much shorter than R-M crossvein: Dilophus

Rs unforked, R-M crossvein shorter than or similar in length to basal section of Rs: Bibio

The last two also have strong protibial spurs.

Key to CA spp. (adults) in(4)

This photo of the veins of Bibio is from the link, apparently in public domain:

Also, this link has wing venation for Penthetria:

And honestly, I don’t know which one is a good fit with the images below. My best guess is Bibio ‘Boston’ species, nr. lanigerus, compare with

First, here are some views with the wing patterns.

This one is a female.

Tachinidae, I think. I believe that’s the diagnostic large post-scutellum at the end of the thorax.


Leafhopper, I think Erythridula. Tom Murray in Insects of New England calls this Arboridia plena, but I think that’s a deprecated name.


I think this is Pedilus lugubris, in Pyrochroidae (“Fire-colored beetles”). EDIT: Actually, I guess Silis in sub-family Silinae, family Cantharidae is just as likely.


Ichneumonidae –> Ophioninae –> Ophion sp. perhaps

I’ve seen this before, and I don’t have an explanation: the head of an ant, partially buried in the soil. Caused by some sort of parasite?


As always, Leucauge venusta all over the place. They’re the first spiders I see in spring (along with Cyclosa conica) and the last ones I see in fall.


Posted 2023-04-30 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Moose Hill Mass Audubon, vernal pools and boardwalk   Leave a comment

First set of photos at the vernal pool; then photos from the boardwalk.

Very happy with the fairy shrimp photos from the vernal pool, those creatures are so picturesque!

As an introduction for anyone encountering them for the first time: fairy shrimp are freshwater crustaceans. They are obligate dwellers of vernal pools — they are found nowhere else. They tend to swim upside down, and they have some very nice wavy appendages that are used for swimming and for wafting food to their mouthparts. I have photos of the mouthparts, which is something I haven’t done before, and also some extremely shaky video.

I believe these are fatty globules rather than eggs, but am not sure.

I’m sharing multiple edits of this photo, as it was a challenge. It’s a tough photo to process, getting the globules to look good while at the same time bringing out detail in the rest of the shrimp wasn’t easy. In addition, there’s plenty of noise and at the same time lots of subtle detail, so tough to balance those two issues. What do you think?

The first two were processed in GIMP using the curves feature.

Adding a couple of my RawTherapee edits of the same photo so I can stare at them and compare.

A view down the feeding maw:

Sorry this is so shaky. It’s not easy, you know!

Collembola on the surface:

And another:


And another. You can see why they are known as “cyclops”, they look like they have one eye.

Chironomid midge larva writhing around:

I was recording a midge to show its writhing behavior, when a fairy shrimp photobombed. It was that kind of day.

Ostracods, so many of them:

I don’t know what this is. EDIT: perhaps Psychodidae larvae (“drain fly”)

And I have no idea what I’m looking at here. EDIT: probably Atherix, which would make it the first sighting in Massachusetts for the genus (as always, I actually mean the first record in BugGuide and iNaturalist). These are gill-like terminal appendages. I saw the rest of the creature, and it does look like Atherix larvae, but couldn’t get a photo.

Some photos without exoskeletons now.

What a cluster of bubbles looks like under the lights of the lens:

Posted 2023-03-11 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Borderland State Park   Leave a comment

Snowy and frigid (about -10 degrees C). A pancake of clouds, so the skies were featureless, and no nice sparkly sunshine to play with the ice. Had to work with that.

Posted 2023-02-26 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Devil’s Rock snowfall   Leave a comment

Posted 2023-02-23 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Thane Flamingo Reserve, Bombay   2 comments

Black headed ibises:

Common sandpipers:

Godwit, plus an eastern redshank

Tons of flamingos!

Black-winged stilt in flight

A running takeoff!

Painted stork flyby

Hover fly:

Then we went to the Bhandup (mainland) side, and took a boat ride

Perhaps immature brahminy kites? Pariah kites? Suggestions welcome:

Two types of flamingos: the lesser flamingos have been here longer, and are pinker, because they’ve been having algae in their diet here that create the caratonids. The greater flamingos are larger, arrived more recently, and are therefore still black/white/gray (but not for long).

Flamingos and the city

They look so awkward!

Pariah kite

Northern shoveller

Posted 2023-02-03 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Manns Pond, Sharon   Leave a comment

A clear evening.

Posted 2023-01-08 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Devil’s Brook Christmas   Leave a comment

It has been very cold recently (about -12 degrees C, 9 degrees F). So lots of ice to play with. Trying to find new ways of looking at them!

At the end, a video, which is pretty rare for me 🙂

Posted 2022-12-25 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Lunar Eclipse   2 comments

Lunar Eclipse. Totality started just before sunrise. Photos over Lake Massapoag.

The eclipsed moon and Pleiades.

With time, totality became more pronounced (less refraction through earth’s atmosphere), and background light increased, so the moon became less visible. You can barely see it between the birds here. Uusually, a full moon would be much more distinct.

Posted 2022-11-08 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized