Currently viewing the tag: "WTB? Mt. Washington"
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Subject: Huge Moth
Location: Glassel Park/Mt Washington, Los Angeles 90065
April 21, 2015 6:41 pm
Hi bugman
I live in Glassell Park (90065) and I have been finding all kinds of creatures here. Last summer two of these (moths?) were in the garden, I havent spotted another one until today. I took a picture. It was about 2-2.5 inches long. See attached. Maybe this isnt very rare? It is to me though.
Im pretty used to the Preying Mantisses, Potato Bugs/Jerusalem Crickets and Scarabs/June Bugs when I lived 2 blocks away. Recently I found 2 legless lizards. But yesterday I saw something that Ive never seen before. It looked quite a lot like a beetle and had an all black body, but these very red wings and it flew. It was on Future Street between Isabel and Cypress. Unfortunately I didnt have a camera with me. It was pretty big and somewhat scary but incredibly beautiful. Any idea what it could be?
Thanks!
Signature: Ragga

Gray Bird Grasshopper

Gray Bird Grasshopper

Dear Ragga,
We will clarify the confusing geography in your email after we respond to your inquiries.  The insect in your attached image is not a moth, but rather a Gray Bird Grasshopper,
Schistocerca nitens, which according to BugGuide is:  “most often found among rank tall herbage, trees, or shrubbery. Not as tied to damp environments as some related species.”  BugGuide goes on to state:  “Some adults mature in late spring, many in summer and fall. Often adults are very common in late summer and well into autumn. Some adults will survive through winter into the following spring, at which time they still seem healthy and able to reproduce. So, it is possible to see adults of this species at any time of year.”

The large flying beetle-like creature you observed on Future Street might be a Tarantula Hawk, a large wasp with a lumbering flight that is reported to have a very painful sting.  Female Tarantula Hawks prey upon Tarantulas and Trapdoor Spiders, not to eat, but to feed their young, helpless larvae.  We have observed Tarantula Hawks in the nearby Los Angeles River and in Barnsdell Park, and they have been reported on the Corralitas Red Car Property above Riverside Drive.

Now to the confusing geography.  Unless the possible Tarantula Hawk sighting was not at your home, the location you provided of “Future Street between Isabel and Cypress” is not in Glassell Park which is North of Division Street.  Future Street is a small and confusing street that begins on Division as a one-way street that looks like an alley.  It then crosses Isabel Street, enters Mount Washington, curves up and around and down, crossing Isabel Street a second time before entering Cypress Park, and finally ending at San Fernando Road at an entrance to the Rio de Los Angeles State Park along the Los Angeles River.  Can you please clarify if the sighting of the Gray Bird Grasshopper was Glassell Park, Cypress Park or Mount Washington?

Hi
Thanks for your fast response! I feel quite silly about that grasshopper, I realized after I sent it that of course it wasnt a moth. I was overly excited to try to solve the mystery of two very large moths in my backyard last year (when they flew they reminded me of bats). Thats obviously a grasshopper but I would not have known which kind. Im not really a bug person.
Yes the bug I saw on Future Street looked like that Tarantula Hawk. Beautiful but scary. Does this mean we have Tarantulas?
And yes you are also right, I live in Cypress Park. Many people find the boundaries of the neighborhoods here confusing or theyve heard of Glassell but not Cypress, so Im used to telling them Im in Glassell Park to make things easier. I guess its become a habit. The location I gave you: Future Street between Isabel and Cypress in 90065 is completely correct and shouldnt be confusing..? I was walking down the block and so I dont have an exact house number for you but I pulled up a map of it for you: https://goo.gl/maps/yLVCf
And here’s the exact location of where the photo of the grasshopper was taken: https://goo.gl/maps/502c0
Again thank you for your help!
Ragga

Hi Ragga,
The reason we knew so much about the neighborhood is that our offices are in Mount Washington, right by Elyria Canyon Park.  Was the Tarantula Hawk in the same location?  We have not heard any reports of Tarantulas in the neighborhood for some time, but California Trapdoor Spiders, which are also preyed upon by Tarantula Hawks, are relatively common.
  We are also quite curious where you found the Legless Lizards.

