Insects, Spiders and Other Creepy Crawlers

Primary Reference Resources:

"Audubon Field Guide to the Mid-Atlantic States" by Peter Alden and Brian Cassie

Dragon Flies


Male (blue) Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis): Predatory Dragonfly eating a recent victim. Photo by Ken Clark.


Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata): Female has a white spot on the wing. Photo by Ken Clark taken at the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area, Columbia, MD.


Dragon Hunter (Hagenius brevistylus): Preys on insects, even other dragonflies. Photo by Ken Clark taken at Savage Park, Middle Patuxent River, MD.


Widow Skimmer Dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa): Photographed by Ken Clark on The Billy Goat Trail Hike, Great Falls National Park, MD.


Powdered Dancer Damselfly (Argia moesta): Very common. Prefers moving streams. Can stay submereged for up to an hour while depositing eggs on submerged rocks and wood. Location: Long Pond Trail, GRAF, MD. Photo by Ken Clark.

Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros): 3.25 inches. Likes shady ponds and slow flowing streams. April to November. Eats large insects and other dragon flies. Photo by Anita Mueller.

Sawfly-type larva (Genus Hymenoptera, family possibly Cimbicid). Not really a Butterfly or moth. This is the larva of a Sawfly, Wasp or Wasp-like species. They feed mostly on leaves. Some are very similar. Photo by Andrew Foley.





Yellow and Black Garden Spider (Argiope aurntia): Gardens and meadows. Season: Summer/Fall. Location: Dolly Sods North. Photo by Eric Shereda.


Marbled Orb Weaver (Araneus marmoreus): Photo by Ken Clark taken at the Howard County Conservancy, Woodstock, MD.


Six Spotted Fishing Spider (Dolomedes triton): Yes, they catch and eat small fish. Photo by Ken Clark taken at Savage Park, Middle Patuxent River, MD.

Grayish-Brown Fishing Spider (Dolomedes tenebrosus) with egg sack. Capable of skating on the water surface or diving to capture its prey. Can stay submerged for 45 minutes. Photo by Ken Clark. Location: Gorman Area, Savage Park, MD.

Daddy Long Leg (Leiobunum sp.): Feeds on tiny spiders and insects. Their bite is fatal to these. Fortunately its mouth is to small to bite humans. Location: Great Falls NP, MD. Photo by Ken Clark.

Spider Wasp (family Pompilidae). Some species kill their prey (spiders) and drag them into their burrow to feed on them. Others merely sting the spider and deposit an egg on it.




Periodic Cicada (Magicicada septendecim): OK, OK! I know you're tired of them but this is the last one until 2021, I promise! Photo by Doug Trimble. Location: Everywhere!


Eastern Eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus ): Grows to 2 inches. Note the false eyes on its back. It and other species are called click beetles because of the sound they make when snapping there backs in an attempt to escape predators. Location: Piney Ridge Trail, SNP, VA. Photo by Ken Clark.


Locust Borer (Megacyllene robiniae): Literally capable of boring through the hard wood of a locust. The adult's color pattern provides excellent camoflauge in Golden Rod species. Location: Hidden Passage, MNF, WV.


Pleasing Fungus Beetle (Megalodacne heros): As the name applies, they live on fungi. This is a member of a large group colonizing Hemlock Varnish Shelf. Location: Pocosin Hollow Tr, SNP, VA.


Patent-leather Beetle (Odontotaenius disjunctus): Can grow up to 1.5 inches. Lives in and feeds upon decaying wood. Location: Tuscarora Tr, Massanutten MT, VA.

Thread-waisted Wasp (Family Sphecidae, sub-family sphecinae): Abdomen stalked. Lives in the ground. Photo by Ken Clark. Location: Potapsco Valley SP, MD.

Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus): One of the largest terrestrial true bugs in North America, growing up to 1.5 inches. They feed on soft bodied insects usually considered pests such as Japanese beetles and caterpillars. Photo by Dimitri Tundra.


More Insects


Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis): Herringbone pattern on hind legs. Found in grassy areas and crops. Location: DSN, MNF, WV. Photo by Patrick Roberts.


Six Spotted Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata): Very attractive as beetles go. Eats spiders and insects. Will bite humans. Location: DSN, MNF, WV. Photo by Patrick Roberts.

Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid (Scudderia furcata) - Found in meadows, marshes and woods. Usually nocturnal. Location: Tuscarora Tr/Cowans Gap SP, PA.

Northern Walking Stick (Diapheromera femorata) - Nocturnal. Eats leaves and plant juices. Location: Tuscarora Tr/Cowans Gap SP, PA.

Nymph of Harlequin Stink Bug (Murgantia histrionica?): The Harlequin Bug can destroy an entire cabbage crop if not controlled. This specimen was found on the Maryland AT. Photo by Saki.






Halictid Bee (Family Halictidae): Metallic green. A sweat bee, Location: Butterfly Alley, Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship.Halictid Bee (Family Halictidae): Metallic green. A sweat bee, Location: Butterfly Alley, Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship.

Intermediate nymph of Small Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus kalmii) graing on a milkweed seed pod.


More Insects

Robber Fly (Family Asilidae): Eats other flies. Photo by Ken Clark. Location: Potapsco Valley SP, MD.

Assassin Bug: One of over 3000 species. Assassin bugs have a powerful, curved rostrum, or beak, that they use to pierce and suck out the tissues of their prey. Location: Middle Patuxent Environmental Area. Photo by Ken Clark. 

American Bumble Bee (Bombus pennsylvanicus): Queen overwinters and nests underground. Stings but is not aggressive.

Oil Beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus): A Blister Beetle. So named because "they release oily droplets of hemolymph from their joints when disturbed; this contains cantharidin, a poisonous chemical causing blistering of the skin and painful swelling. Members of this genus are typically flightless, without functional wings, and shortened elytra." (Wikipedia). Location: Canaan Mt, MNF, WV. Photo by Roger Eastman.



A millipede in the Genus Polydesmida, specifically a Red-sided Flat Millipede, Sigmoria aberrans (AKA Almond Millipide because of the odor it emits when it feels threatened.) I've seen it twice in the same Forest (Green Ridge State Forest, MD), both times near water.


Flatback Millepede (Oxidus gracilis) exploring some Red Raspberry Slime Mold (actually a coral mushroom): Other unidentifiable round millipedes are with them. This is the most common flat (VS round) millipede in North America. Photo by Ken Clark. 


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