The first google map link I sent was the location of the Tarantula Hawk, the second google map link was the location of the grasshopper and the legless lizards. I didnt have my camera close by at the time but I got a pretty good look at them. I will send you photos if I come across them again or something else noteworthy.
Thanks!

 

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Mourning Cloak, Harbinger of Spring
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
March 29, 2015 8:50 AM
For the past few sunny days, we have observed Mourning Cloaks flying in the yard.  Just yesterday we watched two battling for territory.  This morning we were lucky to have a camera handy while walking into Elyria Canyon Park in Mount Washington.  We watched this freshly eclosed beauty soaking in the sun, but it flew as we approached.  We only got so close as it perched on the Wild Cucumber climbing a fence, but it soon alighted again on a nearby endangered California Black Walnut.  We knew this individual was probably a young specimen because those that hibernate through the winter often have tattered wings.

Mourning Cloak with Wild Cucumber

Mourning Cloak with Wild Cucumber

Mourning Cloak on California Black Walnut

Mourning Cloak on California Black Walnut

Erica Russo, Robin Powell, Andrea Leonard Drummond, Alfonso Moreno, Timothy Steele, Christy Harris, Carol Love, Sue Dougherty, Amy Gosch, Alisha Bragg, Kathy Haines liked this post
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Roadkill:  Gopher Snake

Roadkill: Gopher Snake

Subject:  Gopher Snake found unresponsive in street
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, March 21, 2015 11AM
Late Saturday morning, Bettie called to say hikers were poking  a snake with a stick in the street.  We immediately picked up the unresponsive snake which “yawned” and then started to quiver over parts of its body.  It hasn’t moved in two days but we thought it might be coming out of hibernation.  This poor lethargic Gopher Snake, probably a female, and fully four feet long, has been kept in a cabbage crock by our editorial staff until this evening.  Greg Pauly from the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, who we spoke with at length this evening, asked us to put it in the freezer to preserve it for the museum because based on our description, Greg determined it was dead.

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Subject:  Crane Fly
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Ides of March:  March 15, 2015
We just wrote back to Dr. Chen Young who identified a wingless Crane Fly for us, and we saw a Crane Fly on the window.  Sadly, the dorsal view is out of focus.

Crane Fly (ventral view)

Crane Fly (ventral view)

Hi Daniel,
The images are sort of out of focus and it kept me from making any further identification beyond the genus Tipula.
Thanks,
Chen

Crane Fly (dorsal view)

Crane Fly (dorsal view)

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Subject: Migrating Painted Ladies
Location: Elyria Canyon Park, Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
February 14, 2015 10:00 AM
Though we have received many images recently from our readers, we made a decision to select our Bug of the Month for March 2015 from our own images because of the significant seasonal migration of Painted Ladies this year.  According to Julian Donahue, the Painted Ladies are: “particularly active on the wing now, and most appear to be migrating, pausing to nectar on their way farther north.” The Painted Lady,
Vanessa cardui, is a medium sized orange butterfly with a mottled wing pattern and distinctive “eye spots” on the underwings. Painted Ladies were seen taking nectar from the pictured Mule Fat or Baccharis salicifolia, Coastal Bush Sunflower and Manroot. Caterpillars feed on both native and non-native leaves, and the Arroyo Lupine, that is currently blooming, is one native host plant.

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

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Egg Sacs of a Bolas Spider

Egg Sacs of a Bolas Spider

Subject:  Egg Sacs of a Bolas Spider
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
November 18, 2014
This weekend while working in the garden, I finally decided to pull out the camera and shoot the Egg Sacs of the Bolas Spider that lived on the pole in the garden all summer.

Egg Sacs of a Bolas Spider

Egg Sacs of a Bolas Spider

 

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